Brief thoughts on Simulacron-3

Thursday May 17, 2012

Daniel F. Galouye

I finally FINALLY got a chance to read Simulacron-3 after my request went through. It only took a few years!

This book is the basis for, among other things, the movie The Thirteenth Floor. It's arguably also the inspiration for The Matrix and a lot of related thinking. I'd be curious to know if there are proper antecedents to Simulacron-3, beyond abstract philosophers.

It's interesting reading a book from 1964. The basic idea of simulating a whole world is pretty interesting and modern-feeling, but the gender roles are archaic and computers are basically imagined as bigger versions of that era's, with physical components that you change like a lightbulb and programming basically by wire. And of course there are moving sidewalks everywhere, because that's what we do in the future.

Two quotes to pull out:

"You can hardly stuff people into a machine without starting to wonder about the basic nature of both machines and people." (p. 24, and repeated again later)

"For self-awareness is the only true measure of existence!" (p. 140)

Interesting that the characters care so little for the people in the simulation within a simulation, when they're so concerned about the people in the first simulation... But I am glad I finally encountered this book in person.

This post was originally hosted elsewhere.