2005 short story loosely about P-zombies

by Airedale1 min read24th Nov 20103 comments


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I thought some of you might enjoy this 2005 story published in Asimov's:

Second Person, Present Tense by Daryl Gregory (plus some of the author's notes on the story)

The story involves a a drug that (for a period of time) turns someone into a P-zombie.

It's currently available for free on the Asimov's page, but it may only be there temporarily.

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A neatly written story. After the immediate setup, the thing that struck me most as unusual and intriguing is that the author assumes a qualitative difference between, on the one hand, "having access" to your memories and experience (and your other brain function) and, on the other hand, really having that experience be a "part of" you, helping to construct your personality. I'm not sure that difference makes any sense at all, but it fits with the picture he paints of a mind that is just composed of little actors with internal structure, one of the actors being your "self."

Gregory's version of consciousness seems to be pretty causally important to me. After all, when your consciousness changes, you act like a totally different person!

So the story doesn't end up being about p-zombies, but is still pretty interesting. Or, perhaps, is interesting because it's not about p-zombies.

This story is not so much about p-zombies as about death and birth of subagents.