The underscore

Stocks, Kristina (2023) The underscore. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (1MB)


Amidst the parched and hazy drought and wildfire season in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains and prairies, an AI start-up approaches a famous Instagram influencer to embed her likeness into its avatars. Set beyond the AI’s murky digital landscape, “The Underscore” explores the journey of four characters with interwoven narratives during two critical junctures: the proliferation of AI friendship and the dangers of a looming forest fire in Jasper. Sophie_Grace is a lauded millennial known for her social media empire who chooses to ignore the warning signs of her AI. Sophie’s best friend Iris risks her personal and professional connections despite her reservations and defends Sophie’s decisions until one event threatens to crater their relationship permanently. Rowan, Iris’s partner, is a Woodlands firefighter and quietly observes the changing social and climate environments before him, until a spark ignites a blaze that threatens to ravage Jasper. Annie is a young high-schooler enamoured with the Sophie_Grace. When Sophie_Grace uploads her personality into AI, Annie jumps at the chance to have realistic conversations with the famous influencer. A speculative work of realist fiction, “The Underscore” examines the pernicious elements of artificial intelligence through the very human and messy nature of genuine connection, heartache, and humour.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 16125
Keywords: fiction, speculative fiction, artificial intelligence, climate change
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Creative Writing
Date: June 2023
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Canadian fiction; Speculative fiction; Artificial intelligence; Wildfires—Alberta--Jasper

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics