I wanted to start out my post this time with a video. On one of my favorite shows, Archer, the scientist has a hologram girlfriend who he is off and on with throughout the series. Though he has a few trists with other characters (see the male version of the sexbot that he creates for his lover)
There are just too many of the same type of alien, young and desirable women in the science fiction that we’ve read so far to not bring it up. First, in HG Wells, the young and childlike love interest of our intrepid time traveler. Second, in the hyper erotic alien in Tiptree’s “And I awoke…”. And now, in Dick’s Rachael Rosen. In the previous works there has been only admiration of the creature, or a base line animalistic desire that has fueled the men who are recounting these women.
In Rachael Rosen character, there still isn’t any interiority (where we get inside the android’s head and hear what she’s really thinking and feeling) but through her speech the reader is granted a little bit of access to her inner thoughts, or her projections, if they aren’t real emotions.
When Rachael and Rick agree to meet up the motivations seem to be sexual, “About situations involving human men and android women. Come down here to San Francisco tonight I’ll give up on the remaining andys. We’ll do something else” (182). Then they meet up at the St. Francis (another San Francisco landmark I’m glad survived the ruin that seems to plague the rest of the city). As he’s driving to his robotic rendezvous he has his first real meditation in the text about the existence of android “life” and aspiration. They meet up and discuss her android double and her existence. “‘If I die,’ she murmured, ‘maybe I’ll be born again when the Rosen Association stamps out its next unit of my subtype'” (190). Her mediations on her own existence, her soul, her mirrored android all seem too deep for the characterization of the android that Rick was first giving the reader.
She continues to lure him to bed, though it doesn’t seem hard to lure the willing. After she give Rick what he thinks is the trump card for taking down the remaining androids she continues in her deep and very un-android (as far as it’s been relayed to the reader thus far) meditation on childbearing. Again we have a creature, like Frankenstein’s monster, who is unable to reproduce. She questions if reproduction is important or not, but her focus on it shows the emotions that seem to be outside the realm android emotions up to this point. She says she loves him with reference to how she would score high on the Voigt-Kampff test if he were involved. She agrees to kill Pris if he’ll sleep with her. At this point she no longer seems robotic, but instead a passionate and desperate woman giving up her morals to sleep with the man that she wants.
Then the post-coital switch happens. She accuses him of taking advantage of her because she can’t control her desires. He says he’d marry her if he could. Then she says that none of the bounty hunters that she’s slept with have been able to continue with their jobs after sleeping with her.
He’s crestfallen. All of a sudden she’s changed, but I’m not sure I buy it. Speaking about the sex at the hotel, she says she did it for the association, “‘to reach the bounty hunters here and in the Soviet Union. This seemed to work… for reasons which we do not fully understand. Our limitation I guess'”(199). Maybe a reading of this passage is that she is just a great pretender, but I think there is something else going on here, a revelation of the inner feelings of the android. After he goes on to kill the rest of her android friends she pushes his goat off the roof. Like Frankenstein’s monster, Rachael seeks to destroy all the things that Rick loves in order for him to feel her pain. That is the act of a vengeful lover, not a rational robot.
There are two pieces to this narrative that I can’t quite figure out. What is going on with the universal appeal of the alien/android/young girl? And how can you make the claim that androids aren’t as emotionally sophisticated when they seem to have complex emotions welling up and spilling over, especially through the character of Rachael Rosen? There is also the marriage of the two androids, which would be a blog post all in itself. Maybe for another time.
Another Scene with Krieger going on a mission with his co-workers… and his girlfriend.