Retro VR is my entry in Freeditorial's Long Short Story Contest. You do not have to register to read the story.
I got the idea for "Retro VR" when I read a New York Times article last summer about a guy making sex robots. This paragraph caught my attention:
"One of the challenges that Mr. McMullen will have to contend with is the so-called uncanny valley. It is a concept first written about in 1970 by a Japanese researcher, that says people’s responses to robots will shift sharply from empathy to revulsion the more closely the robots resemble humans. In other words, something robotic that looks alive, but is not completely convincing, will creep people out." ("Sex Dolls That Talk Back," Emma Cott, The New York Times, June 11, 2015)
I experienced an uncanny valley a few years before I read the article, when a coworker showed me an ad in a newspaper insert. The ad was for dolls that were very close replicas of newborn infants. I never saw one of the dolls in person, but the photograph in the ad made me cringe.
You can read "Retro VR" as my thought experiment on the uncanny valley hypothesis as it applies to virtual sex programs, or you can read it as the longest Guy Walks Into A Bar joke you ever heard. The story contains adult themes, but anyone looking to read pornography will probably be disappointed.