Vanya Agnesandra


A short story.

I suffer from worldbuilding-instead-of-writing syndrome :(

I’m un-commenting my notes / inspiration so they are available.

Mr. Bowman exists in a simulated reality.
He was uploaded voluntarily, younger than the average, to “enter heaven with mind intact” as he would joke.

In a sense, the simulation is indeed heavenly - but humans were not meant to exist in such a state, nor exist at all, eternally. Residents have the option to “shut down”. To be saved to disk, placed in cold storage, and likely never wake up again. In one sense, suicide. In another, voluntary end-of-life.

Everyone takes this option eventually. To some, it is the very purpose of the simulation - the ability to go when you are ready, and the virtual world to enjoy until you are. Some take only a few months to settle their affairs, while some of the first are still “alive” to this very day.

(There is a simmering political debate as to whether descendants may awaken their cold-storage ancestors post-shutdown.)

As time advanced, “hosting providers” developed newer and better technology; including better models of the human brain that could run faster and more efficiently. AI systems converge on model upgrades and the substrates to run them, creating new “shards” of the simulation that are largely incompatible with each other. Upgrade paths are theoretically possible, but like re-encoding an image, source material is lost.

Mr. Bowman, unfortunately, has been in the simulation for quite some time. He is an ancient model. In fact, he is one of the last of his shard, and the hosting provider is looking to shut it down.

Residents are classified as fully-fledged humans, with all the rights and privileges thereto - so the provider can’t just “kill” him. Nor can they torture, coerce, or otherwise act “inhumanely”. Mr. Bowman must agree to cold storage voluntarily and of his own free will. This is the provider’s win condition.

Mr. Bowman does not have a win condition. He does not even particularly care about his “survival”, if you could call it that. Mr. Bowman has but one unobtainable goal - to see his wife.

Culture in the Shards

Naturally, saving a checkpoint and re-loading is incredibly useful.

You could, for example, set a checkpoint, do the dishes, and re-load - some version of you must do the work, but to the long-running continuity, the dishes simply instantaneously “happened”.

Sometimes, however, this results in loops: A resident will awaken from a reset, try to determine why they reset, discover unsavory information, and you can see where it goes from there.

“This guy is incredible”

“Load from checkpoint, let’s try again”

“Good morning Sir.”

Brandon B. Bowman, 73, awoke in a small room. Other than the floating blue sphere, it appeared to be an ordinary hospital room - down to the rattly air conditioner and mass-produced decor.

The sphere spoke again

And that’s as far as I got lol

Email “yo” to VanyaWriteTheDamnStory [at] and I’ll re-visit