THE ARTIFICIAL MAN (1884): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

Artificial ManTHE ARTIFICIAL MAN: A SEMI-SCIENTIFIC STORY (1884) – Written by an unknown figure under the pseudonym Don Quichotte. 

This short story from the August 16th issue of The Argonaut is an early example of trans-humanism. The title figure, bearing a malformed head and short limbs, encounters the tale’s narrator. At first the artificial man seems to be very old but suprisingly, he claims to be just 18 years of age.

The artificial human says his scientist creator “grew” him in a bell jar and that he does not eat like normal people do. Instead, he was given a synthetic stomach into which nutrients are injected and his stomach contains gastric juices from a calf which enable him to digest the nutrients.

Supposedly this artificial man looks old and sickly only because he has been designed along lines taking evolution into account, and future humans will look frail by our standards. This is similar to the way 1880s humans look less physically fit than their brutish cavemen ancestors.

The synthezoid states that the people of the future will be much more cerebral, to the point where their brains can be worked on like 1880s men could work on machines.

The skeptical narrator is convinced when the artificial man removes the top of his head like we today would “pop open” a car’s hood to look at the engine. He shows the narrator his brain before restoring the top of his head.

The story ends on a rather backward-thinking note, however, when the artificial being claims that evolution goes in an eternal circle. His scrawnier but brainier humans will ultimately be survived by brawnier humans more like the cavemen.

Fairly amusing concept but with a puzzling, not entirely fitting finale. 

For much more detailed looks at transhumanist concepts read Balladeer’s Blog’s reviews of THE NEW HUMANS HERE  and THE LUNARIAN PROFESSOR HERE +++

FOR MY ORIGINAL LIST OF TEN DIFFERENT WORKS OF “ANCIENT” SCIENCE FICTION CLICK HERE   *** FOR THE FOLLOWUP LIST OF EIGHT DIFFERENT WORKS OF “ANCIENT” SCI FI CLICK HERE    *** AND FOR TWENTY MORE CLICK HERE  

FOR WASHINGTON IRVING’S 1809 depiction of an invasion from the moon click here:     https://glitternight.com/2014/05/05/ancient-science-fiction-the-men-of-the-moon-1809-by-washington-irving/

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

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