21

I read a short story about 15 years ago, and I'm trying to find it again. There was a college kid who volunteered to test out a mind-reading device. Something went wrong, and the machine ended up copying his mind over everyone else in the world.

Chaos ensued, since the kid didn't know how to fly airplanes or perform surgery. The kid's girlfriend, since everyone loved her, became the de facto leader. Eventually, the different copies began to diverge and learn new specialties to keep society going.

Does that ring a bell with anyone?

2
  • 4
    Wouldn't it rewrite the girlfriend's brain as well making her fall in love with herself?
    – Zikato
    Apr 2, 2015 at 13:55
  • Kids mom likely also had great power. Sep 27, 2015 at 0:25

1 Answer 1

7

This is "Created Equal" by Ken Jenks.

A college kid, who's volunteering for an experiment, gets his mind copied to everyone in the world:

I sat up in the chair. "Okay, Doc. Let's go." The sequence started and I pushed the buttons as they lit up. Four minutes later, the sequence ended. I unstrapped and said good-bye through the intercom. I thought it was a little odd that I didn't get a response. Shrugging, I ducked out to the bike rack, unlocked my rusty ten-speed and rode back to our apartment on Gregory. Traffic was weird. There were a whole lot of people running, driving and riding toward the Beckman Institute, and there were even more headed in the same direction I was.

My apartment building was surrounded. There must have been three hundred people there calling Katie's name. She peered out the window, surveying the crowd, looking like a princess in a tower.

I made my way through the crowd, which parted around me. They started calling my name, too. There was no pushing or shoving, and nobody was being rude. It was like a dream. An hallucination. Too little sleep, I thought. And I've got to cut down on the Mountain Dew.

The stairway was packed, but they let me through. When I opened the door, the nearest people tried to come in with me, but stopped when I told them to back off. Weird.

Katie was waiting. She looked odd, nervous. "Hi," she said. "Are you still Mitch?"

"Yes," I said, "as far as I can tell."

"So am I," she replied. "I think Dr. K's telepathy experiment did something weird. I have your brain in Katie's body."

Planes and surgery is mentioned explicitly:

There was no major loss of life. There were a few trucks that went out of control. I never learned to drive a semi. An embarrassing number of helicopters crashed. Thank God I can fly fixed-wing aircraft. Almost all of the planes landed safely, even the big jets. There was a major chemical leak at a refinery in Louisiana, but they seemed to get everything under control quickly enough. Dozens of people around the world died in surgery. My soul felt bruised, knowing I died so many times. Newborn babies struggled with unaccustomed mouths to ask their mothers about Katie and Dr. K.

The girlfriend becomes the leader:

Katie grabbed the megaphone. Everyone stopped and looked at her. Who appointed her leader? I thought. I did, I guess.

The first chapter of the story is available via the wayback machine. The website where you could buy the whole story seems to have folded back in 2002, so you read it in the nick of time. I myself only ever read the free first chapter.

2

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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