I published a short story, “The Neighborhood,” in Granta last month, and they asked me to write an essay about the story for their “First Sentence” series. The first sentence of the story is “The wire children move independently and have recognizable faces.” Read the story “The Neighborhood” here, and read the “First Sentence” essay here.
The story was heavily influenced by Harry Harlow’s disturbing experiments with baby primates. Listen to the radio show on which I first learned about these experiments here. (This American Life, Episode 317, “Unconditional Love.”)
And check out Lauren Slater’s book Opening Skinner’s Box, which has a chapter dedicated to Harlow here. Then read the rest of her book and write a story based on a psychological experiment!