I tweeted about the BBC article The Rise of the Romantic Robot earlier in the week. I found it to be very pertinent to debates we have been having on the Generation Dead course about the humanised vampire and the sympathetic zombie of YA gothic romance. It also made me think about the question Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It is very hard to make robots sexy and I am not sure being loved by a robot will ever have the same appeal as being adored by a sparkling Godlike vampire. The article discusses whether robots could one day think for themselves and the how this would affect humans’ relationships with them. This is a common subject in science fiction but novelists are increasingly investigating another burning issue: could robots love a human?
I have been wondering if this concept could inspire a new sub genre of Scientific Gothic Romance? Funnier things have happened it was not long ago that Zombies were dismissed as never being able to enter the arena of Romance (‘Zombies are not sexy, romances don’t feature zombies […] zombies are rotting dead flesh who eat brains’ (Gwenda Bond, publisher, 2009). Texts such as Generation Dead and Warm Bodies have completely disproved this theory and shown that the zomb rom com can emerge despite the odds supposedly weighted against it. I wonder if romantic robots could be next? There is something deeply unsettling in loving a robot of course but maybe Robot Rom Com can challenge this in interesting new ways. Loving beyond boundaries has always been part of the appeal of paranormal romance. If our imaginations can persuade us that love is a good disease that can cure even death aka Warm Bodies or convince us that puppets like Pinnochio can become real boys maybe just maybe one day we’ll believe that we can be romanced by a robot that can actually feel love and we’ll like it!