Friday, 25 September 2015
The Frankenstein Questions
Is it right for anyone, God or Man, to create human life?
Will scientists be destroyed by their own creations?
Some religious believers would jointly answer both, i.e., "Creation of life is a divine prerogative. Any scientists who usurp the divine role will rightly be destroyed by their own creation."
In Poul Anderson's The Stars Are Also Fire, humanly created artificial intelligences regard the continued existence of free human beings as a threat to their own destiny. In Anderson's Genesis, the existence of humanly created artificial intelligences has eventually caused the extinction of humanity but one AI has usurped the divine/Frankensteinian role of re-creating humanity! Thus, Anderson addresses both forms of the Frankenstein question.
Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus was the first science fiction novel. Anderson was a successor of Shelley not only because he wrote science fiction but also because he updated Frankenstein's questions. Shelley, of course, came long before Anderson's other main predecessors: Wells, Stapledon and Heinlein.