Technophobia is a phobia that has been around as long as technology has. Cavemen probably feared the new technology of prising up a rock using a stick as a lever. It is human nature to fear the new and unknown and an interesting study has correlated prenatal testosterone levels with technophobia, you can read more about that here.
Technophobia or fear of technology is something many writers successfully use to their advantage. It is basically what set the whole science fiction genre into play. Here are just a few notable novels that played on people’s fear of technology:
Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley still makes some of us cringe but others consider it tame by today’s standards. The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896) by H.G. Wells is along the same lines. Both proved that playing around with nature especially when using new technologies makes for terrifying stuff.
1984 (1949) by George Orwell was not the first dystopian novel to use technology in an antagonistic role but it did it so convincingly.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) by Philip K. Dick was the book that inspired the film Blade Runner. Androids without emotions escaping and assimilating into the human world is a bit scary.
Nobody will probably argue that Stephen King knows phobia best and his novel Cell (2006) had me thinking twice before I picked up my cell phone. “The Pulse,” rewired certain cell phone users brains so that they attacked the humans who had not had their brains rewired.
Technology can be wonderful, social media keeps in contact with other writers through blogs, facebook and twitter. Technology allows me to connect with my family who live very far away through social media, Skype and phone calls. I love technology but I slightly fear it too, especially the stuff that hasn’t been invented yet.
What about you? Are you a technophobe? What is your favourite technophobia inducing novel?