Thursday, March 26, 2009
A friend working in animation recently steered me to the concept of the uncanny valley, where humans revulse upon encountering nearly successful robotic humanoids, but receive them more kindly when they appear more crudely human. Some find the theory rubbish, but regardless of its truth, it's certainly an interesting descriptive tool for thinking across and delving into a wide variety of issues directly related to fantasy, such as xenophobia and transhumanity. I suggest taking a look at the Wikipedia article linked above.
But more interestingly, my friend's reference surprised me because I had just read Sigmund Freud's essay on The Uncanny a few days earlier - one of those uncanny coincidences Rob delights in... But enough about serendipity-doo, I highly recommend reading Freud's essay treating with the aesthetic of the familiar and unfamiliar, heimlich und unheimlich. It's an interesting read for any studious fantasy DM, or their double....