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Virtual Girl

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  18 reviews
In an illegal experiment, Arnold develops his perfect companion--a robot named Maggie. She's everything he ever wanted in a woman, but when they become separated, Maggie learns more about people and herself than Arnold planned. Soon she must decide if she's just a collection of microchips, or a person in her own right.
Paperback, 248 pages
Published August 1st 1993 by Ace
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3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  133 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Jan 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Maggie is a sentient being, a product of a virtual reality program that is extremely illegal in the near future. Arnold, her creator, and Maggie get separated during a violent incident and Maggie is forced to fend for herself and learn what it is to be her own person.

A light, fun read.
Michelle Wardhaugh
A fairly involving story with mostly likable and varied characters, it got better when it left its Pygmalion plot behind and started wandering on its journey of self discovery, literally and figuratively. It had some points to make along the way about humanity and compassion, but a few got lost in the clumsiness of the whole creator/creation relations. The creator started out as a nicely rounded character, but he became more of a cipher in the end and seemed less human than his creation. The inf ...more
Jonathan Scotese
This book is about Maggie, the first android built. No one has done it before, in part because Building AI's has been made illegal. She was made to be an innocent and caring companion; she is built intentionally to be naive and unworldly.

I worry I got defensive over a message I imagined and it has prevented me from judging this book accurately.

The message in this book seems to me to be white people are corrupted by privilege and prejudice, while minorities are virtuous victims of society. The ch
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is a book that I wish I could say I enjoyed more than I did. Written in 1993, it's difficult to delve into now because the basic plot has been covered several times in the intervening years, primarily in film: Her, A.I., and Ex Machina (among others) all cover very similar territory.

We get the lone, introverted genius designing his "ideal woman," Maggie (inevitably reminiscent of Pygmalion); her slow progression through understanding her own consciousness and embodied existence; her inevit
Circa Girl
I sought Virtual Girl out after seeing it listed on a top list for AI fiction. The plot setup sounded like a feminist parable and Arnold's messed up perspective on women and their loss of "innocence" certainly seemed to lean in the direction of Maggie overriding her original creator's intent and finding agency. It does eventually go that way but it drags out the climatic decision and rising action so that by the time she wakes up to what she is losing by depending on Arnold the book is basically ...more
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love old sci fi. In this the future is 2018, and AIs are illegal. But there's no wifi, no mobile phones, and there are still public phone booths.

That aside this is a fun book. It's a classic tale of a doll who wants to live, so much so that it directly references The Velveteen Rabbit. Throw in some hobo adventures and her making friends with queer prostitutes and you've got a ripper of a yarn.
Doug Farren
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a very different take on how a self-aware program might deal with the human world. There are a few explicit sexual scenes so this book is definitely not for the young crowd. There are a few oddities concerning how a computer program might 'feel' as it probes a network. Overall though, this was a good book.
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Virtual Girl by Amy Thomson was an enjoyable read on many different levels: literary theory, the way the book was written (narratology), and the exploration of Maggie’s role in society. I definitely enjoyed the second half of the novel more when Maggie was able to grow into her character and develop her own sense of the world. While I see many parallels between programming and socialization, her exploration of the world provided Maggie with the opportunity to become her own three dimensional cha ...more
Hanka Toulavá
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Utlá scifi knížka, kdy se dozvíte mnoho o tom jaké to je mít vlastní vědomí. Od prvních krůčku hlavní hrdinky po její učení se jak zpracovávat informace. Celé to má mnoho krásných paralel s lidskou psychikou. A navíc napsané je to tak, že vás příběh pohltí a nepustí. S hlavní hrdinkou jsem se divila, smála i byla nešťastná.
I read this years ago, but it's a story that has stuck with me despite being mediocre. I thought that the majority of the characters were flat and the plot was OK.There was some sex that I thought was rather pointless and didn't add anything to the story line... but I can't say much other than that, since it's been at least a decade since I read it.
Jan 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
If it was possible to give this book a negative star rating, I would be inclined to give it negative a million, billion stars. One of the worst stories I have ever read. Just.... mind-numbingly pointless.
Jul 28, 2009 rated it did not like it
AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL. A travesty. Who let this one out of the publishing house?
Masayuki Arai
Feb 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Turing passes the Turing test lol
Oct 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm a sucker for a hot robot babe anyday, but this was a good story too.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Oct 04, 2011 marked it as maybe-read-sometime
Recommended to Snail in Danger (Sid) by: Jo Walton's Hugos retrospective series on
It just wasn't working for me. The cover was slightly off-putting, I think. Wish I could remember what it's an homage to. Marilyn Monroe? I think that's nor right, though.
Apr 30, 2013 rated it liked it
At times an interesting exploration of an AI acquiring sentience and societal function; unfortunately, a plot often less interesting, with seriously large technological holes.
Dec 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
An interesting approach to the concept of artificial intelligence.
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Kyle Altemara
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Jan 15, 2011
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Oct 26, 2016
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Mar 14, 2015
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Oct 21, 2014
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Nov 18, 2008
Mei Dean Favela
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Jan 02, 2016
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Feb 24, 2012
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Jan 07, 2014
Dan Herman
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Feb 06, 2017
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Amy Thompson is an American science fiction writer. In 1994 she won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Most of her work is considered hard science fiction and contains feminist and environmental themes.
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