James the Giant wrote:Ooh chilling.
It reminds me of an Ian Banks novel where the Culture goes to war to stop various civilizations from running virtual, simulated hells, where good or bad deeds are punished or rewarded by the torment of digitized personalities after death.
And in a virtual world, there's nothing to stop someone being tortured to death, again and again and again.
There are other SF treatments, too. One you may have missed (especially since it was a debut novel) is The Quantum Thief
by Hannu Rajaniemi. It opens in a prison in which the lead character is forced to endlessly play the Prisoner's Dilemma game (co-operate or defect?) against multiple copies of himself, or other beings, and dies painfully when he loses, only to be brought back to life. (It does get better, but also weirder.)
Greg Egan has also written some great stories about what might happen if we go silicon.
To answer the OP: Yes, of course. It may be crooked but (so far as I know) it's the only game in town.