Daniel Dinello | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Daniel Dinello


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At least Dr. Frankenstein knew when to stop, writes Columbia College film studies professor Daniel Dinello in his new book, Technophobia: Science Fiction Visions of Posthuman Technology (University of Texas Press). The good doctor made one monster, but in the end he refused to create a mate, sparing the world their ghastly progeny. Dinello sees Mary Shelley's 1818 tale as the first in an ongoing series of science-fictional warnings against the disastrous potential of scientific knowledge run amok. It's an optimistic take compared to the "surrealistic world of biological chaos" conjured by Margaret Atwood in Oryx and Crake, in which the closest thing to fun is the gene-spliced mice that become addicted to the insulation on electric wiring and set Cleveland on fire. Science fiction only appears to be escapist fantasy, argues Dinello. With the noteworthy exception of Isaac Asimov's relatively benign robots, the genre has for years used monsters, zombies, robots, cyborgs, viruses, virtual reality, and clones to deliver a valuable antiscience message: resist human-altering technologies or suffer the totalitarian consequences! Dinello will discuss Technophobia and screen clips from sci-fi films as well as his own award-winning short film, Shock Asylum, starring Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report) and his nephew Paul Dinello (Strangers With Candy). Thu 3/2, 6 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-344-7383.

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