Eighth in a monthly series of excerpts from The Book of All Cities.
Unfortunately, the city is real. You wouldn't have set the level of Natural Disasters to High, if you'd known. When the fires raged through town, real children died. You saw only pixels.
At least the game is relatively benign. You set the taxes, you build the highways. The citizens may fear and despise the alien intelligence that rules them, and wonder why. But they know it could be worse. They could be playing Doom.
Copyright © 2001 Benjamin Rosenbaum
Image © 2000 Lee Moyer.
Benjamin Rosenbaum lives in Basel, Switzerland, with his wife and baby daughter, where in addition to scribbling fiction and poetry, he programs in Java (well) and plays rugby (not very well). He attended the Clarion West Writers' Workshop in 2001 (the Sarong-Wearing Clarion). His work has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and Writer Online. His previous appearances in Strange Horizons can be found in our Archive. For more about him, see his Web site.