Book or story where child lives in a freezer-creche
May 2, 2023 1:03 PM   Subscribe

I remember reading a book, or possibly a short story, where a character realizes their marriage/partnership was over because they and their partner no longer took their child (I think a daughter) out of a freezer-creche. By freezer-creche, I mean that the child was in stasis between visits and did not grow or change or learn during that time. I'm pretty sure the character is thinking about this in a section where they were thinking about their "unlucky in love" relationship history. What was this story?

The character also reflected on spending time with the child at parks and during holidays and so on, and how they gradually realized that the child could tell that more and more time was passing between visits, by the changing seasons and aging of their parents, and that the child was sad. I'm pretty sure this was a world-building, place-setting kind of detail -- it was not the main point of the story.
posted by OrangeDisk to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, as a new mom that premise is depressing as hell. I was curious so I looked for it and found this novel, where it seems that over time the protagonist realizes her parents were leaving her in stasis for longer and longer...but that doesn't seem to fit exactly what you described.
posted by amaire at 2:17 PM on May 2

Response by poster: That's not it, I haven't read that. This was context or backstory, it wasn't the main plot, I don't think. And yes, the premise is super-depressing.
posted by OrangeDisk at 2:26 PM on May 2

This reminds me of "The Lifecycle of Software Objectsā€¯, a short story from Ted Chiang's wonderful collection Exhalation. The main child characters are AI's, not human. But there may also have been mention of cloned human children in stasis.
posted by hovey at 3:37 PM on May 2 [3 favorites]

Oh damn, I think I read this so it was possibly from one of branewane's short fiction posts, or Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine. There's a small chance it was on but I don't think so.
posted by fiercekitten at 5:23 PM on May 2

Wow, I've got Ted Chiang's Exhalation short story collection sitting on the table in front of me, unread, having bought it on a recent trip where I wandered into a bookstore. I just finished another book last night. OK hive mind, message received.
posted by intermod at 6:06 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]

I recall a story like this, but the child isn't in a freezer, he's a simulation in software. He runs faster than they do, and slowly realizes that he's not real.
I don't know if this helps at all. It was mid eighties, I think, but the name escapes me.
The idea of keeping someone around for intermittent emotional use has been around for a long time.
Sorry I'm not more help.
posted by AugustusCrunch at 11:25 AM on May 3

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