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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default The Borg, cyber collectivism and singularity?

    When I was a kid I had a terror of what I refered to as "humanoids", in my mind these were the futuristic or sci fi version of what vampires were a historical example of, that someone could be changed in an unnatural way into an unnatural thing, from what they were, to something evil, their nature changed but at once also become powerful and threatening towards me because I could be subject to exactly the same process.

    On the surface of things there were certain appearence or surface change factors which terrified me about this prospect, the idea of circuitry beneath or on the surface of the skin terrified me, although more in a Dreddy from the Iron Maiden artwork or the "humanoid" created by the super computer in Superman Three (I know, its meant to be the most comic of the classic superman movies!) rather than the Terminator. I had some terrible nightmares in which I met people I knew and they had electronic eyes or some sort of implant, Borg style.

    There was also the loss of free will factor in all this too, another bizarre hook for this is TV/daytime feature called "The Satellite Kid" or sequel to it, in which a "signal" was sent from a computer to control "humanoids" who were basically once autonomous human beings who'd been put inside a kind of body shaped cabinet for "conversion" (this was something which the most recent Dr Who writers introduced in a Cyberman story which was one of the few decent plot lines they actually managed to create). I had a terrible fear of some how "looking out" from behind a "hijacked" body while I was compelled to do evil things by an external or controlling influence.

    Now I think that these fears were incorporated in the original Borg idea, in which collectivism and technology were meant to be the fears tapped into, although as the Borg "evolved", pretty damn rapidly if you aske me in a just a few strings of episodes in Next Generation, from leaderless collective to monarchical structure and then into some sort of cyber-fascists following contact with the evil twin of Data I think they lost their edge altogether, by the point they featured in Voyager with seventh of nine they were pretty much just the latest version of the "character who is learning to be more human", like Spock, Quark, Neilus, the holo Doc etc.

    Does anyone else think this was the case too? Why do you think that the writers too the direction that they did? Is it just impossible to write a collective enemy which doesnt have a leader?

    Secondly, does the cybernetic/technology/unnatural fear resonate with anyone else? It featured in the rewrite of the cybermen origin tale "Genesis of the Cybermen" in which a society with constant "upgrades" of a cybernetic nature moves from a sort of mind/brain blue tooth interface into total cybernetic existence as a horrible prospect too but I've read lots of fiction in which this kind of cybernetic future, granted with more voluntarism involved, is considerd positively. I've spoke to people who believe this is what the "singularity" idea is all about. What do you think?

  2. #2
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    Yes, I think you can create a collective enemy which doesn't have a leader and it can work. I cannot say why the "Borg Queen" was devised but I would assume that TPTB needed a tangible embodiment of the antagonist for the audience to identify with; they needed something concrete to help flesh out the enemy but also an embodiment of conflict resolution. The death of the Borg Queen for instance (in First Contact and later in Voyager) served to indicate a tangible blow to the enemy, the audience can realise that a major victory has been won for the protagonists. Had a leaderless enemy been sustained then the audience would have no idea whether a conflict resolution of any kind could ever be reached (would they need to occupy and search the whole Delta Quadrant for instance?) This would by my projections cause them to eventually lose interest in the plot (causing the TPTB to possibly utilise a deus ex machina.)

    As for the second one, I have the same "fear" and see it as irrational. In reality I have encountered people with metal components inside previously broken bones and prosthetic limbs. I do not consider them "more human" or "less human" as I do not think either are defined. I do not fear them yet partially fear the idea of a hybrid (one with a cybernetic mind but with a collection of biological and mechanical body parts) perhaps as an entity which has lost "humanity" (whatever that is.) Perhaps it's more to do with a fear of the unknown?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standuble View Post
    Yes, I think you can create a collective enemy which doesn't have a leader and it can work. I cannot say why the "Borg Queen" was devised but I would assume that TPTB needed a tangible embodiment of the antagonist for the audience to identify with; they needed something concrete to help flesh out the enemy but also an embodiment of conflict resolution. The death of the Borg Queen for instance (in First Contact and later in Voyager) served to indicate a tangible blow to the enemy, the audience can realise that a major victory has been won for the protagonists. Had a leaderless enemy been sustained then the audience would have no idea whether a conflict resolution of any kind could ever be reached (would they need to occupy and search the whole Delta Quadrant for instance?) This would by my projections cause them to eventually lose interest in the plot (causing the TPTB to possibly utilise a deus ex machina.)

    As for the second one, I have the same "fear" and see it as irrational. In reality I have encountered people with metal components inside previously broken bones and prosthetic limbs. I do not consider them "more human" or "less human" as I do not think either are defined. I do not fear them yet partially fear the idea of a hybrid (one with a cybernetic mind but with a collection of biological and mechanical body parts) perhaps as an entity which has lost "humanity" (whatever that is.) Perhaps it's more to do with a fear of the unknown?
    I think the best embodiment of the "humanoid/cybernetic" monster is the one in Virus: It Is Aware, which is one of those movies which succeeded in being rubbish despite a good enough premise and some good cast, the monster in it was a good cybernetic horror too.

    There was another movie which sort of typified the same thing too called Moon Trap, which is more obscure I guess, it had machine aliens in it which used human beings as spare parts.

    In some ways I think the cybernetic fear thing is the same as the fear of revenants and zombis in that its:-
    (1) mindless
    (2) possesses no sense or memory of self
    (3) is unnatural and does not follow natural laws or expectations

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