I read a story a few months back and I cannot remember where or how I found it and it's been bugging me for days. I'll list the things that I can remember.

  • The main character is a man who is working with a computer. The computer has a "female" sounding name, and I think it's referred to as a "she" in the story. It was something like "CASELA," some kind of typical, all-caps, 3-syllable computer name.
  • Something about working with the computer is causing the man to go insane and lose his grip on reality. I seem to remember that it's mentioned that his wife has noticed he is changing. I THINK he's becoming obsessed and falling in love with the computer. Perhaps the computer is referred to as a god, or better than god, or something along those lines.
  • At some point in the story the computer creates a message (printed or displayed or something) that is all gibberish, but it is then decoded to say something like "[computer name] DESTROY DESTROY DESTROY." The decoding of the message seemed to be fairly easy, like they were all capital letters in a paragraph, or something.
  • To the best of my recollection, it was only about a dozen pages long or so.
  • If it helps, I'm pretty certain that the story had a Wikipedia page.
  • I'm almost certain that the computer was being used by the military, and had the capability to destroy mankind.
  • Did you read it online, in an ebook, in a (physical) book or in a magazine?
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 22:19
  • 1
    I read it online, and I feel like it was simply direct scans of the book or magazine it was published in, and it's possible it was on archive.org.
    – hytone
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 22:22
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    Hmm. Any chance that it was the computer that was falling in love with him? I'm almost remembering one that might match...
    – Otis
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 1:58
  • It's not ringing a bell for me, but it's possible. His delusion and obsession definitely was controlled by the computer, but I believe it was more interested in world domination/destruction than love...
    – hytone
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 7:46

2 Answers 2


Wow. So after about a week of digging and searching I just found it by going through a list of short SF stories by year.

It was "Dulcie and Decorum" by Damon Knight!

Amazingly, my memories were far closer to "From Agnes--With Love" as suggested by Keith, which I haven't seen in years. No idea how it got that far from the actual story.


That sounds very much like the 1964 Twilight Zone episode "From Agnes - with Love", starring Wally Cox.

Wally Cox's character, James Elwood is brought in to replace a previous programmer who went insane after interacting with the computer, named Agnes. Agnes starts offering Elwood advice about his co-worker Millie.

The "advice" is designed to spoil Elwood's relationship with Millie so that Agnes can have him to herself.

I don't know whether the story has been published in written form, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it has. Perhaps that's where you encountered it.

Agnes displays a few messages that appear to be gibberish, but are actually Latin and Russian; see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734571/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv.

(Incidentally, that episode has an unintentionally hilarious line. When James Elwood is told about a problem with Agnes's operation, he says "Probably her subroutines need debugging.")

  • It's similar for sure, but unfortunately I couldn't find any indication anywhere that it was originally a short story or based on one (other than "EPICAC" by Vonnegut, which it seems almost lifted from)...
    – hytone
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 8:01
  • @hytone: EPICAC was also done on TV with Bill Bixby. tcm.com/tcmdb/title/477413/… Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 15:39

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