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"One could imagine a very ascetic sort of life ... where the body is ignored. This is something I've played with in my books, where people hate to be reminded sometimes that they have bodies, they find it very slow and tedious."
- William Gibson

Famnexdo  
  A set of four simulacra, one adult male, one adult female and two children; the family next door.  

Are you concerned about moving to Mars, because it's still so empty; are you leaving your friends and relatives behind?

...at the far end, taking up most of the available space, he saw four simulacra seated in silence, a group: one in adult male form, its female mate and two children. This was a major item of the firm's catalog; this was a famnexdo...

A man, when he emigrated, could buy neighbors, buy the simulated presence of life, the sound and motion of human activity - or at least its mechanical near-substitute - to bolster his morale in the new environment of unfamiliar stimuli and perhaps, god forbid, no stimuli at all... The famdexdo were actually not next door at all, they were part of their owner's entourage. Communication with them was in essence a circular dialogue with oneself; the famdexdo, if they were functioning properly, picked up the covert hopes and dreams of the settler and detailed them back in an articulated fashion. Therapeutically, this was helpful, although from a cultural standpoint it was a trifle sterile.

From The Simulacra, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by 1964 in Ace
Additional resources -

Another great example of Dick's wit and vision; this is a sly commentary on the suburbanization of America in the 1960's.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Simulacra
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to The Simulacra
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

Famnexdo-related news articles:
  - Japan's Humanoid Robot Moonbase Plan

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