The Soft Truth by Leigh Alexander is a rather fascinating read. In this short story, the narrator believes she is seeing a copied version of herself while making repeated references to a mysterious “gelatin sphere” which we don’t learn the nature of until very late in the going, and it is revealed to be the thumbnail of a YouTube video. Throughout the story, images of different YouTube thumbnails are pasted in, tagged “oddly satisfying” videos. Finally, she encounters her doppelganger, and immediately afterwards is able to find the video what she is looking for.
My main takeaway is that The Soft Truth is very much a social commentary on the seemingly disconnected, yet intertwined relationship between our natural Earth and the digital world, as I believe our narrator having a second identity represents how we live in two realities at once, one in the natural world as well as a more advanced persona that lives inside of a machine. There is also a present theme of the pursuit of pleasure here as the narrator is obsessed with finding this one YouTube video and cannot be satisfied until she does, driving her insane to the point where perhaps she is even imagining this other version of herself. I enjoyed reading The Soft Truth and thought it did a very good job of tying these greater themes into such a compelling narrative.