thespike at satx.rr.com
Thu Apr 16 23:57:39 UTC 2009
I just noticed the existence of this absurd book
(an evaluation I make only on the basis of reviews):
TECHNOPHOBIA!: Science Fiction Visions of
Posthuman Technologies, by Daniel Dinello - University of Texas Press (2005).
Here's a review:
Fear of the Future
By Cheryl Morgan
There are basically two ways to approach an
academic study: one is to look at the material
and come to conclusions based on what you find;
the other is to start out with a theory and look
for material that confirms it. Technophobia! by
Daniel Dinello is a classic example of the
latter. The thesis of the book is very simple.
Dinello believes that science fiction is
inherently technophobic, and that its purpose is
to warn us about the evils of science and technology.
OK folks, jaws up off the floor please. Im being
serious here. That is what the book is about. The
story goes a little like this. Dinello opens up
by stating his opposition to George W. Bush and
the military-industrial complex, not to mention
everything DARPA. He then goes on to talk about
technoevangelists such as Ray Kurzweil. Unlike
Joel Garreau in
Evolution, he appears to regard them as dangerous
lunatics who Must Be Stopped. The rest of the
book is devoted to finding examples from science
fiction of just how awful the future will be if
Kurzweil and his crazy friends are allowed to have their way.
If this sounds a little froth at the mouth, I
should point out that Dinello defines his title is a fairly restrained way:
The books title, Technophobia, is meant to
suggest an aversion to, dislike of, or suspicion
of technology rather than an irrational, illogical or neurotic fear.
He also admits:
Of course, not all science fiction is
technophobic, and not all scientists serve
military-industrial interests just most.
On the whole book is clearly and cogently argued.
A solid case is made. But that doesnt stop Dinello from concluding:
In its devotion to technophobia, science fiction
paints a repulsive picture of a future world
where technology runs out of control and
dominates all aspects of human behavior.
Technologys inherent structure requires
suppression of human spontaneity and obedience to
its requirements of order and efficiency. This
extends the social controls initiated by the
cybernetic ideological system. Asimovs laws of
robotic obedience have been reversed into
technologys laws for human submission.
How, one might ask, can anyone come to such a
bizarre conclusion? I know an awful lot of
science fiction authors, and most of them are
technophiles of one shade or another. Most fans I
have talked to about Dinellos ideas have reacted
with astonishment and/or laughter. How can
Dinello have misunderstood SF so badly? I read the whole book just to find out.
One of ways in which you can come to this
conclusion is, of course, to concentrate mainly
on movies. The majority of the material in
Dinellos book is based on media SF rather than
on the written word. For example, he very much
approves of Michael Crichton (even though
Crichton is a big favorite at the White House
because of his support for the denial of global warming).
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