Science fiction short stories and novels.
Published in Interzone, October 2002
(This story is collected in The Turing Test from Elastic Press)
[…] 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; […]
Thanks for letting me know, David, and for the very encouraging review.
Why did she panic and cry? The meaning may have went over my head, can you explain it to me?
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?
Why did people make art work using body parts? Is that a kind of metaphor? What did you try to express?
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.
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.
Thanks very much Phil.
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