So I'm trying to remember the name of a short story. I can't recall if it was in an audio or written format. I think this would have been a few years ago; I might have read it in Clarkesworld but I can't seem to find it. It's written in the style of an interview or interrogation, but only the subject's side of things, the implication being that the other half was cut out. The interview subject, and effectively protagonist, was a member of a group of genetically engineered children with great intelligence. They have to make something of value to humanity to be allowed to graduate and leave the facility they live at which the protagonist and (if I recall correctly) boyfriend at one point was trying to achieve. At some point it became clear that

They weren't going to achieve this in the allotted time, I don't recall why. The protagonist's boyfriend uploads his mind into a computer. The protagonist then killed their boyfriend's biological body to, at least in their mind, help him escape. It is by this point increasingly clear this is what he is being interrogated about.


1 Answer 1


The Murders of Jason Hartman by Brady Nelson and Jamie Wahls. It was published in Clarkesworld issue 170, November 2020.

The story starts:


A: Look, I hate to start off on the wrong foot here, but—you are, all of you, unbelievably stupid. You should be trying me for murders, not murder. Murders, plural.


A: No, they’re all Jason.
And most of them are “murder” in a way that, twenty years from now, you probably still won’t have made good laws for it.


A: The truth is that none of us really get along with any of you, we just pretend.
I mean, I’m sorry, do you realize how silly this whole thing is from my point of view? It’s like if you were having your fate decided by a jury of toddlers. Would you like that?


A: Would you like it if, as a matter of life and death, you were forced to compete in a game designed and operated by people who were only as smart as you were at age seven? How would that make you feel?
Never mind. This is the first time I’ve been able to talk openly, and I have some pent-up resentment. And the emotional maturity of a sixteen year old, ha ha.
None of it matters anymore, anyway

The boyfriend Jason fails his task because:

Long story short, Jason thought he had a ticket out—a top-notch, subatomic physics simulator so good that he’d be emancipated no matter who spoke against him—until his friend stole the work, took Jason’s name off it, and claimed the golden ticket for himself.

Jason and the unnamed protagonist respond by trying to create a way to ensure another human was trustworthy, and it's to this aim they develop a way to upload humans. They upload Jason hundreds of times but they only have access to their local isolated computers, so they come up with a plan:


A: So, yes.
I strangled him.
And we made it look a little like a suicide and a little like a murder, so you’d investigate.
And we left one of those “mysterious Sikoshi suicide messages” that y’all are all aflutter about.


A: Well, because we hid an uploaded copy of Jason in that message.
You probably activated him yourselves. He’s on the Internet now.


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