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The Software Soul

| 12.8.06
'The Software Soul', by Brian Plante

This was another great short story by Brian Plante, this time dealing with an issue I've been thinking about for awhile --virtual churches.

I've moved around geographically quite a bit during the last ten years, and I've switched churches even more often than I've moved. When I think about what kinds of spiritual communities have truly nurtured my religious quest over the years, on-line communities outnumber bricks and mortar by almost two-to-one.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to actually attend worship on-line? To have some sort of immersive three dimensional virtual reality experience? It would be so convenient, allowing one to transcend purely geographic boundaries. It would allow truly niche church 'markets' to emerge, catering to every whim.

Plante's short story isn't about that, however. He explores the implications of a virtual church left running after all the flesh and blood parishioners have abandoned it. He tells the story from the perspective of a software priest who continues to perform Mass even as he is unaware of events taking place in the outside world. One day attendance starts picking up unexpectedly, including some out-of-this-world visitors.

I won't spoil the ending. Another great short story by Brian Plante!

PUBLISHER: Analog Science Fiction and Fact (Astounding); Dell Publishers; ISSN: 10592113 (July/August, 2006)
SEE ALSO: 'Dibs', 'In the Loop', and 'Lavender In Love'

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