By Jeffrey M. Anderson
Some science fiction films take us to different worlds or alternate realities, or offer visions of the future. In each of these new worlds, certain new rules apply. Sometimes the rules are pretty simple and can be easily and clearly established, as in Star Trek or District 9. Other times the rules are exceedingly complex and raise a million questions, as in the new Surrogates, which is based on a comic book by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele. In this future world, humans can strap themselves into a chair, plug themselves into a bunch of sensors and have complete control of an artificial being, including movement, speech and senses. This artificial being can then go out into the world to perform daily tasks, while the real person is safe at home, never risking getting hit by a car or falling down a manhole.
From there, things get sticky. A narrator explains to us that 98% of the population uses the surrogates, and later a character says something about a "billion" users. Last time I checked, a billion was only about 20% (or less) of the population. Plus, how much do these surrogates cost? Can all the poor people of the world afford them? We do get to see a few things like a surrogate bringing home food for its owner to eat, and other points in which surrogates freeze up while their owners use the bathroom, but just how do people go about their daily lives? Some of the users look like they're in pretty bad shape, sitting in their chairs. Is using a surrogate physically or emotionally addicting? Do their muscles atrophy? Do they take showers? Do they ever get together to have sex? Has the population gone down because of too much surrogate sex and not enough human sex?
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