Williams, Walter Jon. "Daddy’s World." Originally published in Not Of Woman Born in 1999. On line at Clarkesworld #111 (December 2015). Anthologized Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel, editors (San Francisco: Tachyon Publications, 2007).
Novelette mentioned for its VR in Sandor Klapcsik's review of the Rewired anthology in SFRA Review #284 (Spring 2008): pp. 15-16, which see, where it is compared with David Marusek’s “The Wedding Album.”
Full brief review by Alex Willging.
Jamie is a young boy who lives in a fantasy world of smiles and has an emphatically-stated “normal family life.” However, his sister Becky reveals more than she’s supposed to, forcing Jamie to confront the fact that his world is a virtual simulation, engineered by his obsessive father to cope with his son’s death. Jamie has to contend with this terrible truth and takes to remake the world in his own bitter image, only to see that his father is just as determined to keep the illusion alive.
RDE, finishing, 7Jan21