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EMSIAC Wars: Re-inserting the Human in Bernard Wolfe’s Limbo

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/11/2020
Issue number3
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)249-267
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Bernard Wolfe’s dystopian satire Limbo (1952) remains a critically under-discussed work, and despite its many controversies, offers important insight into the ethical dilemmas surrounding modern-day drone warfare and human-machine relations. While the EMSIAC war computers in Limbo may be blamed for World War III, they are only ever a scapegoat to shift blame away from the humans who follow orders blindly, and themselves behave much like machines. To this end, this paper will explore the ethical implications of Wolfe’s novel and what it means for the way we wage wars with robotic drones controlled by humans from afar.

Bibliographic note

This is the accepted version of the following article: ‘EMSIAC Wars: Re-inserting the Human in Bernard Wolfe’s Limbo’, which has been published in final form in Extrapolation, vol. 61, no. 3. [doi.org/10.3828/etr.2020.14]. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with the Liverpool University Press Self-Archiving Policy