Published in Asimov’s, June 2010.
Virtual reality. Fabbro created an idyllic world and copies of himself to live in it, but the copies eventually began to get ideas of their own, and ambitions. Finally, after rebellions and wars, Fabbro has entered the world he made and Tawus has come to confront him, to justify himself.
“I used to think about you looking in from outside,” he said. “When we had wars, when we were industrializing and getting people off the land, all of those difficult times. I used to imagine you judging me, clucking your tongue, shaking your head. But you try and bring progress to a world without any adverse consequences for anyone. You just try it.”
There is more here than virtual reality. Tawus embodies the contradictions between determinism and free will, between progress and stagnation. This is the retelling of a much older story of creation and rebellion. RECOMMENDED.
Lois Tilton, Locus
- Year’s Best Science fiction # 28, edited by Gardner Dozois
- Esli Magazine (Russian translation) See illustration here.
- Audio version, read by George Hrab on Starship Sofa here.
(Collected in The Peacock Cloak from Newcon Press)