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-- Discussion of Chapter 11

"Not bad", said Michael, "but it couldn't have happened."
"I didn't like it at all", said Betty. "Just silly, and I didn't understand all that about Labour Leaders and that man Blimp."
"It could have been a very good chapter", said David, "if you hadn't made us do impossible things. How could we make a robot that talked or sang?"
"Still", I said, "you made no objections when I make you stand on your head and hit six eggs in the air with a gat. Isn't that just as impossible?"
"Of course it isn't", said David. "Chaps like Buffalo Bill could do that, but nobody has ever made a mechanical man that could do things you said they did."
"You might make something like a robot in a dream, though, David", said Betty.
"That", said I, "is a very illuminating thing to say, Betty. In the dream all is possible, and, if in the dream, why not in a story? After all a fairy tale is simply the dream of primitive humanity. You all like Aladdin and his lamp. Why object to Neill and his robots?"
"My point", said David, "is this. Aladdin is a fairy tale and we take it as a fairy tale, but your story could happen in some bits and is like a fairy tale in other bits."
"I agree with David", said Gordon. "Charlie Chaplin is all right in Modern Times, but if you shoved him into a film about being lost at the North Pole it would just be silly."
"What you are saying, Gordon, is that comedy or tragedy should not be combined with farce. I say why not? My robots are just as real as the machines in Wells' film Things to Come."
"Which was a rotten film", said Robert. "No, Neill, you are in the wrong this time, and the sooner you bring the story back to real things the better."
"What do you mean by real things?"
"Oh, gats and gangsters and lions and tigers and thngs. I want the story to be true to life."
"All right", I said, "we'll bring the story back to the realistic."

On to Chapter 12

Discussion of chapter 11 of 'The Last Man Alive' by A. S. Neill. This page is copyrighted.