Science Fiction Film & Television

Information feedback loops and two tales of the posthuman in Forbidden Planet

Science Fiction Film & Television (2010), 3, (1), 19–35.

Abstract

This essay focuses upon an aspect of Forbidden Planet (1956) that has gone largely unexamined in the critical literature, how the circulation of unconscious forces and return of the repressed within the film is driven by a network of information feedback loops circulating through its fictional technologies and beneath its ostensible psychoanalytic narrative. In contrast to the figure of Robby the Robot, whose homeostatic feedback loops project fantasies of the management of social and psychological equilibrium through the expansion of information systems, the Id monster is both the product and productive of reflexive feedback loops which destabilize the boundaries of subjectivity, in terms of characters both becoming cyborg and merging with non-human animals. In this sense, Forbidden Planet generates a dialogue between what would only decades later become thematised as the technological and species posthuman.

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Author details

Fisher, Kevin