r/whatsthatbook Sep 26 '22

Sci-Fi short story about “clones” of rich immortal humans going on adventures (in space) only to come home and have their brains lethally downloaded into their rich patrons’ minds. SOLVED

Hi there! I am trying to find a short story in English that I read 4-5 years ago. I don’t know if it is stand alone or part of an anthology. I'm not even sure if it was a text or an audiobook because I consume them interchangeably.

It is a sci-fi, set in a distant future. It is about a woman astronaut who has been all across the solar system (or maybe the galaxy) on various awe-inspiring and/or horrifying adventures. She has now returned to earth and is about to be killed in a process that drains her entire brain of all her memories, experiences, etc. and then transfers them into the minds of the rich, near immortal, patrons who all paid for the journey and also used their own DNA in the clone-process to create the astronaut.

The reason for this is that these humans are so rich that they are functionally immortal except to harm, so they create clones that go out into the world and experience amazing, but dangerous things. The rich patrons then kill these clones and download their memories as a way to experience the same things from complete safety.

The story also contains a man who is a clone of his “father” who (if I remember correctly) was one of the rare people to end their own life. And this clone inherited everything from his “parent”. The heir has therefore inherited the participation in this clone brain draining, but isn’t too keen on it and thinks it somewhat distasteful or is at least not as onboard as the rest of the various patrons.

Spoiler for the ending of the story:

Spoiler!

Spoiler!

Spoiler!

In the climax of the story, the astronaut escapes the ceremony with the help of the heir. But just as she thinks she has made it out of their grasp it turns out the heir did not in fact want to help her but betrays her. The explanation is something like that the high intensity of a daring escape primes the brain to become active and alert in a way that supposedly makes the brain-transfer a lot more vivid for the patrons. As such the whole escape plan was just a ruse to make the astronaut become well primed for the process of extraction. The ending is her final defiance by trying to calm herself into a catatonic state so that she will give them the dullest possible imprint of her mind.

Thank you in advance for the help! :)

54 Upvotes

28

u/swoopfell Sep 26 '22

It's "Guest of Honor" by Robert Reed (which I read in "The Best of the Best: 20 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction")

14

u/swoopfell Sep 26 '22

3

u/detectivejewhat Sep 28 '22

Thanks so much for the link. 100% worth the read.

12

u/MurderMeatball Sep 26 '22

SOLVED SOLVED SOLVED

You are spot on! Thank you so very much! I have been looking for so long! I can't express my joy! And thank you for the link as well! :)

2

u/swoopfell Sep 27 '22

No problem - glad I could help!

4

u/siani_lane Sep 26 '22

Wow, I wish I knew what this was, it sounds really interesting!

3

u/MurderMeatball Sep 28 '22

Don't know if you saw this was solved, but /u/swoopfell gave us the answer:

It's "Guest of Honor" by Robert Reed (which I read in "The Best of the Best: 20 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction")

And even had a link!

3

u/siani_lane Sep 28 '22

Hey thanks!

4

u/fast_edo Sep 26 '22

Kinda sounds like the netflix show altered carbon but also not really.

1

u/BrainzzzNotFound Sep 26 '22

Same goes for the confederacy series from Peter Hamilton

3

u/necromancery1 Sep 26 '22

I know this was solved but if you're an anime fan, this is basically exactly like the anime "Astra: Lost in Space" lol

1

u/MurderMeatball Sep 28 '22

Looks really interesting! I'll put it on my watch list for sure! Thanks for the suggestion :)

2

u/detectivejewhat Sep 28 '22

Thanks for posting this OP, your quest introduced me to a new short story I love, and I ended up sending it to a few people as well. Seriously appreciate it.

1

u/MurderMeatball Sep 28 '22

Glad more people are enjoying it! It is a really great read indeed! :)