In the mid-1970s, a sign at the entrance to a castle near my hometown in the Welsh borderlands asked parents to caution their children about the dangers of jumping from the battlements. This was perfectly understandable. More unusual, perhaps, was the suggestion that the young be reminded that they were not bionic. I had just started school at the time and clearly remember the immense popularity of The Six Million Dollar Man (being the televisual adventures of an American test-pilot who had been reconstructed as a cyborg following a horrific accident). Many of ‘us’ — girls too, for The Bionic Woman followed soon after, providing a suitably ‘feminised’ counterpart to imitate — did not merely own the merchandise relating to the series. ‘Our’ devotion went deeper. ‘We’ wanted to be cyborgs, to leap, run, see, and hear with superhuman prowess. ‘We’ would run bionically around the school yard, singing the theme music, re-enacting favourite scenes from recent episodes.
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