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Avarya

Turkish animated film (2019). Directed and written by Gökalp Gönen. Voice cast comprises Damla Çay and Sermet Yesil. 20 minutes. Colour.

After seeing Isaac Asimov's Laws of Robotics, we cut to an old man (Yesil) in a Spaceship complaining to his Robot (Çay) that, after travelling for "hundreds or maybe thousands of years", it has rejected the 55 habitable planets they have visited, often for minor reasons; it responds, "As long as your health is at risk, I don't have to obey your orders." The next planet is also found wanting, so he tells the robot to wake him (see Suspended Animation) only when an acceptable one is found. Eventually revived, he is told, "Our mission is complete." All habitable planets in the Galaxy have been visited; none are suitable; the robot admits that even Earth would not have met its standards.

The prospect of spending the rest of his extended life on the spaceship causes the man to shoot himself, only to find he is a repairable Android copy; the real human is stored away, his mind presumably having been copied (see Identity Transfer). He persuades the robot to return to Earth, to see if it has improved (a Disaster causing him to leave is implied). Some humans do survive, but the world is still declared unsuitable. Biting off a finger, the man says his body should be replaced, not repaired, with this damaged one left on Earth: the robot agrees. Now on Earth the man walks towards the six surviving humans ... they are all him. Meanwhile, the robot awakens a new android, and the journey starts once again.

The use of Asimov's Laws (particularly the second) as a snare for humans due to an over-zealous interpretation is a familiar one, but this is an enjoyable variation. The CGI is impressive, particularly the design of the robot.

Gönen, a Turkish freelance animator, has made other sf CGI shorts. His first was the two-minute Güveç (2010), about a round forest creature that accretes into another species (see Parasitism and Symbiosis), swallowing a spherical seed to become a larger version of its original form. Next came the nine-minute Altin Vuruş (2015; vt Golden Shot), where robots, powered by light, dream of a sun. One steals the others' light bulbs, their source of power, to create a sun: it rises, the extra energy enabling the robots to use their wings – they fly towards it, but it splutters and fails, and they fall to the ground (see Metaphysics). Lal (2020), running for fifteen minutes, is about a creature "born from a word out of nothing".

Avarya, Lal and Altin Vuruş all won film festival awards, the last winning several. Gönen's films are visually imaginative and thoughtful. [SP]

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Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 23:44 pm on 29 June 2022.
<https://sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/avarya>