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The Nearest Thing

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The Nearest Thing by Genevieve Valentine is a 2011 short story about a man trying to create Artificial Intelligence.


Mason works for Mori, a company that makes memorial dolls, or rather, life-size life-like robots.  The company markets these dolls to people who have lost a spouse, or other significant person, as a way to keep their deceased loved one close and to help them through the grieving process.

The story gets exciting when Mason starts working on a new model, one that will be able to think and learn on it’s own, to have emotions… or in other words… artificial intelligence.  But as Mason works with his boss, Paul, and Paul’s girlfriend Nadia, he begins to be troubled about his work.  Not so much about what he is doing, but rather who he is working with.


I enjoy stories about artificial intelligence.  This one was a good read because it wasn’t so technical as it was emotional.  It dealt with some of the issues that would come up when trying to spark life into a machine… Is it moral?  Who has the right to give life?  If something is conscious does that mean it is alive?  Is emotion a tangible thing that can be downloaded?  Yet these questions weren’t the bulk of the story.  There was a very interesting triangle between Mason, Paul and Nadia… not a love triangle, more of a personality puzzle that was fun to unravel.  And a surprise ending to wrap things up!


  • Word Count: 8,017
  • Page Count: 26
  • Published: 2011
  • About the Author: Genevieve had her first novel published earlier this year.  Read more about her at her website.
  • Be sure to read the author spotlight at Lightspeed Magazine where Genevieve Valentine answers some questions about this story.  (Spoiler warning!)


You can read The Nearest Thing for free at Lightspeed Magazine.


If you enjoyed this story, you will probably also like Seven Sexy Cowboy Robots by Sandra McDonald.