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As regards cyborg identity, the texts analysed in this article--whether deliberately or otherwise--display an investment in sexed bodies and gender roles, and the ways in which both physical sexual characteristics and socially inscribed masculine and feminine behaviours are imposed onto cyborg figures in a form of essentialist normalisation.
(7) Significantly, despite frequent overt attempts to reinforce gender binaries as an inevitable, "natural" principle of human identity (and thus by extension cyborg identity), the sexing and gendering of cyborgs also serves to underscore the constructed and arbitrary nature of gender roles, sexual orientation and sex.
This denial of the female capacity for creation feeds readily into a common topos that permeates science fiction from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein on: autarkical fantasies indulged by the (male) scientist as "creator" or "demiurge," "che costruisce gli uomini artificiali per dimostrare che pub fare a meno di Dio" (Caronia, Il corpo virtuale 27).
The best known precedent for expressions of this desire in Italian literature is found in Marinetti's Mafarka il futurista (1910).
A key question here is why this might be so in an Italian context; why do even recent texts resonate so strongly with the supplanted authority of Lombroso, for example?
I explore the sexual draw of machines whose status hovers on the shifting boundaries that psychoanalysis has drawn between conscious and unconscious, ego and id, and which inhabit the unheimlich overlap of self and other.
Many of the sexed and gendered tensions that mark more contemporary conceptions of libidinal relationships with technology are clearly evident in the writings of the Futurists.
As a guide to subsequent observations, and in an effort to further contextualize my remarks in relation to existing and ongoing intellectual debate, I preface my considerations of the selected texts with a brief outline of the approaches to sex, gender, and the erotics of technology that inform this article.
Sex and Gender: Eroticising Technology My principal concern is our often erotically charged relationship with technology, especially in relation to sexual dynamics between biological human and cyborg beings.
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I have chosen the texts under consideration because they allow me to compare diachronically a series of male perspectives on the sexing, gendering, and eroticization of both male and female cyborgs, sexual interaction with cyborg figures and narrative dramatisations of both the mind/body split and fusion with technology.