Fantasy And Science Fiction

Short Story Review True Love by Isaac Asimov



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Isaac Asimov was years, possibly decades ahead of the curve is seeing where computers would go, and while some of the stories are startling in their predictions some of the best are quite funny. "True Love" is a little both. This is a character who is a bit disturbing because of the technology he is using and how he is using it, while humorous in how it is his undoing as well as how commonplace that technology has become.

The main character is a computer programmer who works on Multivac the world's greatest supercomputer. He has created a program that he alone controls. Among the things that it has access to is the personal information on everyone on earth. This computer programmer decides that he will use this information to find the perfect woman.

He starts with three billion women and by describing what he considers the perfect woman he manages to whittle it down to just over a hundred. Then without telling them he begins to have the transferred to his work one at a time so that he can met them and decide if they are the perfect woman for him.

The problem is that while they are all perfect for him he isn't perfect for them. And so he decides to come at it from a different way. He begins to give his life story to the computer while programming the computer to think more and more like him. The plan is that the computer will be able to find a woman who will love him as well.

The problem is that he is breaking the law to do all this, and so he can't tell anyone what happens when the computer turns him in for a crime he had committed years ago, but of course the computer still has the woman transferred so that she can take care of him.

It is impossible to read this without thinking of the various dating sites that are all over the internet. The idea of finding your perfect match through computer technology isn't as odd as it was at the time that Asimov wrote this story, but even now when it is commonplace when you take a step back and look more carefully a the technology it is possible to see that it is a little odd. It seems to take something out of love when you begin to make it so calculated.

It always fascinates me to read old science fiction from the masters because often the science and the fiction that had seemed so absurd before has changed. Isaac Asimov was one of the best at this because his stories are about people, even his computers are people, and people haven't changed.

More about this author: Elton Gahr

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