“Considering A.I. in Christian Fantasy” : Day One of CSFF tour of ResAliens website! (Free book offer within)

The ResAliens website quickly enthralled me. There was so much to READ and I couldn’t even choose where to begin!  (visit Web site link – http://www.resaliens.com/ )  They have an e-magazine which I quickly downloaded for FREE and will have to comment in a later blog, as well as short stories and interviews with artists and authors.

So, where did I start? Call it laziness, or following the direction of the webmaster, I started at the top at the most advertised piece: T.M. Hunter’s Dead or Alive anthology of short stories.  “Some assembly required” was a pretty cool read. I immediately thought of a Blade Runneresque  bar scene and the subject matter was Asimovian (which I love).  Throughout the story I was impressed by the overall writing skill and the development (albeit short) of Aston. By the end I was hoping that he’d leave Libby behind and get out with his cash, and life. If you’d like to read the story please do, but if you are not interested, read on. (There’s a little bit of spoiler in the next paragraph.)

You see, Libby is a machine. It takes Aston a little while to realize it, but yes, she’s a robot (that used to happen to me all the time in my college days). By the end he’s hoping to “save her” from being deprogrammed at the risk of his own well-being, but this brought up an interesting dilemma in my feeble philosophical mind. As Christians, how should we integrate AI into our sf writing? How are we supposed to respond to AI as readers? Biblically, man cannot create life or “make souls” and I’m considering if it’s problematic to raise a robot’s worth to the same status as a human. For instance, I am a huge fan of the Star Wars series, and while C3PO was constantly dismantled and dismembered, the director never made us even attempt compassion for him. We all knew he could be reconstructed and reprogrammed. (It’s intention usually was comedic, not to evoke compassion.) In contrast, the movie A.I. constantly attempted to make us feel compassion for a robot; I couldn’t take it. Was I the only one who wanted to see David (the boy) finished off at the carnival? Well, maybe that was a little harsh, but at the same time, just like C3PO, couldn’t he have just been reconstructed?  But I have to admit, I’ve got a little place in my heart for WALL-E, who was programmed to collect trash, but inexplicably falls in love with another robot who was, rather ironically, searching for life on earth.

I digress from my philosophical tirade. Whether or not AI should be used in Christian SF is up for debate and I’d love comments or even links to other articles on the subject.  From the one short story I read from Hunter’s book on the ResAliens website, I’m definitely down for reading more. There is a book giveaway on goodreads which I quickly entered HERE.

Hope you enjoy the site!

Participant Links:
Noah Arsenault
Brandon Barr
Thomas Clayton Booher
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
CSFF Blog Tour
Carol Bruce Collett
D. G. D. Davidson
Dean Hardy
Katie Hart
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Lyn Perry
Sarah Sawyer
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler

About deanhardy23

Dean Hardy is the Bible Department Chair at Charlotte Christian School North Carolina. He is the author of middle grade fantasy Magnus Kir and an apologetics text entitled Stand Your Ground
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13 Responses to “Considering A.I. in Christian Fantasy” : Day One of CSFF tour of ResAliens website! (Free book offer within)

  1. Kaleb Kramer says:

    Cyborgs and AI are not necessarily the same. WALL-E and what’s-her-name are robots. C-3PO is a robot. Cyborgs are humans enhanced with robotic technology (Legs, arms, eyes, implanted chips, etc.) They have machine-parts; but are still at least partly human.

    AI, though, is all machine with intelligence, self-awareness, and excellent at solving problems (especially on space ships). Despite that; they’re sill considered machines by most people. (Except i Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”)

    • deanhardy23 says:

      Kaleb,
      Thank you so much for your input…
      Ok, yes, by definition, Darth Vader=cyborg. After a quick re-read in the text it clearly says “cyborg”…

      Your input does change my attitude toward Libby’s value. If she is, in any sense of the word, human, then Ashton should definitely risk his life to save her. It also bring’s up Ford’s morals, for wouldn’t cyborg utilization be a form of slavery? (Cyborgs would need to have SOME sort of free will right?) Nevertheless, it was a good read …and it definitely made me think. Did you happen to read it? If so, what did you think?

  2. Kaleb Kramer says:

    I haven’t read it yet, but I’ll get to it. I’ll let you know.

    Also a good point about cyborg utilization.

    That’s what I like about SF; it can cover ideas and problems not easy to cover in fantasy. (And I like starships better than anything in fantasy:)

  3. Pingback: CSFF Blog Tour – Residential Aliens, Day 1 « A Christian Worldview of Fiction

  4. Ouch, Kaleb, that’s hard for this fantasy writer to hear. 😉

    Great post, Dean. What great questions. I love the fact that you’ve discussed this story on such a thoughtful level. I skipped the spoiler part, but your interchange with Kaleb has piqued my interest!

    Becky

  5. Kaleb Kramer says:

    I’ve read it now. It did make me think; and was interesting. I liked it. I found the very end interesting; with a chance for some interesting repercussions in the future.

    • deanhardy23 says:

      As did I… honestly, I didn’t read carefully when I started- but I thought this was chapter one of a book- but after I checked out the book I’m under the impression that it was a stand-alone short story. I actually wanted the story to continue…
      I enjoy fantasy and SF pretty equally…

  6. Pingback: CSFF Blog Tour – Residential Aliens, Day 3 « A Christian Worldview of Fiction

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  8. Pingback: Fantasy Friday – ResAliens Tour Wrap « A Christian Worldview of Fiction

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