Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Benedict, Pinckney


What if Black Mirror, William Gibson's The Peripheral, and George Orwell's 1984 had a baby? And what if that baby had a secret crush on Ted Chiang’s Exhalation? In the Digital City of Chicago, Mustafa, a bereaved Palestinian father working as a disguised Israeli escort. But when he makes a bold move and threatens the life of a powerful client's wife, Mustafa's world is turned upside down. His job is now in jeopardy, and with it, his access to the only remaining piece of his son - a digital copy of his memories. Desperate to keep his job, Mustafa agrees to undergo a rehabilitation program—an experimental AI therapy treatment called Steel Room Therapy Ltd. But as he delves deeper into the therapy, the painful traumas of his past come to life, threatening to shatter both his long-term memories and his son's digital existence for good. Will he choose to save his son's digital existence, or will he risk losing it all for the chance to hold on to his long-term memories? The fate of Mustafa’s past and his future hang in the balance, and he must make a choice before it's too late. The story is written in a hybrid format, adopting different elements from the novel, flash fiction, and screenplay.




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