Date of Award

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

College/School

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Department/Program

English

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Laura Nicosia

Committee Member

Wendy Nielsen

Committee Member

Art Simon

Subject(s)

Dick, Philip K. -- Do androids dream of electric sheep?, Moore, Ronald D. -- Criticism and interpretation, Garland, Alex, -- 1970- -- Criticism and interpretation, Battlestar Galactica (Television program : 2003), Battlestar Galactica (Television program : 2004-2009), Ex machina (Motion picture), Science fiction, Monsters in literature, Monsters in mass media, Monsters in motion pictures, Artificial life

Abstract

Using Jeffrey Jerome Cohen’s “Monster Theory (Seven Theses)” as a template for the monstrous and D. Felton’s article “Rejecting and Embracing the Monstrous in Ancient Greece and Rome,” this project seeks to investigate the presentation of artificial life as monsters using three science fiction narratives from the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The narratives include Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (1968), five episodes of the Ronald D. Moore developed reimagining of Battlestar Galactica television series (2004-2006), Moore’s Battlestar Galactica: The Miniseries (2003), and Alex Garland’s film Ex Machina (2015). Analysis of these narratives will be coupled with close readings of the Medusa myths from Robert Graves’s The Greek Myths and Apollodorus’s The Library of Greek Mythology. Analysis of Medusa’s mythology will provide a foundation link between Greek mythology and contemporary incarnations of monstrosity.

Instead of limiting the discussion to solely film, literature or television, this project seeks to read all three mediums as relevant contributors to the creation of 21st century myth. These particular texts frame the narrative monster as being based on physical characteristics and cultural relevance as well as the gendered relationship of hero to monster. These specific contemporary narratives link monstrosity to gender roles and feminine presentation. This project attempts assert the mythological monster has maintained a presence in the narratives of contemporary science fiction.

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