The Turing Test

• October 21st, 2002 • Posted in Short stories

Published in Interzone, October 2002

(This story is collected in The Turing Test from Elastic Press)


  • A.I.s,  edited by Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann,  published by Ace Books 2004.

8 comments on “The Turing Test”

  1. Chris Beckett’s ‘The Turing Test: a guest post on NextRead « Follow the Thread says:

    […] review of ‘The Turing Test’ is here, and you can read the story itself here. While you’re at NextRead, be sure to check out the other Short Story Month posts; […]

  2. Chris says:

    Thanks for letting me know, David, and for the very encouraging review.

  3. Steven says:

    Why did she panic and cry? The meaning may have went over my head, can you explain it to me?

  4. Chris says:

    She suddenly had an awful sense of how very alone we are in the material universe. It’s hard for people to really connect with each other, but it is better to try anyway. Does that make sense?

  5. Sean Xu says:

    Why did people make art work using body parts? Is that a kind of metaphor? What did you try to express?

  6. Chris says:

    Well for one thing, that sort of thing really happens. An artist (I forget his name) has made a cast of his own head made out of his own blood. Another artist (or maybe the same one) has made an art-work out of urine, another used elephant dung. Damien Hurst has made several artworks out of dead animals, and also once crept into a morgue and had a photograph taken of himself with his face next to a severed head. So in part I was just reflecting what is actually already out there.

    But I was also trying to reflect on what that phenomenon means. And I was seeing it as reflecting a sense of alienation: alienation from our own bodies, from one another, from the physical world, each person alone in his or her own mind.

    Hope that helps.

  7. Phil says:

    Hi Chris,

    This is an excellent short story. Subtle, powerful, unnerving and masterfully told. I read it a few years ago, and it stuck with me such that I searched around the net for it again and just reread it. I love how you bring together the themes of alienation, humanity, corporeality, intelligence, companionship, sex, and artificial entities. Very timely, if not prescient. Great job.

  8. Chris says:

    Thanks very much Phil.

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