The term "Sleeper" is initially derivative from that of "Sleeper Agent"; an Agent who has infiltrated into a country and 'gone to sleep', sometimes for many years. That is, he or she does nothing to communicate with his or her sponsor or any existing agents, nor to obtain information beyond that in public sources. They can also be referred to as 'deep cover' agents. They acquire jobs and identities—ideally ones which will prove useful in the future—and attempt to blend into everyday life as normal citizens.
Over the years fiction has introduced the idea of the more idealized “Sleeper Agent”, one who is oblivious to the fact they are an agent. This is usually accomplished by some form of mind control often converting a loyal citizen into an unwitting agent. One of the earliest examples of this being Richard Condon's 1959 novel, The Manchurian Candidate.
Eventually the term "Sleeper" came to refer to anyone/thing deliberately made oblivious to its own purpose/nature/loyalties.
In context to an android, this usually means one that thinks it’s human, has a human like personality and may even have false memories. Androids of this type have control programs to ensure they perform their intended functions and/or remain oblivious to their nature regardless of personality, experience or self perception. These control programs might work by subliminally manipulating the sleeper's thoughts, perceptions, and behavior and/or by simply overriding them. They may even have a second "master" personality capable of overriding/manipulating them.
An android that is initially oblivious to it's nature but has neither programing to control it or ensure it remains ignorant would not technically qualify as a sleeper. An android that was accidentally made unaware of it's nature would not qualify as a sleeper.
This situation is not to be confused with gynoids such as Call from Alien: Resurrection, who are aware of their true nature though it may not be revealed to the viewer/reader or other characters.
There is also a variant of the sleepers called nappers. Nappers are both aware and unaware of their status as androids.
- Wendy from The Outer Limits episode "Glitch".
- Rayna from the Star Trek episode "Requiem for Methuselah".
- Dr. Julianna Tayner from the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Inheritance".
- Dragonfly from the movie "CQ.
- Robo-Leela from the Futurama episode "Rebirth".
- Abigail from the web series "Abigail".
- Jane from the short film High Maintenance.
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|Electromechanical||Android • Fembot • Gynoid • Robot|
|Amalgamated||Cyborg • Terminator|
|Biological||Biodroid • Replicant|
|Subsets||Assasindroid • Backup • Built • GINO • Robot maid • Sexbot • Sleeper • Stepford wife • Transformation|
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