Cyberman Evolution

Cyber Evolution

The BBC has revealed its design for the latest manifestation of the Cybermen (right above). It is an example (I think) of the cross fertilisation of ideas. It is new, different even, and yet strangely familiar. Within in its design are elements from Star Wars C3P0, the Iron Giant and Fritz Lang’s robot Maria from Metropolois. In fact the similarity to this is so striking it shows, once again, how seminal the design of that motion picture was.

As a result the overall effect is of a menacing robot rather than a cyborg, and this rather risks missing that deep vein of horror and poignancy of a race that has been forced to half turn themselves into machines in order to survive. The first Cybermen (left above) appeared in a story called The Tenth Planet and, like the Borg from Star Trek, were still recognisably human. Losing that element of (lost) humanity means losing that juxtaposition that emphasises what has been sacrificed by the Mondasians when they became cyborgs.

As Marc Platt writer of the Big Finish Cyberman story Spare Parts
puts it in Doctor Who, The Audio Scripts Volume 3,

‘The first Cybermen, although held together by sellotape, are convincingly half human, half machine. At the age of 13, I found this really chilling. And even today, their first appearance and sound is genuinely weird and frightening.
After which came ‘The Moonbase’ but the Cybermen now had metal faces? and not quite as half human as they used to be.’

And then again,

‘Despite their apparent status as a Great Space Power, they usually seem to be staring extinction in the face. “We will survive” has always been their raison d’etre. And “You will be like us” is the key to the whole concept. But for it to be a tragedy, they must have got into this mess through a mix of accident and the best possible intentions. But what in Heaven drove them to such a terrible solution?’

Now, will they just be a bunch of scary robots?

And I’ll miss the accordion playing as well!



6 comments


    Sniz

    November 12, 2005

    Gasp!

    How can they get away with being called ‘Cybermen’ in this day and age? Surely they should be called ‘Cyberperson’. Hmmm, maybe the word ‘person’ should be thrown out because it has ‘son’ in it. So this means they should
    be called ‘Cyber-offspring’ or summink.
    Anyway – Not knowing much about the Cybermen, I find myself comparing them to the Borg. Now when the Borg first appeared on the scene, I thought they were quite scary, in the fact that they ignored all attempts to communicate, unless they wanted to and the words ‘resistance is futile’ a master stroke.
    So I have some questions:
    Did the cybermen do this to themselves, in order to survive?
    Would it be possible to reverse the cybering process and he/she discover some sort of humanity again? A la the Dalek, or Seven of Nine in Star Trek.
    Did the Daleks ever have any emotions other than exterminate? Or are they just ‘born to kill’?

    petegrehan

    November 12, 2005

    As your example illustrates once you start down the road of political correctness you need to be careful not to get carried away. Today they might be called Cyberbeings or, in the case of one fictional copy of the Cybermen, the “Cyberons”:http://digalon.com/store/shopexd.asp?id=6&pidd=6.

    When their world, “Mondas”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondas_%28Doctor_Who%29), drifted away from our sun the Mondasians resorted to turning themselves into cyborgs in order to survive the worsening environment. The Daleks are cyborgs that are a product of mutation, triggered by a chemical/nuclear war. I maintain that the Daleks are emotional; they are filled with hate and fear of anything different to themselves. The classic racists really.

    Kath

    November 12, 2005

    Wow… I’m so impressed.

    You (both) have managed to travel into the future AND get a blog back to us mere earthlings!!! (time of writing this comment 17.08 on the 15th November 2005) Truly Science Fiction in action, or is there some sort of conspiracy theory that might be applied…

    Kevin

    November 12, 2005

    as the developer behind this _time traveling_ blog I can only say
    that numerous monkeys will lose their typewriters over this..

    heck, think of it as a *feature*

    markbanerji

    November 12, 2005

    *Because I’m worth it.*

    !http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41022000/jpg/_41022342_metropolisbody_pr.jpg(Because i’m worth it)!

    With regards to the benefits of time travel I bet we all wish we could pick up a couple of posters of Metropolis considering one just been “sold”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/4438948.stm for $690,000!

    If anyone still worries about robots taking over the latest “bank advert”:http://www.boardsmag.com/screeningroom/commercials/2043/ should provide some comfort.

    jake

    November 12, 2005

    revenge of the cybermen
    and terror of the zygons

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