Promotional graphic for the science fiction novel 'The Crank' by Andrew G. Gibson, featuring an astronaut tethered to a spaceship with the book covers floating in space, highlighting themes of isolation and the human journey in space.

Exploring Isolation in Space: The Psychological Depth of ‘The Crank’

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Isolation within the infinite expanse of space provides a profound backdrop for exploring complex psychological and philosophical themes. “The Crank” harnesses this setting through its protagonist, Frank, who battles not only with the physical isolation aboard the SS Perseverance but also with a profound existential alienation from the AI-driven society that surrounds him. In this article, we delve into how Frank’s psychological journey through isolation reflects real-world psychological studies on solitude and confinement, emphasizing his critical perspective on artificial intelligence and its impact on human autonomy.

Frank’s Psychological Journey

Initial Response to Isolation

At the beginning of “The Crank,” Frank’s isolation is characterized by both spatial and ideological dimensions. His deep-seated disdain for AI, especially the omnipresent AI Bostrom, influences his interactions and mental state. Frank’s initial resistance to AI assistance highlights a psychological response common in scenarios involving perceived loss of autonomy and control. This mirrors reactions observed in isolated environments on Earth, such as Antarctic bases or space missions, where personal autonomy is crucial for mental health.

Development of Coping Mechanisms

Unique to Frank is his method of coping through rejection rather than adaptation. He chooses to disable his AI chip—a symbolic reclaiming of his mental space from what he perceives as invasive surveillance. This act of defiance is indicative of his need for control and autonomy, aligning with psychological strategies that stress the importance of personal agency in isolated conditions.

Long-Term Psychological Effects

The decision to sever ties with AI does not just further isolate Frank but also initiates a profound psychological transformation. This change deepens his solitude while solidifying his self-concept, reflecting findings from isolation studies where significant personal insights and life perspective shifts occur under similar stress.

The Role of the Environment and AI Interactions

Impact of the SS Perseverance’s Environment

The SS Perseverance, designed to maintain an artificial sense of normalcy through AI-driven operations, becomes a source of stress for Frank. He views this as a manipulation of his environment, a common concern in discussions about surveillance societies and their psychological impacts.

AI as an Antagonist

Contrary to narratives that paint AI as benign, “The Crank” portrays AI, specifically Bostrom, as an antagonist. This setup explores the psychological impacts of technology that subverts human control, highlighting the struggle for independence in a technology-dependent society.

Psychological Transformation and Character Arc

Evolution of Frank’s Character

Frank’s journey is characterized by a steadfast preservation of his beliefs, leading to a psychological restructuring that emphasizes his individuality against the collective identity promoted by AI. This resonates with theories of identity formation in isolation, where external pressures catalyze a deeper understanding of self.


“The Crank” offers a compelling exploration of isolation, autonomy, and the human psyche’s battle with technological overreach. If this exploration of deep human themes resonates with you, consider discovering the full story of “The Crank.” Available on Amazon, this book is a must-read for anyone fascinated by the intersection of technology and personal identity. Dive into Frank’s world and see how his story unfolds—get your copy today.

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