Sunday, November 15, 2009

Paul Carlson's "Mirror Girl" (short story, computer consciousness, free): A young girl grows up in a hurry

Illustration  accompanying the online copy at Abyss and Apex of the short story titled Mirror Girl by Paul CarlsonVery good read, though based on a very old trope. But you probably need a few years experience reading the genre to like it; I know I could not have liked it 3 years ago.

It begins with the feel of a paranoia story of Philip K Dick. But this is not a Dick-type story, going by what little I've read of him.

Story summary.

Desdemona Pringle is a young girl who's began seeing funny discrepancies in her surroundings. Her investigations - direct & discreet - eventually unravel an unthinkable reality...

See also.

Greg Egan's "Crystal Nights" (download), Edward M Lerner's "Calculating Minds" (download), & Gregory Benford's "Reason Not to Publish" all have central (or at least a major) theme rather similar to that in this story.

Plus, of course, there are any number of old stories with similar ideas - Frederik Pohl's "The Tunnel Under the World" immediately comes to mind.

Fact sheet.

First published: Abyss & Apex, #32 (Q4 2009).
Download full text from publisher's site.
Rating: A.
Listed in Rich Horton's "best of 2009" from Abyss & Apex magazine
Added to my "best of the year 2009" list.