Welcome back to the first Weirdsday blog for Jordancon 2020. It also happens to be the first week of October, which means SF HORROR tropes. One of these days we might have to do a panel specifically on SF & Horror. Today I want to talk about the machines that we fear, but first let’s talk about April of 2020.

Asymmetry

One of the things we are going to strive for this upcoming year is a sense of asymmetry in our panels. While I do not have an exact plan and we are limited in what we can do (sorry, no VR panels yet) each year I want to make changes in our presentations to make the track unique. This year we are looking at more interactive panels, giving you more things to do and more ways to interact with the content. Don’t expect leaps and bounds, but keep an eye out for some differences. As always we love your feedback.

More Science

There will also be more science focused panels. And they will be fun! At least I think they will be. We have a great resource of science focused members and those who can converse in the language of technology, that we want to take greater advantage of that. Again if you have any ideas that are feasible, drop us a line at sciencefiction@jordancon.org.

The Deadly Machines

I thought we would kick off our SF Horror Month with a discussion of the machines that we love to fear. Science Fiction is full of machines that prey on people and in such antagonists we find much entertainment. Machines plague the human psyche in ways that are different than say, a face stealing alien. Robots and mechanization are something we deal with every day. These machines lesson our load but they also take away jobs and lack the human touch associated with good customer service. Now Alexa and her machine tribe can run our homes and order our groceries, giving a great deal of power to the machines and those who control them.

Who are these murder machines? Science Fiction is full of them. It could be argued that Frankenstein’s monster is a machine of sorts, but we won’t count Mary Shelley’s seminal masterpiece. Instead let’s concentrate on a few well known and not well known members of this particular club.

As I was thinking about this week’s blog, Ash from Alien is the first robot that came to mind. Ash is more android than robot with is human like appearance. This makes Ash very dangerous as he is able to hide his nature and the nature of his programming from the rest of the crew. We can give a shout out to Michael Fassbender’s David as well.  Of course we cannot fail to mention the Terminator in all of its different guises. Although I think the original machine is the scariest, the others are remorseless in their own right.

My own favorite SF murder machine is Maximilian from Disney’s The Black Hole. Max is legitimately scary and one can imagine its creator making sure there is not an ounce of humanity in the machine, so that it can be the perfect foreman. That said, I think Maximilian is a great character in a movie that is widely underappreciated.

What are your favorite SF murder machines? Feel free to comment!