Simulacrum • 2011 • Near SF short story by Ken Liu


Synopsis Paul Larimore invented and perfected a new way of taking pictures: oneiropagida takes “a snapshot of the subject’s mental patterns” which can be projected and interact with the viewer to a certain degree. Of course, porn is the first big seller. Paul is obsessed with this kind of virtual extra-marital affairs, and when his daughter Anna caught him coupling with simulacra, she completely turned away from him.

Review Obsession, memories, forgiveness, and letting go are only a few of the topics that follow the extrapolation of today’s rituals when taking pictures. The story maeanders around the sad relationship of Paul and Anna. Paul has weaknesses but also strengths and I’m sad that Anna doesn’t seem to be able to forgive him, to turn away from him only because of two incidents.

The story feels like more – more variations of persons that Liu could discuss. But sometimes, stories aren’t stretched but compressed which is the case here.

If you want to read more about the background of this story, you might want to consult the excellent author’s spotlight at Lightspeed.


Meta: isfdb. This SF short story was published February 2011 in Lightspeed. I read it as part of The Paper Menagerie. It is also available for free.



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