"If you are going to munchkin out in cyberpunk you have to cyber yourself up to the maximum... Some games try to penalize this with the half-hearted penalty of "losing your humanity", a concept that is in no cyberpunk literature and just exists as a feeble attempt to prevent munchkinism."
— The Munchkin's Guide to Powergaming
He's more machine now than man; twisted and evil.
— Obi-Wan Kenobi, Return of the Jedi
No glands, replaced by tech. No digestive system, replaced by tech. No soul...replaced by tech.
— Dr. Mordin Solus, on the Collectors, Mass Effect 2
The cyborg would not recognize the Garden of Eden, it is not made of mud and can not dream of returning to dust.
— Donna Haraway, Cyborg Manifesto
But for analog people like you Mr. Batou, no matter how many digital components you add on through cyberization or prosthetics, your ghost will never diminish!
— Batou's Tachikoma, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
There's no mechanical replacement for a future, Face. And every time I take a hit, and they have to cut away another part of me and replace it with machinery because I'm allergic to bacta, every time that happens I seem to be a little further away from that young doctor who had a future. He can't come back, Face. Not all of him is here anymore.
— Ton Phanan to Garik "Face" Loran, X-Wing: Iron Fist.
The Warrior's bland acronym, MMI, obscures the true horror of this monstrosity. Its inventors promise a new era of genius, but meanwhile unscrupulous power brokers use its forcible installation to violate the sanctity of unwilling human minds. They are creating their own private army of demons.
— Commissioner Pravin Lal, "Report on Human Rights", Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri
I think, and my thoughts cross the barrier into the synapses of the machine - just as the good doctor intended. But what I cannot shake, and what hints at things to come, is that thoughts cross back. In my dreams the sensibility of the machine invades the periphery of my consciousness. Dark. Rigid. Cold. Alien. Evolution is at work here, but just what is evolving remains to be seen.
— Commissioner Pravin Lal, "Man and Machine", ibid.
Every implant exalts you. Every line of code in your subsystems elevates you from your disgusting flesh.
— SHODAN, System Shock 2
Karenin-that-was-not-Karenin cackled from inside his gleaming silver caul with terrible laughter; while somewhere in the deep recesses of what once had been a human heart, there floated and glittered the memory of a woman, a woman he had loved."
— Android Karenina
Albert Einstein said technological progress is like an ax in the hands of a pathological criminal. Took me a while, but I finally see his point. How often have we chased the dream of progress only to see it perverted? More often than not, haven't the machines that we built to improve life shattered the lives of millions? And now we want to turn that dream on ourselves, to fundamentally improve who we are. Experience has shown me how dangerous that can be. [...] Technology offers us strength. Strength enables dominance, and dominance paves the way for abuse. Darrow understood this. He knew that using technology to become something more than we are risks losing our ability to love, aspire, or make moral choices, the very things that make us human.
—Adam Jensen, Deus Ex: Human Revolution Darrow/Anti-Augmentation Ending
...work at remaining human inside. I'm not sure I've managed it all that well, myself. Sometimes, I just sit and stare, forgetting for weeks, Jessamyn, for weeks. I can do almost anything with this improved body, but my mind has gotten blasé about it. When you're superhuman, so little seems worth the bother. You must resist that. You must...
— Dr. Simon Threadneedle, Krokodil Tears
Folks that chop up their healthy body to "improve" it invariably die early. No one with EI or full-body myomer replacements has a nice retirement, if they get one at all.
— Captain Jason Henne, BattleTech
Kouji: If I understood what you were saying before... your brain was mechanized because an accident! You were human but you died! And now with that mechanical brain, someone's controlling you.
Iron Mask: Yes, That's right. It's splendid! I don't consider myself necessary. We carry out all our orders perfectly. Death is what worries you. It'll be easy! I know you're worried! So, please, consider it.
Kouji: Even if you don't need your brain... I will not consider it. Even if it is easy, you hear?! You idiot, such a thing wouldn't even be human!
Everybody let us say goodbye to all our notions,
Cause it's not enough left to say that we're humane when we're left behind,
It's too late to think that we can worship human emotions,
Cause we've already evolved into machines in our minds.
—Röyksopp, Vision One
The process of absorption fascinates... [unclear] one's body might somehow swallow the item, like unto a serpent or the surface of some [viscous?] fluid. Yet it doth seem a mutual [process]. For not only doth the body absorb the [weapon] but also [doth the] weapon, in some strange way, seem to [absorb] the body...[RECORD CORRUPT] as the weapon becomes like unto my flesh, so doth mine flesh... [unclear] like unto the weapon. Indeed, I trace this [stylus] upon mine arm, and the shape and form of the weapon appears under [my touch?]. It doth not appear in mine hand so much as mine hand doth arrange itself so as to become the weapon... [BREAK IN RECORD] capakhity of mine new form to abkhorb weaponsh ish akhtonishing... [unclear] a whole lakhgun! But I do shtart to lokhe zhe shenshation in mine shkin. Mine jawkh are [hardening?] and mine ribkh are protruding from mine [chest]. Zhey are of a dull, metallic sheen and tekhts show zhey are a mix of [bone?] and shome metal I cannot identify... [BREAK IN RECORD] thsi wil be mmmylsat [RECORD CORRUPT] cannnnnnnnnnnot useth esse febel mahcinsse aaaaany log;ner [RECORD CORRUPT] tothe eyeof the larybinht the hearto fthe maichnettttto the pppplaceo f... metalll...
"Artificial enhancements are no substitute for the human soul."
—Cyber Sub-Zero, Mortal Kombat 9
“I decided I wanted to be cheerful, so I had my brain reworked. Now I’m always happy and I love everyone! How does that sound?”
Paul’s sense of human politeness had waned over the many years, and he did not stop the honest answer that came to mind. “Unearned, cheap, and soulless.”
Thrym answered, “I love rude people! And if I ever get tired of this, I can make myself sad, too! But who would ever want to be sad? Actually, I can’t get tired of it. I started to get tired of it once, so I had my brain reworked so now I can’t get tired of it. Ever!” He let out a squeal that sounded at once childlike, orgasmic, and vaguely exhausted.
“I’m happy that you’re happy,” Paul said.
“I’m happy to be happy,” Thrym said, “I think.” He then said, a little more quietly, “How are things on Earth?”
“I haven’t been there in a long time. I’m hoping to go back, soon.”
“Is Callisto boring?” Thrym asked. “I’ve heard it’s boring.”
“I suppose it is,” Paul conceded. “Eppleberg was hardly exciting, either, but I miss it.”
“I’ll go back to visit Earth, some day,” Thrym said. “I’ll need to change my body all around again. This one can’t take the gravity. I... remember the sun shining on the hills. I’ve got perfect memory now, so I remember it perfectly. And it’s like... I want to miss it, but I’m just not built to miss anything any more. Not much, anyway. Maybe I can have my brain reworked to miss things.”
“Then you’d be sad,” Paul said.
“Hey yeah!” Thrym laughed, a little desperately. “That’s no good! I almost made myself sad! Thanks Paul.”
“You’re welcome,” Paul said.
“And there’ll always be time to go back. I don’t get old. I can’t die any more!” Thrym said.
“You will eventually,” Paul said. “Everyone dies eventually. It will just take a lot longer for you, is all. The universe itself is mortal.”
“Really?” Thrym said. “Well I love death. And I love life too! I love everything! I think. Really nice seeing you again!”
It's our human qualities that give us courage, endurance and the power to tell right from wrong!
— Quicksilver, SilverHawks.
It's one of those summer days in Sarn, when the sweat dries on your skin the moment it dares slither from your pores. Lorenzi and I are sipping coffees, iced with cubes from the north. There's a tremor in his voice as announces that he is going to see Malachai tonight, to have a gem implanted in his hand. The palm of his left hand to be exact. Once I have run out of expletives and paused for breath while the waiter wipes spilled coffee from our table, I manage to ask him why. "So that I might have the fastest fingers in the Empire," is his reply. Lorenzi, first violinist of the Sarn Symphonic, and my dear friend, is going to become a Gemling.
Ten days pass and Lorenzi's hand is healed. He plays for me, a piece that he has written during his convalescence, something he will debut this evening in God's Theater. The gem casts a bloody hue over his violin as his fingers fly across the strings. They are an ephemeral blur, too quick for eye or mind to follow. And the music... there's only one experience in my life that compares. The night I had with Marylene before she died.
It has been a month now, and once again Lorenzi and I sip iced coffees in the Perandus Markets. Though we sit only a narrow table apart, Lorenzi is a world away. The nightmares began a couple of weeks back. He toys absently with the vial that I have bought for him from the apothecary, yet I know he won't drink from it. The soothing of his wits will mean the slowing of his fingers. The music is Lorenzi's life, and to Lorenzi, the music and the gem are one and the same.
A year has gone, and the day is once again hot enough to dry the sweat on my skin the moment it dares slither from my pores. I sip an iced coffee and think of Lorenzi. He played last night, in God's Theater. Fleet, furious, and wondrous, he was. We passed in the foyer, and I looked into his grey face, his pale blue eyes. I don't know what he saw, but it wasn't me. I don't know what I saw either, but it wasn't Lorenzi.