Excerpt From I can’t get you out of my mind: A book of lies, sex, love, and Artificial Intelligence

by Marianne Apostolides

Marianne Apostolides is the author of six books, three of which have been translated. She’s a recipient of the Chalmers Arts Fellowship, and the winner of the 2017 K.M. Hunter Award for Literature. Her piece in The Puritan is excerpted from her forthcoming novel, I can’t get you out of my mind: A book of lies, sex, love, and Artificial Intelligence, which will be published by Book*hug in 2020.




Ariadne arrives at the lab. It’s her first time here, in a building named after the Roman God of War. What an interesting choice, she thinks, if ‘interesting’ means ‘stupid’ or ‘short-sighted,’ which it does not. Ariadne is nervous. Dirk is working, but perhaps there’s damage that she hasn’t yet detected. The team would detect it: the team would know exactly what the damage cost. They’d exact their price in blood, because Ariadne doesn’t have any other means to pay.

Can Canadians sell their blood?

She doesn’t think so.

The elevator is out of service.

Ariadne stands with a backpack filled with library books. She stares at the sign ‘Out of Service’ without comprehending. Which is to say: she understands the fact relayed—the elevator is not working—but she doesn’t accept its implications.

There are several dozen pounds of books on her back.

She’s still staring at the sign. A whole bank of elevators is broken. “They’ll be fixed in a minute,” calls the receptionist from her Welcoming Pod. “It’s a technical glitch.” Apparently, they’ve just installed weight sensors to ensure the limit isn’t exceeded. “For enhanced safety,” the receptionist explains. Ariadne wonders: How many elevators plunge through the shaft due to excess weight? Conversely, how many people keel over from heart attacks as they climb the stairs since an elevator is Out of Service?

Ariadne’s heart is pumping very hard.

She’s got twelve more floors to go.

“Dude!” a man says. “Don’t bang her on the rails!” His words are muddy, echoing off the concrete of the stairwell. “We’re so screwed…”

“Hello?” Ariadne calls.

The men freeze. They exchange a current of fear. “The elevator’s broken,” one says. He adjusts the fabric over the foot, which protrudes from the object they hold horizontal between them. “We’re moving the equipment,” he continues. They look to the landing where Ariadne stands; they seek the name on her Visitor’s Tag. “You’re not supposed to see this.”

“That’s great. Because I don’t actually know what I’m seeing.”

The PhD students prop the android on the ground. The drapery flutters down, revealing an exemplar of the naked female form.

The two men yell at each other. Ariadne is left to gaze, unabashedly, at the svelte yet curved body of the female android—at her shapely legs and hips, her pleasing face whose expression is blank but not empty. They’ve made her nipples dark. Ariadne wonders whether this was by chance or choice: whether the programmers entered all possible nipple-colours into a computer, letting two of the possibilities penetrate, thereby resulting in this chestnut hue. Or whether a guy in the lab just liked it. Or a woman.

The android, Ariadne notices, seems not to have any birthmarks.

Ariadne resumes her ascent. She thinks the grad students might come to blows.

“I told you we shouldn’t take the stairs!”

“No one ever takes the stairs!”

“Pardon me,” Ariadne says. “I’m late for an appointment.” She slips past the two men with their silicon, smart, soon-to-be self-moving mannequin.

“Can we get your name?”

“Not a chance,” Ariadne calls over her shoulder.




Ariadne is greeted by the team’s receptionist. He seats her on an ergonomic chair that adjusts to the shape of her body. She liked it better when furniture was dumb; she also preferred when ‘progress’ didn’t make her feel old. Ariadne is given the option of natural spring water, tea or espresso.

“You have any scotch?”

“We’ve got microbrewed beer?”

“I’ll take water.”

In time the receptionist speaks to his headset. He approaches Ariadne. “Just follow me,” he says. He has very beautiful hands.

Ariadne is deposited in a room with a mirror. The ‘team,’ she’s told, is on the other side—a precaution taken to protect everyone’s identity. “But they already know everything about me!” Ariadne protests.

The receptionist gently shuts the door.

“Dirk is working,” she says. Her eyes dart from side to side. She sees, in the mirror, that this makes her look shifty. She tries to control her eyeballs.

“We know,” says a voice piped into the room.

“How long was he down for?” one team member asks another.

“Just over three hours.”

“That’s a long time,” says a woman. “How was that for you, Ms. Samsarelos?”

“Uh, well… I went out drinking.”

“Can you tell us about that?”

“Um… why would I do that?” Ariadne asks. She squints her eyes, as if to look past the one-way mirror.

“We need to fill in our records… It’s a gap of three hours, without any record of your biometric data, or your whereabouts, or—”

“Am I contractually obliged to—”

“We,” says the woman. She sighs and continues, “We didn’t anticipate this scenario.”

“Which means I’m not contractually obliged.”

“Correct!” interjects the Brit. “But! We thought we’d ask! Since we needed to have you here anyway for the next stage of the study… We thought, you know, goodwill and all.”

“So I don’t need to tell you.”


“Only if I feel goodwill.”

“Indeed again.”

When Cicero translated Plato, he used the word ‘goodwill’ to express the Greek word ‘eunoia’: benevolens, in Latin, which is broken down, quite simply, into ‘good’ (bene) and ‘will’ (volens).

Eunoia takes its meaning much more weirdly.

Ariadne almost describes the luscious weirdness of the word—how its mistranslation altered the whole course of thought about friendship, and love—the whole course! it’s tremendously exciting!—but she stops herself. She realizes they probably won’t be into it.

‘Excitement’ comes in many forms.

“I like the word ‘goodwill,’” is the statement she settles on.


“It’s old-fashioned.”

“It is…”

“So I’ll tell you.”

“Yay!” says a woman—the quiet-voiced woman. She says it with pallor, yet glee.

Ariadne explains that she met her cousin for drinks, as planned, and—

“You didn’t change your plans?”


“Did you alter anything about your evening? What you did, what you felt…”

“Of course!” she says. “I felt shitty!”


“Because I killed Dirk!”

This engenders an excited pause.

“So I was worried I’d have to pay you back.”

Excitement deflates.

“Let’s return,” says the woman, “to what you said initially. That you ‘killed’ Dirk. Can you explain what you mean by that?”

Ariadne makes a wall of words, which takes some skill: almost 50 years of practice, creating a language-wall for her anxiety.

Ariadne sits back in her chair. They can see her sit back. They can see, through the one-way mirror—unless the mirror is truly a mirror? a simple reflective surface?— Ariadne looks away. They’ve asked her a question, but her mind is racing: they’re looking at her. She looks through the room. She notices the cameras mounted on the walls: six of them, tiny cameras, with more behind her, undoubtedly. She sees the thermographic cameras, too; they see the heat emitting off her body. Such a profusion of heat.

If they were sitting in the same room as her, they would also smell the acridity of her sweat.

“I’d like,” Ariadne says, “a guarantee that I won’t need to pay you back.”

They all start to talk, but she keeps going, looking at a spot on the table, as if it were an anchor. “I cannot afford to pay you back. Dirk is working normally. He doesn’t remember the incident, but otherwise” […] Ariadne makes a wall of words, which takes some skill: almost 50 years of practice, creating a language-wall for her anxiety. Four walls, actually, and a roof. […] “nothing wrong. My mind was wandering, okay, that’s true: my mind does that—it wanders—that’s how I think. So if you make me pay, you’ll be penalizing me for how I” […] In the past, Ariadne felt cozy in here, in this brick-shack of anxiety. But it’s gotten a little cramped lately.

“You will not,” says the woman, “be fined. I can give you a guarantee. I can even put it in writing.”

“You’ll put it in writing?” Ariadne asks. She listens keenly to the voice of the respondent, trying to discern which team member is speaking.

“If you want,” says the voice, which is female and punctilious.

“No, it’s cool,” Ariadne replies.

The interview can now proceed. Ariadne asks for a glass of water, which the receptionist brings with concerning rapidity. She asks for a refill; after calming her nerves, she discusses the events of that evening. She reports the pertinent aspects of her conversation with Fotios, realizing that very little pertained to Dirk. One team member muses whether this was the result of shock.

“About what?”

“About his death.”

“Well, I mean… Dirk didn’t really die.”

“You’ve used that word. We’re just repeating—”

“That was shorthand.”

“For what?”

“For the fact that Dirk stopped working! Everything was fine, then he just froze. He just… It was like a technical glitch? Like an elevator that’s out-of-service? No, that’s not right… Like a heart that stops—”

“Like a person, you mean.”

“No,” Ariadne says. She gathers her thoughts. “Dirk is more like my hairdryer.”

Ariadne listens to the silence that’s piped into the room.

“My hairdryer stopped working last week,” she adds, by way of explanation.

“Awesome!” says the Brit. “Not about your hairdryer, sorry to hear about that, it’s a crying shame in this cold, though your hair looks great. I mean: awesome analogy! Very illustrative.”

He puts the emphasis on the second syllable: il-lus­-trative. She likes that. Like alu-mi-nium, which is so much more lovely, more burbly, than American-speak.

“So you feel toward Dirk as you feel toward your hairdryer,” asks the woman.

“Um, I guess I do.”

“Does your hairdryer have a name?”

‘Do you have a brain?’ “Her name is Brunhilde,” she says. Then she adds: “My hairdryer does not, in fact, have a name… I’m not in the habit of naming inanimate objects.”

“So, if we can take your words at face value: Dirk is just an object to you.”

“Sure… I mean, he’s a very capable object. Much more useful than Brunhilde. Except when I’m running late,” Ariadne mutters. “Then Brunhilde is very useful.”

The British man laughs. “Very clear!” he says. “Dirk is an ‘object’ which is ‘inanimate,’ meaning he lacks an ‘animus.’ If you want to be Jungian about it.”

“Yes,” Ariadne says, feeling her cheeks flush. “If you want to be Jungian…”

“Very good!” he replies. “But I prefer Freud. Much more exciting as a writer, isn’t he?”

Ariadne hopes the British man is colourblind, because she’s blushing fiercely.

“Do you think,” says the butterfly-flutter female voice, “you would’ve sensed an anima if you could’ve hugged him?”



“Uh, I’d never hug a laptop, so… I’m not sure how to answer that question.”

“Okay,” says a man. Not the British man, another man. Just some guy on the team with a boring accent. “Would you hug a dog?”

“A dog is not a hairdryer!”

This elicits a laugh. (She likes his laugh.)

“Is there an in-between?” asks the Brit. “Between a dog and a hairdryer? Does Dirk fit in the realm between those two?”

“Because he talks?”

“Could be… Or because he learns and responds… Or because he can ‘read’ emotions. Or—”

“You want me to say Dirk is something new,” Ariadne asserts. “Like, that he’s in the ‘realm’ between—”

“No! I don’t want you to say anything!” the Brit replies jovially. “I’m asking…” Given that she’s interacted with Dirk for five months, he’s wondering: Does she think Dirk belongs to a separate category—a brand new category of creature or thing—because he talks and learns; or because he can read emotions; or maybe because he can have a conversation, adding new and relevant information, building on what’s said, as if he had memories, insight, curiosity, empathy. “Does any of this justify—”

“No.” Ariadne is shaking her head. “I really don’t think—”

“What if he could be more physical with you?” asks the Brit.

This leads to what comes next.




“Vital juice.”

That’s the phrase that comes to mind.

Daniel Dennett, philosopher, cognitive scientist and blowhard, has stated that human beings do not have “vital juice.” We have “neural excitation.” We have a set of processes that gives rise to the sense of our unique existence—a palpable sense of presence, subjectivity—but that’s an illusion. A fiction. In truth, there’s no Dionysian liquid coursing through our selves—no juicy vitality, godlike sweetness which we use as a metaphor for what we can’t otherwise grasp in words: namely, ‘consciousness.’ A life-soul.

They’ll let us believe, she thinks. They’ll humour us, but they’re certain they know: the body bears no mystery. It’s all within our grasp.

But what’s fascinating, Ariadne thinks, as she strips off her clothes—“Keep your underwear on,” they’d said—is that the new generation of thinkers (i.e., the ones who’ve superseded Dennett), have started to assert that robots do have vital juice. They want to say that humans don’t, but AI does. And here Ariadne steps into the bodysuit: sleek and black, with a network of threads like veins which carry electrical currents rather than blood. She keeps her underwear on. There are no veins in the crotch. This is a good sign—or, rather, it’d be a terrifying sign if there were veins in the crotch. The absence of terror equals happiness? Ariadne stretches the haptic suit over her torso. She needs to rethink her position. They want to say, she thinks, that humans don’t have vital juice (a.k.a., a soul, or mysterious essence) and AI doesn’t either, but, and here’s the tricky part—“Please take off your bra,” they’d said—the tricky part is: they’ve started to pretend that human beings and AI, we both have sentience, essence, consciousness. She zips up the suit: one long zipper up the front. She tucks her hair inside the hood. They patronize us, this new generation of thinkers. They talk to us with smarmy words: ‘Oh, yes,’ they say. ‘Yes, you can believe in consciousness… So long as you believe your robot is conscious, too.’

“Are you ready in there?”

“Just about!” Ariadne calls. She tries to adjust her nipples so they’re not pointing eschew. They’ll let us believe, she thinks. They’ll humour us, but they’re certain they know: the body bears no mystery. It’s all within our grasp.

Ariadne places her hand on the doorknob. She exhales with determination, then opens the door with a sense of confidence she doesn’t, in fact, possess.




Ariadne couldn’t sleep that night; she was agitated, aroused from her time at the lab. The next day, she went to an art gallery after her writing session. It was a Thursday. That night, she sent Adam an email.

The timing is important.

I know I said I wasn’t going to contact you in January, but I’ve had the strangest few days. I could type it out here, but I’d rather tell you in person—share my thoughts, my day, my kiss…

I wish I were sipping scotch while you were in a room nearby—playing piano, or reading, or writing a note to Nathan at school. Something mundane. Nothing fraught. Just us, together.

Anyway, can you perhaps let me know when you might be able to see me, to talk about what you’ve concluded about your path forward? I’m solo starting on Monday. Do you have time next week, even though the full month hasn’t passed? I feel lost as to what my future holds with you, assuming you still want a relationship with me, which I’m not sure I can assume. Despite my attempts to keep my ground, I feel suspended in darkness, which only you can illuminate…. xo, a

[attachment: “After snow fall,” Kazuo Nakamura, 1953]

The next night, a Friday, Adam responds. Ariadne was hoping for this. She knew he’d see his wife the next morning, as per their pattern: they always spend the workweek in their separate homes; on Saturday mornings, they have their weekly appointment with the couples’ counsellor; the rest of the weekend is spent together. Friday night, therefore, is Adam’s last opportunity to communicate with Ariadne until Monday.

Dear Ariadne. What a beautiful image! Emblematic of so many things: the paper-thin promise of spring, the forest for the trees, what’s heard in a breath held, or what’s seen on the liminal edge of an unfinished life.

I’m anxious after reading your email. I’m surprised by your message and startled by your expectation (?) that I’d have a ready answer for you. You keep reassuring me that I’m not responsible for your choices, but your email seems so full of potential for disappointment. That’s not how we left things in December (is it?). I realize your world isn’t frozen between the brief glimpses I get into it (and I’m sure my views change boiling-frog-like too), but in any case, I don’t have an answer for you.

I have carried your question with me (What do you really want?) since you asked it. But I’ve only held it lightly as I focused on getting better at the basics (a work still very much in progress). I may have hoped that, left unobserved, the answer would feel safe enough to emerge on its own but I haven’t gone looking for it.

I feel sad and frustrated, pressured because my lack of resolve still hangs over you. I feel guilty that my behavior seems to keep you suspended, open, vulnerable, and hurting. The truth (you keep telling me I’m safe to tell you) is that I’m ambivalent. I’m afraid to look too closely at my life and I’m afraid to let go of what I know. I can see shapes moving between the trees, looking out at my ever shorter future, I can see possibilities and risks. I sense the joy of entering and owning my life again, but my fears keep me frozen.

I would like to see you Ariadne. I like how you push me. I appreciate your view and your confidence in me. And I love the sweet tension—the ‘edging’—we do. I love having the taste of you afterwards to savour in secret at the back of my mouth.


Email is not the way to talk about this. My Tuesday evening is free right now but there are a couple of important work unknowns that may limit my time next week. It may be safer (ha!) to choose a date after your next cycle with the kids, in two weeks, but I’ll let you make that call.


Ariadne waits until Sunday afternoon to reply. She figures he’ll read the email late that night, unless he sleeps with his wife on Sundays, she’s not really clear on that part of their schedule. Ariadne must prepare dinner for herself and the kids: tomorrow, they’ll leave for their dad’s house. The days, right now, are unspeakably short.


You’re absolutely correct: I misread your email… My desire for clarity—for knowing whether we’d reached the beginning or the end—coloured my reading of your note. I’m sorry I’ve caused frustration and distress…

I could respond at length to your email, but I’d far prefer to see you in person, so I’ll be brief, hoping we can have this conversation over dinner… I realize you’re busy with work; I, of all people, respect that… I guess I’d ask: is work so urgent on Tuesday night to prevent a meal together? Or is work an excuse to stay away from me—from the emotions and confusions our gatherings unleash? I can’t know the answer to that question; perhaps you can’t, either? Anyway, it seems to be the question to ask.

Finally, finally—apropos of everything—I came across this quote last night, while reading Montaigne:

Should anyone ask me what is the first consideration in love, I should answer that it is to be able to seize the right time; the same is true of the second, and also of the third: it is an all-powerful element.

And so, the Frenchman speaks to us, across 500 years and an ocean…

xo, a

Within two minutes, Adam replies. His answer is unusual—not just because he shouldn’t be alone at the time. It’s also his tone that’s different. Terse. Suggestive, to her, of his edge of anger—the ‘edging’ they do…

A. I’ll text on Tuesday when I know my timing. Can I bring anything? A.

Her response is immediate: “Just you,” she whispers, smiling.

Just you…




They made the decision without deciding: they agreed it wouldn’t be sexual. Their touch, that night, would be purely erotic.

As if that kept them within a boundary.

She sat in the room, before the computer screen. The bodysuit fit tightly to her form. They explained the process: their screen showed her body, the British man said. They, in their room, could maneuver to any location covered by the receptors in the haptic suit; then, using the joystick, they could administer touch. “We planned to do this through Dirk,” said the butterfly woman. They thought Ariadne could do this in her own home, sitting with Dirk, with whom she was already so familiar. “But we needed to adjust the plan.”

They explained what she could expect to feel.

The computer before her would receive the ‘data’—i.e., what they did with their joystick—and relay this information to the haptic suit. The system would know the intended placement of touch, and the pressure, the type of motion—a stroke (gentle or hard), or a grip, a pinch, a slap.

They decided it wouldn’t be sexual.

The sensation wasn’t right. It felt artificial: a buzz along the back of her neck.

Adam was in her home. She was on her knees, her hands on his thighs. This was not supplication; this was sincerity.

“I don’t want to have an affair with you.”

“You could’ve fooled me!” he laughed. But then he closed his eyes. She softly watched his face, his chest. His breath resumed its roughness. Ariadne said she wouldn’t kiss him. She rubbed his thigh: “I won’t be sexual with you, Adam. I promise.” She promised she’d be good.

He grabbed her wrist.

The computer would send a signal to the motors embedded in the haptic suit. They would vibrate, or contract, according to the touch that was administered. She didn’t know who was in control. She didn’t know whether the whole team was in the room, or only the Brit and the butterfly woman.

She wanted to ask who’d be touching her.

He gripped her wrist. She thought she might get bruised, he cuffed so tight. He stood, pulling her from the ground, then he shoved her willingly onto the bed. “Take off your shirt.”

The sensation wasn’t right. It felt artificial: a buzz along the back of her neck.

“Please tell us what you feel.”

“I don’t like it.”

“Not a judgment,” he said. His voice wasn’t so jocular anymore. “Just a description.”

Along the tension of her shoulders, her neck: “It’s supposed to be a stroke,” she said, “but it feels like a swipe.”

She was told not to assume how the touch was intended.

It felt like a swipe: a swipe that’s thin and artificial. She didn’t like it. Normally, she loves touch to the neck, to her back—the blade of her shoulders—this feels most vulnerable. She’s in her power when she spreads her legs for a man to taste or fuck. But when they touch her back, she’s giving herself to them, utterly.

“Perhaps the suit isn’t fitting correctly?” asked the Brit. “Is there space between your skin and the suit?”

“On the neck,” she said. On the curve of the neck, toward the scalp. She touched her neck to demonstrate.

“Please don’t touch.”

She was lying in bed. His fingers stroked beneath the blade. “I love your strength,” he said. The lightest touch.

“It feels like a stroking motion now…”

“Good,” said the Brit. “That’s good.” He stroked her again, or the woman did. The computer. It paused at the shoulder blade and pressed, then stroked down her back. She was sitting by herself in a room. The room was empty of people, of sound; it felt empty of oxygen as she breathed.

The touch was on her hip, on the curve.

“This doesn’t feel like human touch,” she repeated. “If it’s supposed to feel like human touch, it isn’t working…” She paused as they stroked her; she let the words form: “You could come in here right now,” she said. “If I closed my eyes and one of you entered the room, and you touched me… I’d know the difference.”

“You can’t know that.”

“We could try it,” she heard herself say.

She shivered when he did it.

She didn’t know what the sensation was; she’d never felt it before. But her skin shivered with the warmth. Her body rose in a wave—her pelvis pressed against the mattress—but her spine arced long, as if to greet the touch, or flee from it.

“Your back is so expressive,” he said. He traced the muscle. Gentle. Then he poured more wax on her skin.

The next sensation was on her ankle.

“You’re grabbing my left ankle,” she said.

“How about now?” the woman asked.

“Now you’re… it’s like a pulse on my ankle.”

“Like how?”

“Like a squeeze and release… Now it’s on the right side.”

“Excellent,” said the Brit.

In the future, he explained, she wouldn’t need to wear a bodysuit. In the future, he said, they could—“with the explicit permission of the subject… that goes without saying…”—they could implant the brain with a chip that would receive the signals for touch directly, “bypassing the body.”

He massaged her neck. Fingers on the line of bone at the base of the skull. Then he eased her underwear off. Adam followed the curve of her muscle. She asked for more.

“I don’t understand how that would work,” Ariadne said. “How could you bypass—”

“We should concentrate,” said the British man, “on the current process.”

“I’m sorry,” Ariadne replied. “But I can’t concentrate until you explain what you mean.”

“Right, sure. But we should—”

You introduced the concept,” Ariadne said. “So now I need to understand, before we can continue.” The gripping of the ankle changed its tone. Ariadne, slowly, said: “You’re touching me too hard.”

“I’m sorry! I—”

“If you’d like to continue,” she asserted, “I’d like you to explain what you mean.”

Adam had taken off his shirt, but not his jeans. He leaned forward, kissed her neck; he took her skin between his teeth. She could see his hand pressed against the mattress, fingers wide; she could see his forearm, the snake of the vein.

In the future, he said, the implant in the brain will receive a signal from another person—

“Wait… the signal is from what? From an implant in that person’s brain?”

“That’s one possibility, yes.”

“So you wouldn’t even need the bodysuit.”

“Or the screen,” he added.

“Okay, so… You’d imagine me—”

“Or someone.”

“Let’s say me,” Ariadne said. “You’d imagine me—where and how you wanted to touch me—and the chip in your brain would sense what you’re thinking, and tell the chip in my brain.”

“That’s correct.”

“Then what happens.”

“Can we please get back to the task?” asked the butterfly woman.

“I think this is part of the task,” the Brit replied.

What happens is this: One person thinks about touching another. This neurobiological activity, which is read by the implant, is sent, via satellite, to the implant in the other person. “That, in turn,” said the Brit, “stimulates a neurological experience of touch.”

“So you don’t stimulate the body.”

“Correct. You’d go directly to the brain.”

Adam traced the wax with his thumb. “It’s made the most beautiful pattern,” he said. He spoke gently, too kindly. She heard him light the wick again; her skin shivered.

“Not yet,” he said.

“I want it.”

“I know.” He stepped away from the bed. “But you’ll have to wait.”

“I think that explanation should be satisfactory. Don’t you?”

“Can’t you feel my response?”

The butterfly’s voice was quite fluttery: “Um, maybe we should—?”

“This is my last question,” Ariadne said. “I promise…” Do you, with the implant in your brain—or even now, with your screen and the current technology—“Do you know how my body is responding to your touch?”

“There’s feedback, yes,” said the Brit.

The wax was hot, a splash of heat. She knew it was coming, but couldn’t control it: the pour of warmth; the shock of pleasure. “Beautiful girl,” Adam said as she rose to the touch. “Beautiful…”

“Yes,” he repeated. “We can sense your response.”


Author photo credit to Ralph Kolewe.


Marianne Apostolides is the author of six books, three of which have been translated. She’s a recipient of the Chalmers Arts Fellowship, and the winner of the 2017 K.M. Hunter Award for Literature. Her piece in The Puritan is excerpted from her forthcoming novel, I can’t get you out of my mind: A book of lies, sex, love, and Artificial Intelligence, which will be published by Book*hug in 2020.