I’m a member of the site Figment.com. I need to be more active in reviewing other work so I can get my own reviewed. But this post isn’t about my passivity on the site. I get periodic emails from the site about various things and the last one I got had an interesting survey at the bottom to vote on the robot in fiction that scares you the most. It will be interesting to see what the end results of the vote will be. But the idea kept coursing through my mind so I decided it would make a great blog post.
The question and options are as follows:
Defend your horror! Which robot is the scariest?
Doctor Who’s Cybermen
2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL
I, Robot’s VIKI
Battlestar Galactica’s Cylons
Everything in The Matrix
I’ll go from least “scary” in my opinion to most.
Last Place – Cylons.
I’m not a Battlestar fan. I haven’t even watched a full episode. So yes, that sways a lot of my opinion. But in looking it up, I found that even with their differences in the two continuities of Battlestar, there were two similarities that I feel have been done to death. In both continuities of Battlestar, the Cylons were created by another intelligent species to be their workers and soldiers. They get to powerful. Whatever. Doesn’t do it for me. No different than any other enemy force.
Tied for Fourth – VIKI and HAL
Both are very similar in my opinion. Both are just computer systems that got too much control. Like many stories and movies of their kind, just pull the dang plug.
2nd – Everything from the Matrix.
Now I would actually limit this to the machines instead of the programs. Because the programs don’t scare me much. If I’m in the matrix and not someone who is out of the system then I’d have no idea the programs exist and I would never remember if they ever used me to go after Neo or others. So no threat there. But the machines, while a threat, are also not entirely the most scariest because they are after complete annihilation of Zion and the people. So you either kill them or they kill you. If you’re dead. They’re no longer scary.
First place – Doctor Who’s Cybermen
This is what scares me the most. They don’t kill you. They chop you up and put you into the cybermen shell. You still exist in a stunted form. You can say that VIKI was enforcing a police state and therefore a form of a stunted existence but you can still fight back. Once you’ve been “upgraded” to a Cyberman you can’t go back and you’re basically stuck unless you’re destroyed. You have to live the rest of your life as one of them. If the Borg had been listed as an option I would still have listed Cybermen above Borg because in most cases, you have no memory of who you were before the Borg assimilated you. But we’ve seen episodes where people still remember parts of their past after becoming a Cyberman. That is creepy. As a writer and a person I find the continual psychological torment far more scary than a computer system that takes over the government or machines that just want to kill me.