17.45: Bodies, Tech, and Character

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette, C.L. Polk, Fran Wilde, and Howard Tayler 

Let’s talk about technological body-modification! It’s a common element in science fiction, but it’s also an increasingly important part of the world we’re living in right now.

Liner Notes: In this episode we referenced “Happenstance,” and Amy Purdy’s quickstep from Dancing With The Stars.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Daniel Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson.


In the context of your world, envision an augmentation that is both beautiful and useful.

A Rover’s Story, by Jasmine Warga

4 thoughts on “17.45: Bodies, Tech, and Character”

  1. Robert Heinlein, for all of his flaws, may have gotten the arm prosthesis idea right in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. The protagonist, Manny has lost an arm in an accident, and has a set of protheses, one for working to repair computers, but another that he calls his “Sunday go to Church Arm.” He choses the arm for the occasion.

    In Babel 17 Samuel L. Delany has a section on body modifications that is interesting. Yes, there are individuals with amazing high tech mods, but the white collar accountant guy gets his little dragon implant in his shoulder that he can hide at work, but it makes him feel different just having it. It was an interesting take, not unlike the hidden tattoo.

  2. This week, Mary Robinette, Chelsea, Fran, and Howard looked at how bodies and tech interact, and what that says about characters. Think about augmentations that are both supportive and beautiful. Let your characters design their augmentations! Why is there theme that augmentations make you inhuman? And a lot more discussion that you can read now in the transcript in the archives.

  3. I highly recommend the webcomic Always Human. It is a romance set in a world were augmentation is so ubiquitous that a character who can’t use them is considered disabled.

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