15

I've had a story dancing just out of reach of memory for some time now. I keep thinking Vernor Vinge "A Fire Upon the Deep", but the Tine's world had breathable atmosphere so I don't think it's it.

The part I'm remembering is a generation ship type setting, one of the youth becomes delusional and doesn't believe they're in an actual spaceship, some fraction of the other children start to believe him, I think resulting in an attempt to "leave the simulation", resulting in disaster.

Edit: to elaborate further, the children are classmates. The one who has the delusions gets a following of students, causing the student body basically to take sides forming two factions. There are adults onboard but they either aren't aware or dismiss the children's beliefs as harmless. This was a full length novel, this plot line taking place in the middle third of the novel (approximately), and I read it 3 to 5 years ago, but the novel may be older than this.

  • Welcome! Can you add any more? Was it a novel or a short story? Where and when did you read it? – Wikis Feb 28 '17 at 7:19
  • Memory's hazy on this one lol, I believe it was a full length novel and I read it somewhere in the last 3-5 years, it could have been considerably older though. – Scott ResistTHIS Hamilton Feb 28 '17 at 7:29
  • All info helps :) Please update the question with this and anything else you remember. – Wikis Feb 28 '17 at 7:33
  • 1
    Will do, thanks! – Scott ResistTHIS Hamilton Feb 28 '17 at 7:34
  • There was a simillar 3 part TV series about a year ago where a generational ship actually was a simulation but no one on the ship knew it was a simulation. Unfortunately it seemed to end mid-story but it was good. I can't remember the name though. – R Reveley Feb 28 '17 at 10:17
12

This sounds like Ark by Stephen Baxter (the sequel to Flood), published in 2009.

Stephen Baxter – Ark

a generation ship type setting:

The events of Ark overlap with those of Flood: in preparation for a flood that will completely submerge the Earth's continents by 2052, the billionaire Nathan Lammockson builds Ark Three, a gigantic ship that will sail the waters of the drowned Earth. Skeptical of the project's viability, the U.S. government recruits billionaires Edward Kenzie, Patrick Groundwater and Jerzy Glemp to fund the construction of Ark One (later renamed Project Nimrod), a generation ship capable of superluminal travel using an Alcubierre warp drive. The plan is to fly Ark One to an Earth-like exoplanet and rebuild civilisation on the new world.

one of the youth becomes delusional and doesn't believe they're in an actual spaceship:

During transit, it emerges that Zane has dissociative identity disorder due to abusive parenting and sexual molestation by his Academy tutor

Kelly had kidnapped the ship's only doctor, so Zane is no longer undergoing therapy and spreads rumours that the ship is actually a virtual reality simulation.

some fraction of the other children start to believe him, I think resulting in an attempt to "leave the simulation", resulting in disaster:

The shipborn children, having never seen Earth for themselves, believe him and start a mutiny. Hoping to reveal the ship to be a simulation, they remove a metal plate from the hull, causing an uncontrolled decompression which kills and injures many passengers.

(Quotes from Wikipedia synopsis)

  • 2
    That is EXACTLY it, thanks so much! Adding that to reading list to reread. – Scott ResistTHIS Hamilton Feb 28 '17 at 9:33

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