Oh, Leave the Android Alone

I saw Prometheus last night, the new Alien prequel.  My review of the film is over at Skiffy.ca, along with my sort-of obituary of Ray Bradbury.

I won’t say more about it here, except to add that I should have known something was foul when I read an interview with the actor Logan Marshall-Green, the poorly cast archaeologist in the film.  In Prometheus, Marshall-Green’s character is a real dick to David, the fascinating android played by Michael Fassbender.  Marshall-Green had apparently lobbied for inclusion of that aspect of his character, arguing thusly:


” It’s something I haven’t seen in science fiction, which is a sense of racism or bigotry towards androids and synthetic life. “


Whaaaaa?  In science-fiction, bigotry toward synthetic life is a tired, cliched trope.  You don’t need to look any further than a certain film made my the very same director helming the movie Marshall-Logan is presently acting in:  Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner, which is all about society’s marginalization of its synthetic human slave class.  Or how about an earlier entry in the franchise of the very movie he’s acting in, Aliens, in which the synthetic man is verbally abused by several real humans.  Or how about a score of episodes of Star Trek: TNG, in which the android Data must constantly advocate for his civil rights against a society that refuses to see him as a person?  Or how about pretty much any Isaac Asimov book?  The Caves of Steel is ripe with active human bigotry against robots.

Jeebus.  With such ignorance of the state of science fiction, I should not have been surprised that Prometheus offered up a house of cliches with nothing new or interesting to offer.




  • Raggedy Android

    I was baffled by the same statement and expressed such in a FB post. I, of course, had Bladerunner and Alien in mind, but a friend’s comment reminded me that this trope is found in the least obscure sci fi franchises:

    “We don’t serve their kind here… Your droids, they’ll have to wait outside!”

    • deonandan

      Good example!

  • amphibious

    Such ignorance of the genre suggests nil interest in the subject so why was the actor selected? Surely the point of Asimov’s Rules was that robots can’t be trusted with free will and are “not quite naice”.

  • Stuart

    Actors, as the more intelligent ones often note themselves, don’t necessarily understand much about the scripts they’re speaking–let alone about all the references. I could recount a story about my Repo Man-obsessed college roommate’s conversation with Harry Dean Stanton to indicate how removed their two views of the same filmic moment were.

  • amphibious

    Perhaps if less weight were given to the opinions of actors – on ANYTHING – it wouldn’t matter.
    I forget who ) said “we actors are the opposite of real people”. Probably paraphrasing the Sainted OscarW who wrote that “fiction is so much more real than life”.