A Comparative Study Of The Concept Of Dystopia In Brian Aldiss' Short Story "Super Toys Last All Summer Long" And Its Cinematographic Adaptation, Artificial Intelligence

2385 words - 10 pages

1. Compare the story "Super Toys Last All Summer Long" with the movie Artificial Intelligence. Do they use the same symbols? Do they have the same themes? Explain why or why not.***Adapting literature for the big screen is a risky process, and can yield great results as well as a poor, butchered, dubbed-down version of an otherwise major work. Fortunately, Stanley Kubrick 's Artificial Intelligence movie has proved, by its extended use of dystopia and its focus on the human/machine relationships, to be a worthy extension of Brian Aldiss' short stories, going deeper than what the author originally anticipated. To fully grasp the nature of the changes between the story and the film requires a ...view middle of the document...

Note that not all conservative dystopias are necessarily science fiction, while a radical dystopia can hardly be conceived without a science fiction background.Conservative dystopias address the fear of a breakdown in social order and established ways. They often deal with the disintegration of the family and the reduction of individual liberties by centralizing governments; as a result, the oppressed individual must seek refuge in nature or reminiscences of the past. Prime examples of conservative dystopias include George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon. Radical dystopias, on the other hand, deal with the dangers of rising pollution, superior technologies - such as robots or cloning -, nuclear power, economic and industrial exploitation, and advanced capitalism. The growing mechanization of life is a key theme in these stories, which often resort to cyborgs (CYBer-ORGanisms) or thinking supercomputers to embody this concept. Two of the most famous radical dystopias are 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner.Artificial Intelligence and Super-Toys Last All Summer Long differ somewhat in their expression of the concept of dystopia. While it presents some interesting elements of both types, Aldiss' short story is definitely more conservative than radical. It is first and foremost the tale of an android boy who cannot be loved by his mother; the overpopulated world and the melting of the ice caps due to the greenhouse effect lie in background of the story, and could very well be replaced by any other plot device allowing the author to deal with the problems of childbirth control. There lies the real issue of the setting: in the diminishing of freedoms available to people, as represented by Monica who, in accordance with pure regression of women's rights, is reduced to the role of mother, completely devoid of any substantial occupation and perfectly isolated from the world in her artificial garden. This garden generated by the Whologram also embodies the escape in nature and memories of days bygone of people living in an unbearable reality. And finally, the impossibility of her having a child leads to the creation of a mechanical android boy to replace the lack - something which, Aldiss says, can not be as easily done.All these themes at the core of the story are true to conservative dystopias; however, they did not move from the written word to the big screen without permutation. The first enormous difference is that in Artificial Intelligence, the Swinton couple already has a child, Martin, who is in cryogenic storage until his terminal disease can be cured. Right from the start, David serves as a fill-up while Martin is away; thus the question central to Aldiss, "Can a mother love a robot child?" (and by extension, a child which is not her own) can easily shift to "Can a mother love a child while waiting after her own?". In the movie, the Swintons - as well as the spectator - know from the beginning that David...

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