Prosthetics in fiction

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Prosthetics, the artificial replacement of organic limbs or organs, often play a role in fiction, particularly science fiction, as either plot points or to give a character a beyond normal appearance. Numerous works of literature, television, and films feature characters who have prosthetics attached.

Prosthetics are used, in a narrative sense, to either, provide a plot point in the characters back-story, a plot point to give to character a disability (or more often in Science fiction, an advantage), or just to distinguish the character in some way. Having a character in a story with a prostheses, can sometimes be the whole point of the story (e.g. Robocop is a full-body cyborg of police officer Alex Murphy, in essence he is a human/robot police officer, which is the basic premise for the film).

Prosthetic is an adjective. It should be Prostheses.

Science fiction characters[edit]

Science fiction literature, television, and films often feature characters with prosthetics.

Star Trek[edit]

  • Geordi La Forge - Blind from birth, La Forge received prosthetics that allowed him to see. During the television series and Star Trek Generations, he had bio-implants along with an external VISOR prosthetic.
  • Jean-Luc Picard - Early in his career, Picard was stabbed through the heart during a fight. His heart, beyond repair, was replaced by an artificial heart. At the end of the third season, Picard was abducted and assimilated by the Borg. The Borg attached numerous prosthetics to Captain Picard against his will.
  • Seven of Nine - Originally a young human female known as Annika Hansen, she and her parents were captured by the Borg when Annika was six. She was also assimilated into the Borg Collective, where numerous prosthetics were attached to her.
  • Nog - the Ferengi Ensign, the first of his kind in Starfleet, lost his leg during hostilities with the Dominion; an artificial leg was later installed and Nog had a prolonged psychological recovery.

Star Wars[edit]

  • Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader - Anakin Skywalker lost his right arm during the Battle of Geonosis when he dueled with Count Dooku. Afterwards, he received a replacement arm and hand. After becoming Darth Vader, Vader fought with Obi-Wan Kenobi which resulted in his losing both legs and his other arm. He also suffered severe burns in the aftermath of the battle - his lungs, and ear drums were seriously damaged. Vader was forced to wear a breathing mask and monitor to compensate for his heavily damaged lungs, and was fitted with prosthetic limbs to replace those lost. His right hand was cut off again in Return of the Jedi.
  • Luke Skywalker - Anakin's son Luke Skywalker would lose his right hand as well when he dueled Darth Vader at Cloud City. Luke was rescued by his friends, and was then fitted with a prosthetic hand.
  • General Grievous - Formerly a Kaleesh general, he was severely wounded in a shuttle bombing. He was later reconstructed by the Intergalactic Banking Clan as a cyborg, with his only organic remains encased inside a synthflesh sack within his durasteel skeleton.

Babylon 5[edit]

  • G'Kar - While being held by Centauri forces, G'Kar lost his left eye after a Centauri guard cut it out. After being freed by Londo Mollari in the wake of the insane Emperor Cartagia's death, G'Kar was fitted with a replacement eye by Dr. Franklin. Initially, he had a human blue eye, this was later replaced with a red eye that looked like a natural Narn eye.

RoboCop[edit]

  • In the first RoboCop film, Detroit police officer Alex Murphy was shot numerous times by a group of criminals and mortally wounded. His body was taken by OCP scientists - who then took his brain, eyes, peripheral nervous system and possibly other portions of his body and installed them inside an artificial, titanium-armored humanoid body. As intended, he became the cyborg Robocop.
  • In the second film, criminal leader and drug addict Kane underwent a similar treatment; he became the hulking and nearly indestructible Robocop II, but was still psychotic and addicted to the drug Nuke.

Kingsman: The Secret Service[edit]

  • In the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service, Gazelle, the assistant and right-hand of Richmond Valentine has a pair of blade-equipped prosthetic legs that she uses that dispatch her enemies.

Other fiction[edit]

In Homestuck, Vriska Serket loses her eye and arm in an explosion. She receives a robotic arm from Equius Zahhak to replace it.

In Evil Dead, the main character Ash Williams has a chainsaw hand and later receives a robot hand in Army of Darkness.

In the myriad of Peter Pan stories and franchises, Captain Hook has a hook replacing his right hand which was eaten by a crocodile.

In Flannery O'Connor's story "Good Country People", the character Joy Hopewell/Hulga had her leg blasted off in a childhood hunting accidents and used a wooden leg instead that becomes important to the plot.

In The Fugitive television series and subsequent film, the fugitive Dr. Richard Kimble searches for the one armed man who killed his wife. In the film version, the one armed man also received a transplant - who was played by Andreas Katsulas. As a result, this would be another role in addition to his Babylon 5 role in which he received a prosthetic device.

In the novel Moby-Dick, as well as various productions based on the novel, Captain Ahab is a man who loses one of his legs to the great sperm whale Moby Dick. After losing his leg, a replacement of sorts is fashioned. This `wooden leg´, actually carved out of whalebone, allowed him to walk with minimal difficulty. The loss of this leg would fuel Ahab's obsession with Moby Dick, which cost him his ship, crew, and his life.

Mister Ming, the main antagonist of the Bob Morane books, has a robotic prosthesis instead of his right hand, which was lost during an attempt to steal a booby trapped gemstone.

In the Manga/Anime Ghost in the Shell, people who have had their bodies damaged or people who can simply afford it have their normal bodies replaced with a full prosthetic replacement. The main character, Motoko Kusanagi, is fully prosthetic. The Manga/Anime Galaxy Express 999 also features an array of main characters who have sacrificed their human bodies in order to occupy prosthetic machine bodies in order to become immortal. The 2011 video game Deus Ex: Human Revolution likewise centers around a future in which prosthetics have become commonplace.

The television series The Six Million Dollar Man and its spinoff The Bionic Woman both featured main characters whose replacement parts gave them abilities above those of normal people.

In the Harry Potter novel series, Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody has an artificial eye (able to see through solids) and a wooden leg to compensate for wounds he received during his career as an Auror. Wormtail, Voldemort's assistant, also receives a replacement hand.

In the first-person shooter computer game Half-Life 2, Dr. Eli Vance uses a prosthetic leg after losing his own leg below the knee helping his colleague Dr. Isaac Kleiner over a wall while escaping Black Mesa in the original "Half Life" game.

The character Rotwang from the film Metropolis has a black mechanical right hand after losing it for unknown reasons. Because Rotwang is an early "mad scientist" archetype, it is believed that this influenced other characters, such as Dr. Julius No (who, in the novel, had jointed metal claws; in the movie, however, he possessed actual artificial hands).

In the Akira manga and anime Tetsuo Shima, one of the main characters, loses his right arm and has it replaced by a mechanical limb. In the anime he's seen assembling the arm from pieces of junk using his supernatural powers, while in the manga the origin of the mechanical arm is unknown.

A running gag in the film Hot Shots! and its sequel is Lloyd Bridges's character, Thomas 'Tug' Bensen, featuring various prosthetics that replace parts he had lost in earlier battles. These prosthetics include; ceramic eyes, asbestos skin, a magnetic skull plate, aluminum siding facial bones, and stainless steel ear canals.

In the novel The Horse Whisperer (and the film of the same name), Grace MacLean loses part of her right leg when she is involved in a horseback riding accident, and struck by a large truck. She gets a prosthetic leg, and learns how to walk on it and ride again.

The character Peeta Mellark from "The Hunger Games" loses his left leg at the end of the novel, after surviving a bad wound and blood poisoning. However, when he is attacked by one of the Mutts, the wound is bad enough that it later causes the leg to be amputated by the capitol. He is given a replacement prosthetic leg.

In the Anime/Manga Black Butler, some of the members of the Noah's Ark Circus have prosthetic limbs. These people are Joker (Right hand), Beast (Left leg) and Dagger (Right leg). However, it is revealed that these limbs are in fact made from human bone. Also, Joker's prosthetic hand is shaped to look skeletal.

In the Anime/Manga Full Metal Alchemist, the main protagonist Edward Elric loses his left leg in a failed attempt to resurrect his mother Trisha Elric through the use of human transmutation, a forbidden practice in alchemy, while his brother Alphonse Elric lost his whole body in the process. He then successfully used human transmutation once again to bind the soul of his brother to a suit of armor, losing his right arm in the process. Later he replaced the missing limbs with prosthetic limbs known as automail, which are robotic appendages that are connected to the very nerves in the human body, granting the user the ability to use them just as they would with their actual limbs.

In the How to Train Your Dragon film series, the main character, Hiccup, walks using a prosthetic foot after losing his left foot during a battle at the end of the first film.

In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain the video game main character Punished "Venom" Snake is outfitted with a prosthetic Bionic Arm after a helicopter crash. Later in the game upgrades for the arm can be developed giving it the ability to fly like a missile as a "Rocket Punch", stun enemy's with an electrical shock, or grab an enemy from far away with electromagnetic probes.

In A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, Jaime Lannister gets captured and maimed by the Brave Companions, a swellsword company, and loses his right hand, his sword hand. Being the best sword fighter in the Seven Kingdoms the loss of his hand means he loses more than just his hand. He has to re-invent himself. Back in Kings Landing with his family, he gets a prosthetic hand made of pure gold.

In the TV show ER, Dr. Romano has his arm amputated in Season 9 and in Season 10 receives a robotic arm.

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