Tweet of the Day: Sci-Fi Romance Heroines and the Chivalric Code
Nothing says, “Welcome to the Future!” like a background character sporting a shiny new cybernetic arm, or an advert on TV about the new YT-900 series of artificial legs that allow you to run three times as fast as the best human athlete. Real life Artificial Limbs rarely confer super strength or speed as they do in fiction but are growing in sophistication. Nor are these limbs limited to science fiction. Multiple fantasy and steampunk stories feature magical or alchemical contraptions that allow otherwise disable characters to move about freely with significant advantages over their flesh and blood counterparts.
When it comes to using this trope as a story element it usually falls somewhere between Nature vs. Technology. On the Nature side, the new limb is a inferior replacement, a reminder of something lost. Not just the loss of flesh, but also a loss of innocence and purity. On the Technology side, the new limb is an upgrade, a sign of the times where man transcends the limits of the mortal coil. Even when an author presents both sides of the divide, they tend to chose one over the other.