I read a short story in 2012 that I found online in a PDF form. At the time, I was Googling Luddites, looking up information about Ray Kurzweil, and somehow came across books about computers in life/futurism. This may have been something I found through StumbleUpon.

Here is what I remember:

  • The main character was a man.

  • He found his wife/girlfriend based on a computer calculating all the possible matches for him.

  • At multiple times throughout the story (3 or 4 I believe), the man suddenly "feels something"—which I took to be he could tell that he had a feeling that there was something more to his life, but then the feeling fades. Essentially, his whole life is being calculated and planned—as though all his choices and life is turned over to the computer that he uses and probability.

  • The main theme was that the computer has indirect control/influence on the man's life and that the origins of his "feeling something" was his realization that he wasn't really living for himself and that he had regained some minimal and fleeting control of his life.

  • There were no aliens, no other planets involved, and a lot of the content was quite familiar to us in the second decade of the 21st century (in fact, I think a year was referenced in the story between 2020 and 2070).

Here is what remains cloudy in my memory (as in I could be wrong):

  • I don't think the computer had a name.

  • I'm fairly certain the author was male.

  • I think the main character had an occupation as a programmer or other technology-related job.

  • Much of the content/plot involved the computer's influence on the man's life via calculating parts of his life or somehow majorly influencing it (passively and actively).

  • The short story, based on content and my time of reading, must have been published after the year 2000; I say this because the content seemed to have social networking in mind.

  • I don't remember whether the short story was a standalone in the PDF or whether it was part of a collection of short stories. My untrustworthy memory leans more towards the story being standalone (as in, it was a PDF of just the story and nothing else).

I've Googled this for hours on end without luck, but will update my post if I find leads or remember more. I also went through my StumbleUpon history because I thought I might have come across it that way, but no luck there.

  • I was just about to ask about a very similar story - Do you remember if in this story the main character had asked for his computer to have an "off function" something that had never been requested by anyone else?
    – Drifter104
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 17:50
  • I do not remember well enough to say whether that was in the story. Since my original posting in November, I've spent many hours searching for this story, but still no luck or leads. However, it is possible we are talking about the same story and so if you have more details to share (or can direct me to your post if you intend to make it, it could help in this search as I'd have more terms to search on). I did try including the "off function" in my searches but haven't gotten any farther in ID'ing this story. Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 17:34
  • possibly the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/149589/…
    – Otis
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 0:05
  • I won't post this as an answer since you say it was written after 2k, but it sounds like Asimov's True Love. A guy runs a computer, Multivac, to find him an ideal match, by filtering multiple criteria. After he finds the one, he asks Multivac to arrange for the girl to work at the same facility as him. But the computer has his own plans, reporting the guy for misuse of stuff, and proceeds on to have the girl for himself. Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 7:24

1 Answer 1


Sounds similar to the story "Realtime Interrupt" by James Hogan, where odd occurrences make the main character realize he is in a reality simulation.

Joe Corrigan awakens in a hospital to find that his life no longer exists. As director of the supersecret Oz Project, his job was to create a computerized environment virtually indistinguishable from reality. Oz failed. Now Joe, left alone to pick up the pieces of his shattered life, Joe finds himself in an unfamiliar world–a world where nothing is quite as it should be. Now Joe must discover a terrible truth about his new world–and figure out how to get out alive!


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