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In the Loop

| 11.7.05
'In the Loop', by Brian Plante

I never thought I'd be someone's 'fan boy,' but it is quickly starting to look that way when it comes to Brian Plante's short SF. Realizing that this issue of Analog contained one of his stories made me look forward to it even more than usual, and my anticipation was not in vain.

I liked this story even better than Lavender in Love and Dibs, because he dealt sensibly with an issue near and dear to my heart --virtual reality and virtual afterlife.

The premise is this: In the future when those who can afford it die, their brains get scanned into a computer program where they get to live out the rest of their days (until someone stops paying the bill) in a simulated virtual reality where everything is better than reality. The only problem is that people being who they are, they get stuck in ruts or "loops."

Enter our protagonist, Dave (an ironic echo of 2001: a Space Odyssey?) whose job it is to enter virtual reality and interact with the 'spooks' in order to break them out of their ruts. For Dave it starts out as a short term job to pay the bills, but after awhile it begins to raise serious questions for both Dave and the reader about the nature of reality and the 'loops' that even flesh and blood humans get themselves into.

Keep them coming, Brian Plante!

PUBLISHER: Analog Science Fiction and Fact (Astounding); Dell Publishers; ISSN: 10592113 (July/August, 2005)

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