Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sim-stim Girls

Since I created this blog, I have yet to do this.

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.
More than anything, I don't want someone to walk away from this story with only what's on the surface--stereotypical depictions of the sexes. I truly believe that people--men and women--are more complex than our most base desires and urges. In our minds, there are legitimate reasons we make the choices we do, including the horrible ones.

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.


CaroleMcDonnell said...

Reminds me of a documentary I saw called "Love me, love my doll" about men and their sex dolls.

Also reminds me of a Voyager episode where the crew created Fair Havens and the captain fine-tuned a man so she could have him be her perfect lover. After years in space, this kinda thing happens.

Personally, I wonder why a guy would fall in love with a sim when there are real people out there. Something in him isn't geared to accepting life as it is, obviously. -C

digable said...

Carole,I think you may have hit on why: perfection. Reality is not perfection. And without getting into the nitty-gritty, sim-stim girls would cater to the person's desires without question.

Also, if my wife died unexpectedly and a sim-stim girl could be programmed with her exact looks, personality and the quirks I came to love, I wouldn't think twice about getting her. I'd have that companionship again without the bereavement.

Nicole Givens Kurtz said...

Hmmmm, I think I agree with Carole too. It seems the main character has grief issues and that totally explains why he creates the sim-stim woman in her likeness. Yet, sometimes people do ugly things, make bad decisions, etc. This is the nature of humanity. However, I don't think it's realistic for real people or characters to be judged solely on some of the decisions they make, but rather for the motivations behind those decisions.

*I hope that makes sense.

Anyway, I'm interested to know more. Sometimes people really are led by those base urges. It doesn't comprise who they are in entirity, but for that sole decision.

Boy, rambled on much longer than I wanted. That's my two cents worth, anyway.

Nicole Givens Kurtz
"The cloak-and-dagger sequences are as good as any episode of "Alias" and certainly as well-written as Tom Clancy or Larry Bond."
--Beverly Forehand, Round Table Reviews

SILENCED:A Cybil Lewis Novel
--a sf hybrid arrives June 2008

digable said...

Thanks for posting, Nicole.

I think I get what you mean, though I do believe we as humans often judge others based on their decisions. Sometimes I think we can't not form our opinions of a person based on what we perceive, especially if that person is at a distance and we'll never get to know them intimately.

Maybe I'll post more about my main character and why he created his sim-stim girl so you can get a better sense of him.