Daddy’s World • 1999 • Posthuman novelette by Walter Jon Williams

★★★+

Synopsis: Jamie is a boy growing up in a Disneyworld like environment where fun things like the Whirlikins talk to him. He enjoys exploring this eerily perfect, safe world and his dinner time with mommy, daddy and his sister Becky before he is sung into sleep by the Woman in the Moon. Only later he cracks begin to appear in his “normal family life” and he realizes that his younger sister suddenly is becoming ever older than him and reveals more to him than she’s supposed to: She confronts him with the fact that he lives in a virtual simulation engineered by his father in obsession over his son’s death.

Review: Perfection certainly has its prize. The narration’s style fit the topic extremely well, and I liked the different, sugary taste of it, though I couldn’t say that I would want many more stories like it. Style and tone changed completely around halfway through when the cracks began to unfold. The story is disturbing, but not in a horrific way – it reflects on generation gaps, escapes into virtual reality, and the ever lasting question of reality itself.

Meta: isfdb. It’s available online at Clarkesworld. It won the Nebula award.

 

 

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