Of “Surrogates” and sci-fi sex workers

Image by Modern Citizen.

One of my favorite webzines, H+, has two fantastic articles surrounding the upcoming cheesy-looking (but still I’m going to see it) film “Surrogates” and dances with our ongoing fascinations with sci-fi sex workers. “Surrogates” (formerly a graphic novel by Robert Venditti) has been made into a Hollywood film scheduled for release now-ish, with Bruce Willis starring as Agent Greer — a police officer investigating a conspiracy to murder surrogates.To wit:

Never mind your meticulously-tooled, wishful-thinking Second Life avatar — that’s so 2012. In Venditti’s world, only the real Luddite holdouts tool around the meat-space world in their real bodies: Instead, most everybody has a telepresence ticket to ride in artificial bodies called Surrogates, or ‘Surries,’ and it’s unlikely that anybody is what he or she seems. Maybe that blonde hottie club-kitten you’re guiding into the alley for a quickie is really some stubbled, beer-bellied midlifer in Des Moines. Maybe your actual, flesh-and-bone wife hasn’t come out of the ‘bed’room for a face-to-face meal in years because she’s inextricably ego-twined with her own idealized Surrie self.

In Love Thy Surrogate Self? they interview “Surrogates” author Robert Venditti and he describes a deleted scene from his graphic novel where Detective Greer (Willis’s character) requests a “skin job” from a virtual prostitute — that is, real-life body-to-body contact. (Remember a “skin job” was derogatory Blade Runner terminology for humanoid robots, aka replicants.) “The prostitute rebuffs him, offended that he’d think she was that kind of girl.” In the other recommended read, they review “Surrogates” (the comic/graphic novel the film is pulled from) and in Sims of the Flesh we find out that Greer (Willis) plays surrogate sex games with his wife, “… we see Greer’s wife waiting for him at home in her new Surrogate body — a trite, stockinged-sexpot-model from a lingerie catalog. He likes it, and she likes that he likes it…” Later, Greer visits a surrogate sex club called Gandy Land. (“When you’re feeling randy, go Gandy.”)

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