Blog 2017, Story Speculations

Two Robots Walk Into A Slum

I want to write a buddy cop series about Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Robocop.

I think the two of them could make a fun pairing, especially depending on the circumstances of their meeting.  Data was and is one of my favorite characters from TNG, played masterfully by the underrated Brent Spiner.  The android with aspirations to humanity, he was a delightful Pinocchio metaphor brought to life, as sci-fi is so very good at.  Over the seven seasons, though, Data turned into an increasingly complex and nuanced character who would be loved alongside cultural mainstays like Spock or Kirk.

Robocop, on the other hand, is a more complicated figure.  First appearing in the 1987 film of the same name, Robocop is actually intended as a satirical character, although director Paul Verhoeven considered him a hyper-violent allegory for Jesus Christ.  Everything about the film is a pointed jab at then-modern culture (as is the case for all the good cyberpunk, a genre that has largely gone neglected of late).  The film, despite its gruesome violence would inspire comics, TV series, and would go on to be lauded as one of the finest and most respected films in cinema history.

So, Pinocchio and American Jesus as a buddy cop story.I feel like the story would have to be investigative.  Data would have to be in Delta City to find something, whether that be an item or a person or the location of an event.  Pairing up with Robocop would need to be a logical jump, not a matter of circumstance.  Even Data’s arrival would need to be inauspicious.  Some temporal anomaly can’t have thrown Data back in time and require him to get home.  No, that’s too complicated and it necessitates very little from Alex ‘Robocop’ Murphy.

I enjoy the notion that Data would be thrown back in time by way of the Temporal Cold War (a relic from the much maligned and only partially deserving Star Trek: Enterprise).  Data gets told to go, goes, does, and then comes back all dues ex machina because a story about two robots should end exactly that way.

The actual narrative itself could end up being ancillary to just what these two figures would say to one another.  Imagine them on stakeout (or whatever) and Data asking Robocop about his perception of life.  The science officer’s inquisitiveness would expose Robocop to paradigms that he simply would not be prepared for, whereas Robocop has a unique perspective on humanity – that which was taken forcibly from him by friend and foe alike.

Science fiction exists as a means to push the boundaries of our perception of life – whether it’s personal life or societal life – through the use of exaggeration, metaphor, allegory, and satire/caricature.  And there has never been a better deconstruction of humanity and the human condition than that of robots and artificial life.  To have two characters poised on either end of the spectrum, one who aspires to be human and can never be opposite one who was human and can never be again, the depths of what could be revealed simply cannot be fathomed.

That is, of course, the deeper evaluation of the narrative.  The surface level stuff is just as important because robots are cool.




On the other side of Katsucon, I’m still recovering.  I’ve got an empty couple of months, bereft of events and conventions.  My next con isn’t until June (Anime Mid-Atlantic in Virginia).  I’m working on some new panels, although the schedule is still a long way out.

RocKaiju is being finalized.  The delays are frustrating but being cleared out left and right.  I am of the mind to release late than unready.  Still, I hope to announce its release sooner rather than later.  Rhest for the Wicked 2 (ostensibly titled Rhest of the Time because cleverness is for suckers) is next on the plate, although I’m already finishing manuscripts for a few other books as well.  I am hoping the back-half of the year will be exciting with more than one surprise to be revealed.

Be good to yourself!

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