In Replications: A Robotic History of the Science Fiction Film [Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1995], J. P. Telotte argues that "through its long history, one that dates back to the very origins of film, this genre [science fiction] has focused its attention on the problematic nature of human being and the difficult task of being human." [1-2] The thesis of the book, he states, is "relatively simple—that the image of human artifice ... is the single most important one in the genre. [...] Through this image of artifice, our films have sought to reframe the human image and reaffirm that sense of self about which we ... appear so anxious today." Substitute "magical" for "technological" – or at least, substitute a magically-infused steampunk form of technology – and Telotte's thesis applies as well to the SciFi channel’s miniseries Tin Man as to any other science fiction work. In particular, Tin Manoffers a varied and subtle exploration of the sense of self in terms of the issue of the relationship between memory and identity by offering us not one but three characters who must regain and acknowledge ownership of their memories in order to restore their true identities, restorations which are important not only to the characters on a personal level, but which are critical in the resolution of the plot.
Smith, Anne Collins, "Memories Cloaked in Magic: Memory and Identity in Tin Man" (2010). Faculty Publications. 7.
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