Everyone From Themis Sends Letters Home

By Genevieve Valentine, first published in Clarkesworld.

Prison inmates are told that they're being sent to scope out a new Earth for mankind to move to, but when they "come back" they find out they have just been play-testing a new virtual reality video game. Prison inmates are used to test a new video game which would have them inhabit a virtually real new planet, but they believe they are truly being sent to another solar system. When they realize that they've just been playing a game, there are long-term psychological impacts.

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