Depending on the reaction I get (please feel free to submit honest, candid and even angry comments), and how it helps me write, I may post more comments about works-in-progress.
I haven't done so until now due to superstitious reasons, but if this aids the writing process, then I'm all for it.
For those of you that don't know (which is pretty much everyone reading this), I've been working on a collection of related science fiction short stories set (for the most part) in the Chicagoland area and the near future. I don't want to say more than that since it's a WIP, but I will add "Eyes," recently published in Creative Brother's #10, kicks off the loosely linear stories.
So here's the difficulty I've had while writing the series. One of my characters has created a sim-stim girl. Anyone who has read William Gibson knows the concept is not new, but my twist is, under certain circumstances, sim-stim girls can become corporeal--which means they are also able to have sex.
Now, the main character creates the sim-stim girl exactly in his girlfriend's image because his girlfriend dies unexpectedly. He loved her, misses her and can't live without her. Initially, the sim-stim girl has no corporeality, but realizing intimacy involves touch, the main character adds that feature to her programming.
I've given a scientific explanation for this--though whether or not it's believable is another matter. We'll see. Soon after adding the new feature, the main character refuses to give into his sexual urges. He convinces himself he's content to cuddle with his sim-stim girl and do no more. He's just happy to have his girlfriend again, even if she's only form and not substance.
Eventually, his urges are too strong to ignore, but before he succumbs to them he removes the programming that allows her corporeality. He does this because he and his girlfriend were the type of couple that had sex once a month rather than everyday, his girlfriend was a bit of a prude, and he wants to accurately represent the relationship he had with her when she was alive.
But what disturbs the main character about all of this is knowing he would take full advantage of his sim-stim girl and her programming. No matter how much she protested. However, after weeks of frustration and anger--most of it directed at himself, but eventually projected towards his sim-stim girl--the main character restores the programming.
I won't say what happens next, but the character slips into an ugliness that is difficult to write. For a few reasons:
- The main character is depicted in a negative way.
- The sim-stim girl is depected in a negative way.
- As a result, both men and women in general are depicted in stereotypical and negative ways.
This is not to say people should be excused or exonerated for the bad choices they make and the heinous acts they commit. Sometimes we just need to know why people do what they do.
That's the crux of social sci fi.