We’re raising $20,000 to pay our authors and other upfront costs of this book, which will be published by Twelfth Planet Press alongside such previous fantastic publications as Kaleidoscope, and Defying Doomsday.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about fictional robots (and megalomaniacal talking super computers), and who actually designs those robots, in the stories. In Doctor Who as much as the rest of pop culture, there are a lot more Professor Kettlewells than there are Madame Lamias.
Doctor Who is full of vivid stories of women interacting with robots, cyborgs and AI gone bad — think of the little girl from Remembrance of the Daleks, or Tomb of the Cybermen which not only gives us the villainous Kaftan, but features the iconic moment of Victoria Waterfield placing a Cybermat in her handbag. In New Who (we’re still separating them, right? Even though “new” refers to a span of 12 years? Ok good), we had Miss Hartigan & the Cybermen, or the brilliant Oswin interacting close enough with the Daleks to hack their systems from the inside…
But it is rare we get to see Woman As Robotics Engineer, in Doctor Who as well as SF generally. Hence: Our Book. Do women build robots differently to men? Do they want something different from artificial intelligences than male creators do? What gender are computers anyway?
I wanted to make you a list of my favourite artificial intelligences in Doctor Who, and then I realised that most of them were from the Tom Baker era. Like, almost ALL of them. So I decided to lean into the nostalgia instead of, as I usually do, running away from it.
TANSY’S TEN FAVOURITE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCES:
The Tom Baker Edition.
In reverse order, for the sake of the dramah. Be aware that the text of many of these answers will be spoilery for the episode listed in the title so if you haven’t seen it, read at own risk!