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15 July 2014 @ 05:19 am
Cyber series — Introduction to the Cybermen  
So, here's the first part of the series. It's the first time I do that kind of thing and knowing myself, it'll probably be a bit messy. However, I'll do my best to keep it organized (and entertaining, since I'm not aiming to do something too serious and there's already the TARDIS Data Core for that). Also, as I said in the masterpost, I'll mostly be speaking of the Pete's World Cybermen, which I'll call Lumic Cybermen (as opposed to the Mondasian Cybermen in Classic Who).

So, this first entry will feature basic informations on the Cybermen and some of my thoughts about them. It's a bit longer than what I expected, even more when I did delayed most of the writing because I thought I wouldn't have much to add. I was wrong though; that intro part was just like a paragraph in the original draft and I intended to couple it with some other stuff. It grew into a full part though. Anyway, after speaking so much of this in my last posts I hope you'll like it (and I've love some feedback, discussions are always interesting).

And what's better than Cybermen dancing the Macarena to begin the post?

Cybermen are one of the most iconic villains of the show, along with the Daleks and the Master. They were first introduced in the Tenth Planet, which also saw the First Doctor regenerate. Originally, they were humanoids from Mondas, Earth's twin planet, who underwent cybernetic augmentations and eventually became Cybermen, getting rid of these filthy and useless emotions in the process. Also, they replaced their original method of reproduction by the cyber-conversion process, which allows them to convert other species into fellow Cybermen. Their main goal is to unify the universe by upgrading everyone coming in contact with them, and killing those they can't convert.

In the reboot, we were first introduced to them back in season 2, during Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel. Same principle, just a different origin. I absolutely loved their backstory, simple but still efficient. I loved the 'emotions are a weakness' part and how they fought, i.e. dirty.

One of my first thoughts about them was they'd potential to make such a great counterpart to the Daleks. They hadn't the firepower of a single Dalek of course, but they had the number and all the cunning. Also, in contrast to the Daleks, the Cybermen were 'innocent', in a very sad and frightening way. You know, in one hand you've got the Daleks who kill everyone not Dalek (or other Daleks not Dalek enough) and basically are puddles of hate (and sometimes, fear). The Cybermen though? They don't have that. They don't have emotions.

Oh a pin-striped suit, seems familiar! XD
Anyway, I love the contrast between his expression and the cybermen behind.

So that's one of the conversation between Lumic and one of his Cybermen during Age of Steel:

John Lumic: My everlasting children. Tell me... how does it feel?
Cyberman: We feel nothing.
John Lumic: But in your minds, what do you think?
Cyberman: We think the same. We are uniform.
John Lumic: But you think of what?
Cyberman: We think of the humans. We think of their difference and their pain. They suffer in the skin. They must be upgraded.

And that sums up pretty much everything about them. They aren't malicious. Or rather, their intent and stand about humans (or other species for that matter) isn't malicious. How could they be when they've got no emotions? They've got no moral, not because they're "evil" or "hating", it's just because they can't feel what'd be wrong and what'd be right to do. From their point of view, seeing that they were created by John Lumic's fear and pain, they are the solution. And that's a no-emotion policy. That's how they were programmed, and we can say Lumic did a pretty good job since they never strayed from that path.

Actually, it's a very common trope in dystopias: true equality and perfection can only be achieved by uniformity. As such, emotions are deemed a nuisance to that goal because negativity steers from the fact one can feel. The example I've got in mind right now is Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. In it, every teenager, 'Uglies', once they reach 16, get turned into 'Pretties' by an extreme cosmetic surgery, where they also get brainwashed. Basically, Pretties are all beautiful and perfect, but incredibly stupid and can't think for themselves. Second that comes in mind is Brave New World.

But back to the Cybermen. Their relative 'innocence' excuse neither their acts nor makes them less of a genocidal species and overall sneaky bastards. But that's why they make such a good balance to the Daleks, ones are too full of emotions and the other devoid of them, both are completely monomaniac and megalomaniac. Similar goals, different ways. Daleks want to conquer the universe by destroying everyone else (or enslaving them, depends on the faction and time). Cybermen want to unify the universe by converting everyone else into fellow Cybermen. In the end, they're still the only ones left and there isn't one who's better than the other.

And this is becoming a bit long for an introduction so I'll add a last thing that makes me love the Cybermen. They are made from humans/humanoids, it adds so much more to their spookiness because it's easier to think they could be us in a distant future: not appearance-wise, but the ideology and robot-like thinking (propaganda does make miracles if given enough time and dedication) and they are some people in real life who have similar way of thinking.

click on the banner to get to the masterpost
Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Music: Murray Gold — The Leaf
Ms. Clever: Gleeful Cleveririshvampire13 on July 15th, 2014 03:37 am (UTC)
OMG. *dies* You haven't lived until you've seen the Cybermen doing the Macarena.

Just realizing this now, after reading all you've said: What ultimately makes Mr. Clever so scary is that he's "tainted" by emotions. Whereas pure Cybermen feel nothing whatsoever, he's reveling in the trouble he's causing, which makes him psychotic and sheer evil, rather than simply amoral.
Luo: Clever — Whoops!luorescence on July 15th, 2014 10:44 am (UTC)
Yes, Cybermen dancing the Macarena are the best thing evar. And the one who isn't is such a cutie.

Yes! That's why Mr. Clever is so fascinating. He's amoral not by default but by choice and he literally loves fucking around; the way he says to Clara "You have to die pointlessly and very far from home" was so not Cybermen (amongst all the stuff, that's what really stick with me). Also, that's what the sort of thing so typically Eleven (if he were amoral and completely dark); that reminded me of A Good Man Goes To War, when he completely loses it with the Colonel Run-Away.
Ms. Cleveririshvampire13 on July 15th, 2014 07:25 pm (UTC)
Yeah; it's so intriguing to see one who is quite deliberately and consciously and happily cruel. Terrifying, but...you can't look away from something like that.

Haha! I just noticed the one who wasn't dancing! That's adorable! He's, like, "Okay, knock it off...oh, to Hell with it. Carry on."

Edited at 2014-07-15 07:26 pm (UTC)
     Mandy: Eleven - Mr Clevera_phoenixdragon on July 15th, 2014 04:38 am (UTC)

In context, that was another thing that made Mr Clever so interesting. He was overdosing on the Doctor's emotions, which the Doctor usually keeps wrapped tight. He didn't know that was what he was doing because the whole experience was new. He was so distracted by Shiny!Time!Lord!Brain, he completely missed the emotional download...and by that time he didn't care. He was a kid in a candystore already high on a sugar overdose, lol!!

Luo: Clever — Happyluorescence on July 15th, 2014 11:01 am (UTC)
Oh yes! Mr. Clever is all the Doctor's raw emotions, and no leash to retrain them.

the whole experience was new

And so so shiny. So interesting and hell with the emotions, it's okay, it's for studying the Doctor's brain anyway. Also, Mr. Clever is able to use it as a tool just like how he threatens and tease the Doctor and Clara, manipulates them into doing exactly what he wants.

And that's another different with pure Cybermen, Mr. Clever doesn't deny or refuse emotions, he uses them as a tool better than any other Cybermen could because sharing the Doctor's brain allows him a firsthand knowledge of how they work. He's not against them at all, he sees the potential as much as the dangers: I think he does sort of pick what he's interested in the Doctor's emotions and plays with them, based on all the knowledge of his memory banks and what he's seeing.

(and geez, we already are speaking of him when I didn't even mention his name yet XD)
     Mandy: Eleven - Oh Noa_phoenixdragon on July 15th, 2014 02:02 pm (UTC)
Right?! LOL!! Better get on that - you know how he hates to be left out of the fun *grins*!

This!! This exactly!! He adapted FAST...throwing off centuries of conditioning as he maintained his upper hand. The fact he almost won was rather chilling when you think about it. Considering the speed of the 'upgrades' of the other Cybermen, MC almost outstripped them as he adapted and compensated for a limitation that became an advantage. *LAUGHS*

Luo: Clara — Stories. History.luorescence on July 15th, 2014 02:15 pm (UTC)
Yay, even more when we're talking about his boys and girls! And I'm sure he can't wait for me to get to him. Or he will stuff my head with more Cybermen headcanon to spread their awesomeness... I'm beginning to suspect he wants the Cybermen to overpower the Daleks in my heart (he can always try, he won't).

Maybe it's not the first time he had a host: they were there when the park was still running and there were a lot of disappearance. It wouldn't be surprising he got quite a lot of fun experimenting on the children that sounds wrong in every way possible.

Also, Cyber-Webley wasn't very Cyberman-y either.

"Welcome to Webley's World of Wonders, children. Now presenting delights, delicacies, and death."

And all the irony and fun he seemed to have. Not Cybermen at all. Interesting theory would be that these Cybermen have a partial grasp at using emotions: not necessarily understanding them or feeling them but very good at simulating them. At least for the officers.

Ah, so much fun to have with Cybermen and world building *dances*
     Mandy: Eleven - Thinking Fingera_phoenixdragon on July 15th, 2014 02:34 pm (UTC)
Webley was almost gentle with them, wasn't he? Talk about faulty, fast programming. Whew...

Luo: Cyberman — We can free youluorescence on July 15th, 2014 02:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, and I love how insensible he was to Mr. Clever's bursts of emotions (whereas other Cyberman lieutenants would kinda scold their superior when they strayed a bit too much from the 'emotionless robot' routine). But I really love how in Nightmare in Silver, it's not just being upgraded, Cybermen now look forward to "Welcome you into the Cybermen". These gentlemen.

shivver13shivver13 on July 15th, 2014 04:38 am (UTC)
Nice introduction! I do wish you were discussing the Mondasian Cybermen, but only because I don't know much about them and I'm too lazy to do the research! ;) My husband and I have discussions about whether or not the Cybermen seen in Eleven's run are Lumic Cybermen or Mondasian Cybermen. A few have the "C" on their chests, but most don't.

One thing I would note, though: Daleks are also made from humanoids. They're Kaleds mutated into slimy things by Davros and stuffed into their shells, which has a spookiness all its own.
Luo: Legion — Staring at the horizonluorescence on July 15th, 2014 11:11 am (UTC)
I'll get to speak about them eventually (I've got too much love for research, and anyway, I'll have to for the next parts). Yeah, the question of which sort of Cybermen there is in the Eleven's run is so interesting (I'm thinking of a bit of the two and certainly some that are a mix).

I'd completely forgotten when I wrote the article, but yes, Daleks were humanoid once and even not hate-filled (in the Daleks, they are villains but nothing to their actual cartoonish villainy). They were even pacifist before the war against Thals.
Azzie's corner of madness: Bullshitflowsoffire on July 18th, 2014 01:55 pm (UTC)
Macarena!Cybermen! I can die happy.

(It's hilarious, I'm really reluctant to use that icon for a lot of replies/comments right now because part of me wonders if people will think it's directed at their stuff :D But I want to use it all the time because One and snark!One and because it's perfect.)

Loving all of your thoughts about the Cybermen vs. the Daleks and their unsettlingly candid purpose. And the parallel about propaganda and dystopian societies is exactly right…

Can't wait to see more of this! :D