The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang
This is the longest work of Ted Chiang's who is a really good short story writer, who has yet to write a novel.
Digital pets have gone through several iterations of popularity. This book speculates about digital pets with superior learning algorithms in a very comprehensive virtual world. Their growth and questioning feels much like interactions with a baby, but these pets don't need to be fed and can be turned off at any time.
The lifecycle of this particular brand of digital pets is much like that of any other product it rises and it falls. The heart-wrenching part of this process though is that you start to feel that these pets are children to be taken care of. When they get turned off, it feels like they're being killed.
I feel that this had the potential to be an absolutely fantastic full length novel. As a novella it was still really good, but the end felt somewhat short-changed.
Star Rating: 4.0/5.0
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