I'm looking for a book or short story where the protagonists are two life forms of a species that spends its time playing a game. The game involves them setting evolution parameters to create simulated civilizations, and compete into which one evolves the most. These "games" are broadcast, the signals picked up by a much more advanced civilization which mistakes these games as real involvement, and (maybe) eliminates the protagonist's civilization as a response?

I don't remember exactly when I've read the book, but it isn't the Culture book (The Player of Games). What made it memorable was the premise of running simulations in a VR environment, which are broadcast, and can be seen by another civilization as a report on the destruction of another world. Many levels of existence in the same book. Or it could be a short story, not sure...

  • 2
    Welcome to the site. You have a good start here. If you could take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and edit in any more details, that would be great. Every little bit helps us. – amflare Feb 5 '18 at 15:36
  • Thanks, added a bit more detail. Unfortunately it's still quite vague, that's all I have... – CNeo Feb 5 '18 at 15:42

I wonder if this might be from the Animorphs series, by KA Applegate. I think I recall one of the spinoff series, perhaps the The Ellimist Chronicles, had this as a plot element - the main character (yes, the Ellimist) was a powerful being, but also the only remaining member of his race because of this miscommunication.

I recall the games were about getting the most change for the least interference - one example being he had parted clouds on a permanently overcast world, to give them the inspiration to reach for the stars, while his friend had increased the appetite of his species - so hunger and lack pushed them to develop all the way to spacefaring, looking for more resources, and they had wiped out the ellemist’s race before they could develop enough. So yes, the games appeared both violent and meddling to the other species, enough that they waged a genocidal war for believing them true actions.

Ironically, the Ellimist grew powerful - godlike - after this tragedy (due to unlikely story-events), and ended up opposing a powerful godlike being who liked destroying, which ended up with meddling (creating and altering species to undo each other’s work) very similar to the games his race was killed for.

  • Yes! Thank you! I knew it was a while ago, hadn't actually realized how long ago it was.. :) – CNeo Feb 6 '18 at 13:01

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.