Hey everyone, I'm looking for feedback on my first article. Let me know what you think!
I like it, it seems like a good idea. I would suggest maybe tightening up and formalizing the interview section somewhat and maybe figuring out what the machine wants, if anything….
Can you give me some advice on what needs to be tightened up in the experiment section? Are you thinking that the diary/surveillance transcripts or that the daily summaries are the weak part (or both?)
As far as what the machine "wants": while I like to leave lots up to the reader, I don't think the machine (or the simulation) itself is really sentient, it doesn't really "want" anything. It just runs an (anomalous) program which should be beyond its capacity.
However, it's not stated what exactly the simulation is capable of generating - can it simulate sapient life? Does that life have free will and desires of its own, or are they just Sims? That's intentionally left as an exercise to the reader :)
I know this won't mean much, coming from someone new…
But I liked it. I loved the concept, and your writing style shines true, even under the Foundation jargon. It's a great concept that I think can make the Top Rated pages.
It does need a little polishing, but that's typical of all writing anyways. What I'd like to see is a bit more depth, a bit more detail. You've skimmed the surface of the game, its concept, and what it does. It obsesses people, and addicts them, a feeling I can easily understand. But that's all you give us. Is it sentient? What about the game obssesses people the most (so far, the vibe I get tells me the power)? Give it some depth. It's like a puddle right now, pretty but not deep. You need to make this a lake.
Hey, no worries, I'm new too ;)
I'm glad to see that you want more depth, but I'm honestly not sure what to put in it without it being too wordy; it's already fairly long for what it is. In addition, I wanted some of the depth of the story to come from the reader filling in some of the blanks, so I don't want to give it too much exposition.
I didn't intend for the computer itself to be sentient, but a few people have asked that same question. What is giving you the idea that it might be sentient? Maybe it's an idea I could run with :)
I think different people would become obsessed for different reasons (at least in their own minds). This simulation is the perfect game - after a while, the user becomes so proficient at using it, and has so much time to devote to it, that they have the power to make anything they want out of it. The sociopath created a torture sandbox. The researcher is alluded to have created her idea of a paradise. I wanted to allude to the idea that people become obsessed with making the universe "perfect" according to them. They become obsessed with fulfilling their own obsessions.
It might even be that the device doesn't have an anomalous property which actively causes people to be obsessed; since they create it themselves, it might well be just an over the top good game. If some people can starve to death playing Starcraft, I think more people would starve to death playing something "perfect".
Any thoughts on how I could better display that concept?
So, more or less a literal "god game," then?
Haaaaaaaate the final expungement. I'm not going to imagine the story for you, goddamn it.
You may want to be a little more specific about what's going on with the rapid aging.
I'd also advise coming up with a few different ideas and pondering them for a while, instead of going with your first impulse. I don't dislike this, but as it reads right now, it seems a little too obvious. Like, once I'd read the description, all the actual transcripts and experiment logs played out pretty much the way I expected them to. Nothing wrong with that, and a bad twist would be much worse than no twist, but there is a whiff of OTT-thing-that-makes-you-crazy-to-death going on here, and I think it would benefit from the addition of some surprising or at least less-obvious details. Which ones? I don't know.
Thanks for the feedback! I think the story may have left a different impression than what I intended to give, and I'd really like to hear how I can bring it more in line with my idea.
The inspiration for this SCP was a thought experiment that popped into my head a while back: given a computer with infinite processing power and a perfect simulation of the universe, if the simulation were started with the exact parameters of the beginning of our universe and left to run its course, what would it produce?
That's exactly the idea behind the final redaction - there are many possible answers, it's just suggesting that it resulted in one, and I'm asking the reader to think about what it was. I understand that that's not everyone's cup of tea, I'll think about how to tone it down a little. Would it have been less off-putting to you if it ended after the previous journal entry?
I didn't intend for there to be any rapid aging. Each of the subjects who died did so out of self-neglect; specifically, complications from starvation and from prolonged immobility. I did do some research on the symptoms the subjects experienced, but I'm not in the medical field so maybe I've chosen misleading symptoms. What lead you to believe that they were rapidly aging?
If the story left you hoping for a twist or a surprise, I think I missed my mark. I was hoping that the reader would be asking questions to themselves. I think this may go along with the distaste for being asked to imagine the story (again, not everyone's cup of tea), but can you think of a reason you didn't end up asking questions about the virtual universe?
Lots of great feedback, thanks guys! I made a bunch of revisions to the article based on what I heard. I'd love to hear another round of thoughts on the new version :)