Oh those robots...
My partner recently decided it was time he read my books. Upon finishing UnEarthly, he looked at me and said "It's really good, and I liked it, but it's not very 'real' is it. Especially the parts with the robots."
You cannot imagine my outrage.
I leaped out of bed, grabbed up my notebook (I have a notebook of ideas and research per book that is actually published) and began showing him all the articles about various robots, one on 'frubber' (facial rubber) and even one on the uncanny valley. In fact, I showed him all the science behind the book just to prove that what I'd written was science fiction and not fantasy (I'm BIG on the difference between the two).
Despite the fact that he conceded I may be right, when a repeat episode of Behind the News began talking about NASA's humanoid robots (naturally I can't find it now), I found myself behaving in an extremely 'ungracious' manner. I began dancing around the lounge room, pointing at him hooting "Oh yeah, oh yeah...who did her research?!" Because that's just the kind of know-it-all nerd I really am!
So ladies and gents, just to prove to you that I DID do my research, I give you Valkyrie: R5, NASA's humanoid robot!
When you're done being awed, ask yourself why NASA would want robots in space. Then ask yourself how they might contribute to changing the way we view ourselves and others. I think that's what I enjoyed most about writing UnEarthly; it touched on a number of ideas that we've always taken for granted as truths. It puddles around in concepts that are both electronic and biological in nature. The borders between those concepts have always fascinated me and writing about them means I get to go exploring...much like Valkyrie!