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Hadaly: The First Android
Tara Isabella Burton, Saturday 3.55 – 4.30
Before steampunk, before Blade Runner, before “I Robot,” there was Hadaly.
The titular character of Villiers d’Isle-Adam’s 1886 novel Tomorrow’s Eve, Hadaly is the brainchild of no less an inventor than Thomas Edison, who bets a friend he can create the “perfect woman”: sparking the first “Pygmalion” story in modern science fiction (as well as the first popular use of the term “android”). My article would explore Tomorrow’s Eve against the technological developments of the late nineteenth-century obsession with “creating reality” – at once offering insight into an unfairly-neglected classic of science fiction literature and into the life of the flamboyant Villiers, a prominent fixture on the Parisian literary scene whose obsession with occultism made him a popular subject of scandal. It would also look at popular contemporary “robot Pygmalion” stories – such as Warren’s “Buffy-Bot” on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
A bit about…
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