The Android Equation

The Android Equation

I took a look back over the stories I've written through the last few years, and a frankly disturbing number of them include robots. And, more specifically, androids. You know, those things that most movies turn into walking, talking, creepy dolls? All plastic-like and bug-eyed?

What makes androids compelling characters? Why are they fun to write about?

I dunno about other people, but I'll say this: I like the blank slates. The rapid changes in what an android can do, what they think, and how they're going to tackle the challenges their diabolical god (me) has decided to drop in their path. You and I, with our pesky brains, instincts, and habits built on a lifetime of coincidence and choices, bring all that baggage into every situation.

An android only brings cool logic and, perhaps, a chance for evolution.

Most stories don't cover a person's entire life (biographies, you stay outta this). They're windows into small slits where something catastrophic, wonderful, or wonderfully catastrophic (a prepper's doomsday prediction coming true?) happens and they have to respond. Change, growth, all that has to happen as a result of this event.

Androids, though, they can change on a dime. A hacker gets inside, and suddenly your heroic digital buddy is your fiercest enemy. Someone flips the wrong switch, and now Buddy the Bot is dead set on lighting everything on fire instead of watering the grass. Karen 2.0, the best baby-sitting model you've ever seen, can get a glitchy update and decide to take the kids on a cross country road trip.

The 'living' bots also present a great way to see things from an untainted perspective. What you and I might consider 'evil', an android can approach with both the trappings of humanity and the cold logic that might make that evil deed acceptable, such as deciding to destroy the last cookie on the tray because you, its dear friend, have already eaten a dozen today and your nutritional balance is already teetering on a disastrous precipice.

Also, you can give them sword arms. Laser eyes. Feet that can jump, like Superman, over the tallest building. Endless fun to be had, there.

So the next time you're looking at a story and you see it's starring, co-starring, or sneaking in at the back of the credits, an android: understand that they're just plain nice to have around. And next time you try to spin up something of your own, consider adding in an android. See what happens.

Orcs, elves, and androids?

Downton Abbey, with androids?

Survivor, with androids?

Yes please.

It's still launch week for The Farthest Star, which, you guessed it, has androids (shocker, I know). If you want to snag it at its launch price, now's the time.

Paragon's Fall is free through today, and guess what? It, uh, sort of has androids? It definitely has superheroes, though, and the thwacking, smacking action that goes along with them. Does that count?

Ex-Machina, the movie the post's image comes from, is a creepy good time and worth a watch. It's streaming on . . . Showtime? Okay, well, you can rent it too.

Have a great weekend everyone!

A.R. Knight

A.R. Knight