Parshmen as a variant "robot revolt"

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Sanderson talks here about how one of the things he likes is to take a classic story arc, isolate the essential nature of that arc, and then rebuild it in a different context: Skyward is a "boy and his dragon" story done in a science-fiction setting with starfighters, Bridge 4 is an "underdog sports team" story done in a fantasy war setting, and so on. 

So it occurred to me that the singer awakening in the early Stormlight books has all the hallmarks of a classic "robot uprising" plot arc. At the start of this story, you have this labor force that society has come to depend on. They are completely obedient and harmless, do the jobs nobody else wants to do, are just intelligent enough to take orders and perform complex tasks, and best of all they have no desire for freedom so there is no ethical quandary about using them. And then, suddenly, these obedient servants rise up all at once across society. Infrastructure is thrown into chaos, innocents are butchered at the hands of remorseless killers, and you have to try and defend yourself from enemies that are suddenly everywhere, inside your defenses and ubiquitous throughout your cities. And you know that things will never again be the same, because now that your former servants have developed motives and desires beyond service to you using them as slaves becomes both perilous and unethical.



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Huh, I see where you're coming from with this. I agree that there's some similarity, but I'd never considered it myself, because I've always approached the enslavement of the singers from a conquest/colonialism perspective. My first time reading TWoK, I was pretty disturbed by the presence of parshmen and how no one thought twice about them; characters show more consideration towards their horses than they do to the parshmen tbh.

As for robots in general, there is also a particular RoW plot point that may be relevant to this discussion—but we're not in the spoiler boards so I'll keep quiet :ph34r:


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