Prosthetic Gods and Cyberpunk: A Comparative Study of 'Blade Runner 2049' and 'Alita'

Zeenat Shahid, Zara Rizwan


Cyberpunk fiction is a continuation of scientific advancements and technological marvels in science fiction narratives. It talks about a man in a post-human, dystopian era where man is slowly being replaced by Cyborgs and artificial intelligence. Man’s connection with God has always been much debatable in literary fiction. It can either be accepting his deity or it is a revolt against him. In the futuristic setting, when humanity is at stake, man’s connection with God has also changed. Man is at odds with his creator, god as he wants to acquire that supreme position in order to relinquish his desire for control and becoming a powerful demigod.  God’s deity thus can be seen challenged by a post-human man who is armed with technology and unlimited possibilities than before. This concept of replacing God with that of prosthetic Gods has been analyzed in the data taken from two cyberpunk movies. Blade Runner 2049 (2017) and Alita: Battle Angel (2019). In the light of Sigmund Freud’s essay Civilizations and its Discontents (1931), the motives behind man’s becoming a prosthetic God and his psychological fears that lead him towards destruction have been studied in these two selected movies. This article aims at highlighting God as an absent figure in cyberpunk fiction and the adverse effects of man’s uncontrollable ambition or desire for gaining control and power over his fellow human beings. Moreover, it also highlights the manipulation of ultramodern or space-age technology in the hands of humans.


Cyberpunk fiction; Prosthetic Gods; Psychoanalysis; Dystopia; Freud

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