Mad Science

Poster - Metropolis_10

        The figure of the “mad scientist” is one familiar to most of Western society. Both scientific creations and the scientist himself often come to be seen as “monstrous,” revealing an underlying set of themes relating to teratology and the roots of the concept of “monstrosity.” This “mad science” brings into question the manipulation of nature and reach of science, defiance of traditional boundaries, and idea of “pollution.”
        Science itself is of course at the center of this exploration of monstrosity. Monsters such as the Warlock, Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, and Lestat the vampire draw close comparisons to magic, bringing to mind Clarke’s third law:[1] “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” With several other scientists attempting to manipulate nature or “play God” to create perfection (often with disastrous results), this question of the true relations between nature and science is a prominent one. 
        The theme of boundaries is also notable in the shared characteristic of these monsters to defy traditional order or systems. Following Cohen’s third thesis[2] of monster as “Harbinger of Category Crisis,” these beings violate conventional categories of life and society: man vs. beast (Lota), man vs. machine (Rotwang, Terminator, Maria), life vs. death (Dr. Freudstein, Lestat), etc. In this, many constitute a form of pollution or “matter out of place.” For example, the Terminator, sent fifty years into the past, is out of his temporal place, as is the prehistoric Godzilla awakened in modern Tokyo. The Replicants of Blade Runner are invaders from another planet, and Dr. Freudstein, a living corpse, belongs in the grave. Both Maria, a woman/robot, and Lota, a woman/beast, breach conventional society.
        In the end, with all of these scientific “monsters,” we are left questioning not only science and nature but also the true meaning of humanity itself.
 
Notes:
1. Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. “Monster Culture (Seven Theses).” Monster Theory. Ed. Jeffrey Jerome          Cohen. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. 3-25. Print. 
2. Clarke, Arthur C. “Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination.” Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible. 1958. New York: Harper & Row, 1973. Print.
***
***
All of our group posts can be found under the tag “Mad Science.” Here is a clickable list of our monsters:

Group Works Cited

Adam, Michel. “Nouvelle considérations dubitatives sue la théorie de la magie et de la sorcellerie en Afrique noire.” L’Homme 177/178 (2000): 279-302. Web.

Anders. “’More Human than Human’: Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.” Three Brothers Film. WordPress, 8 June 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

Berger, Albert I. “The Triumph of Prophecy: Science Fiction and Nuclear Power in the Post-Hiroshima Period.” Science Fiction Studies 3.2 (1976): 143-150. Print.

Bilstad, Allan T. The Lovecraft Necronomicon Primer: A Guide to the Cthulhu Mythos. Woodbury: Llewellyn Publications, 2009. Print

Bird, Lawrence. “States of Emergency: Urban Space and the Robotic Body in the ‘Metropolis’ Tales.” Mechademia 3 (2008): 126-148. JSTOR. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Briggs, Robin. “Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft.” The Sixteenth Century Journal 28.2 (1997).

Burleson, Donald R. Lovecraft, Disturbing the Universe. Kentucky: University of Kentucky Press, 1990. Print.

Chibnall, Steve, and Julian Petley, eds. “The British Censors and Horror Cinema.” British Horror Cinema. London: Psychology Press, 2002. 10-22. Print.

Chung, Debbie Joyce. “’Such Blood, Such Power’: The Lot Complex in Anne Rice’s ‘Interview with the Vampire’.” Hungarian Journal of English and American Studies 6.2 (2000): 173-181. JSTOR. Web.

Colson, Elizabeth. “The Father as a Witch.” Africa: Journal of the International African Institute 70.3 (2000): 333-358. JSTOR. Web.

Dadoun, Roger, and Arthur Goldhammer. “Metropolis: Mother-City—“Mittler”—Hitler.” Camera Obscura 5.3 (1986): 137-164. Print.

Danta, Chris. “The Future Will Have Been Animal: Dr. Moreau and the Aesthetics of Monstrosity.” Textual Practice 26.4 (2012): 687-705. Print.

Dinello, Dan. “Island of Lost Souls.” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 27.5 (2010): 367-369. Print.

Doane, Janice and Devon Hodges. “Undoing Feminism: From the Preoedipal to Postfeminism in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles.” American Literary History 2.3 (1990): 422-442. JSTOR. Web.

Fren, Allison de. “Technofetishism and the Uncanny Desires of A.S.F.R (alt.sex.fetish.robots).” Science Fiction Studies 36 (2009): 404-440. JSTOR. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Gilmore, David. “Monsters: Evil Beings, Mythical Beasts, and All Manners of Imaginary Terrors.” College Literature 32.1 (2005): 199-201. JSTOR. Web.

Haggerty, George E. “Anne Rice and the Queering of Culture.” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 32.1 (1998):5-18. JSTOR. Web.

Hales, Barbara. “Dancer in the Dark: Hypnosis, Trance-Dancing, and Weimar’s Fear of the New Woman.” Monatshefte 102 (2010): 534-549. JSTOR. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Hamilton, Sheryl N. “Traces of the Future: Biotechnology, Science Fiction, and the Media.” Science Fiction Studies 30.2 (2003): 267-82. JSTOR. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Hantke, Steffen, ed. “A Film Is Being Beaten.” Horror Film: Creating and Marketing Fear. Jackson: The University Press of Mississippi, 2004. 52-65. Print.

Heffernan, James A. W. “Looking at the Monster: ‘Frankenstein’ and Film.” Critical Inquiry 24.1 (1997): 133-58. Print.

Huyssen, Andreas. “The Vamp and the Machine: Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.” After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986. 65-81. Print.

Huyssen, Andreas. “The Vamp and the Machine: Technology and Sexuality in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.” New German Critique 24/25 (1981): 221-237. JSTOR. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Joshi, Sunand T. H. P. Lovecraft and Lovecraft Criticism: An Annotated Bibliography. Holicong: Wildside Press, 1981. Print.

Klass, Morton. “The Artificial Alien: Transformations of the Robot in Science Fiction.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 470 (1983): 171-79. Print.

King, J. J. “The (Un)Lucky Dragon: Monstrous Futures.” Futures 31.1 (1999): 117-122. Print.

Kirby, David A. “The New Eugenics in Cinema: Genetic Determinism and Gene Therapy in ‘GATTACA’.” Science Fiction Studies 27.2 (2000): 193-215. Print.

Koven, Mikel J. “What is Giallo?” La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2006. 1-18. Print.

Larson, Doran. “Machine as Messiah: Cyborgs, Morphs, and the American Body Politic.” Cinema Journal 36.4 (1997): 57-75. Print.

Lévy, Maurice. Lovecraft, a Study in the Fantastic. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1985. Print.

Mann, Karen B. “Narrative Entanglements: The Terminator.” Film Quarterly 43.2 (1989): 17-27. Print.

McCorkle, Brooke. “Nature, Technology, and Sound Design in Gojira.” Horror Studies 3.1 (1954): 21-37. Print.

McHugh, Susan. “The Call of the Other 0.1%: Genetic Aesthetics and the New Moreaus.” AI and Society 20 (2006): 63-81. Print.

Murphy, Richard. “Modernism and the Cinema: Metropolis and the Expressionist Aesthetic.” Comparative Critical Studies 4 (2007): 105-120. JSTOR. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Napier, Susan J. “Panic Sites: The Japanese Imagination of Disaster from Godzilla to Akira.” Journal of Japanese Studies 19.2 (1993): 327-351. Print.

O’Brien, Paul. “Metal and Meat: The Human in the Age of Non-Biological Reproduction.” Circa Art Magazine 65 (1993): 22-27. JSTOR. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.

Pansegrau, Petra. “Stereotypes and Images of Scientists in Fiction Films.” Science Images and Popular Images of the Sciences. Ed. Bernd Huppauf and Peter Weingart. New York: Routledge, 2008. 257-266. Print.

Ramsland, Katherine. “Anne Rices’s Deconstruction of Darkness.” The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal 11.1 (1992): 69-75. JSTOR. Web.

Rutsky, R. L. “The Mediation of Technology and Gender: Metropolis, Nazism, Modernism.” New German Critique 60.3 (1993): 3-32. Print.

Sack, Robert David. “Magic and Space.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 66.2 (1976): 309-322. JSTOR. Web.

Schummer, Joachim, Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, and Brigitte van Tiggelen, eds. “Chemists and Their Craft in Fiction Film.” The Public Image of Chemistry. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co., 2007. 81-96. Print.

Schummer, Joachim, Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, and Brigitte van Tiggelen, eds. “Historical Roots of the ‘Mad Scientist’.” The Public Image of Chemistry. Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co., 2007. 37-80. Print.

Sherman, Cordelia. “Living Death to the Fullest.” The Women’s Review of Books 6.7 (1989): 17. JSTOR. Web.

Shetley, Vernon, and Alissa Ferguson. “Reflections in a Silver Eye: Lens and Mirror in ‘Blade Runner'” Science Fiction Studies 28.1 (2001): 66-76. JSTOR. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

Skal, David J. Screams of Reason: Mad Science and Modern Culture. New York: W. W. Norton, 1998. Print.

“‘Stop treating animals as commodities,’ says human-animal relations specialist.” International Business Times (2012). EBSCO MegaFILE. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

Telotte, J.P. “The Seductive Text of Metropolis.” South Atlantic Review 55.4 (1990): 49-60. JSTOR. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.

Toumey, Christopher P. “The Moral Character of Mad Scientists: A Cultural Critique of Science.” Science, Technology & Human Values 17.4 (1992): 411-437. Print.

Tudor, Andrew. “Monsters and Mad Scientists: A Cultural History of the Horror Movie.” Studies in Popular Culture 14.1 (1991): 191. JSTOR. Web.

Wax, Murray, and Rosalie Wax. “The Notion of Magic.” Current Anthropology 4.5 (1963): 495-498. JSTOR. Web.

Weingart, Peter and Petra Pansegrau. “Introduction: Perception and Representation of Science in Literature and Fiction Film.” Public Understanding of Science 12.3 (2003): 227-228. Print.

Wosk, Julie. “Metropolis.” Technology and Culture 51.2 (2010): 403-408. Project Muse. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s