I'm trying to find a great story I read in an SF compilation book of some sort.

It was about a poet living in a world where we can simulate universes in computers, and people like him go in and basically plagiarize the art - stories, poetry - and sell it to people in our universe.

Problems occur when the universe in the simulation figure out how to do it, because it nests too many universes and it's too much data. At the end:

we realize his universe is collapsing because it's simulated too.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F! You should check out the suggestions for asking questions in case there are any other details you can edit in.
    – DavidW
    Jan 23, 2019 at 22:28
  • I hope you get an answer, it sounds like a story I'd enjoy reading!
    – DavidW
    Jan 23, 2019 at 22:28
  • 1
    Nested computer simulations - sound like it was partially an influence for the movie 'The 13th Floor'
    – Andrew
    Jan 23, 2019 at 23:28
  • @Andrew it's been a trope for a while before that film came out.
    – moopet
    Jan 24, 2019 at 13:35
  • @moopet true I guess - simulations within simulations and dreams within dreams
    – Andrew
    Jan 24, 2019 at 23:03

1 Answer 1


This could be Hugh Howey's The Plagiarist:

Adam Griffey is living two lives. By day, he teaches literature. At night, he steals it. Adam is a plagiarist, an expert reader with an eye for great works. He prowls simulated worlds perusing virtual texts, looking for the next big thing. And when he finds it, he memorizes it page by page, line by line, word for word. And then he brings it back to his world.

But what happens when these virtual worlds begin to seem more real than his own? What happens when the people within them mean more to him than flesh and blood? What happens when a living thing falls in love with someone who does not actually exist?

This review mentions the recursion and the negative effects that lead from it:

When the virtual worlds create more and more virtual worlds of their own, the servers in the real world are pushed to their limit, and some programs are slated for deletion.

I found it by looking at Similar works for Daniel Galouye's "Simulacron-3".

  • 1
    YES! Thank you!!
    – Karen
    Jan 23, 2019 at 23:33

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