Sunday, March 19, 2017


Traumatic Virtual reality


A very strange novella. The first third of it looks like some video game on some console and as such has little suspense because little humanity, empathy or simply compassion. We know this character, Trenton Bonner, has a mission that he won – that was entrusted to him – because he accepted to be genetically modified by some implant in his spine that gave him back the use of his legs. He has to reach the top level of his Terra world to do something we do not know exactly but that would save his fellow human beings who are never described and are dying in the lower tier of his world. This world is divided in three layers or tiers, Lower Realm, Mid Realm and High Realm, the whole “thing” identified as the Mountain. After one third of the simple climbing up this mountain and showing his expertise at doing impossible things that are only possible on video game consoles, he reaches a warehouse in High Realm and there he more or less by accident and curiosity recuperate a red orb that gives him power and he tries then to reach the two obelisks there and the orb apparently starts a reaction that sends him travelling into a new world.

The second third is the discovery of this second and new world. The characters finally become somewhat human in appearance but they are all vicious, cynical, untrustworthy, felonious, treacherous, and many other negative characteristics of this general sort: obnoxious and hostile, and I have like the inclination to say, particularly women. But it is true men are not better though maybe less numerous. And you can be sure that if a woman seems to be helpful she is going to stash a dagger in your back or cut your throat, and if she revives you it will only be to steal something from you before dispatching you on the road to hell.

He will manage to get beyond this second world that will turn up into an extension of it and he will reach some gate that should take him back to Terra, his original Mountain. What a feast!

It is interesting to get along in this world and since it is a novella you do not have the long descriptions that would make the reading slow, nor the tenuous mental and unspiritual descriptions of the psyche of these virtual reality characters which would be absolutely unhelpful since the logic is not humane nor humanly sympathetic to the lot of any of these characters, even the main one. And that’s why the novella works in its own way, why we follow the story and do not skip paragraphs. In other words, it is just what it has to be to satisfy the curiosity of an averagely curious reader, a young man around 16, and it has to be a young man since the main character is a man to whom women cannot identify, and since women are either purely physically appealing on the surface and treacherous one layer deeper, or openly viciously hostile, I don’t see how women could project themselves into the story. But that is very standard with a majority of video games.

The philosophical – or maybe simply existential – vision of this universe is cataclysmic: a world of strict hierarchical social architecture with highly social exploitation of the lower levels by the top ones seen as a monarchy, though it might be what some leftist politicians in some countries call a monarchical republic, or a presidential monarchy. The magic is the simple magic or press a button or a symbol in the top left corner or half way on the left side and the world A dying under a terroristic nuclearized apocalyptic tyranny will instantly shift to world B which is not better since it is the same kind of tyranny with a supreme council that can be hijacked by its own president, or first councilor, and with a constant and oppressive presence of military personnel. We are living in a world that has to be either cathartic for the players who are not too evil (they will be able to be bad in the game in order to remain good in real life) or both traumatic and vindictive-making for the players who do not control their death instinct or who enjoy their death instinct when directed at other people, players who enjoy making other suffer or dying slowly, and some will eventually do it in real life for the entertainment of security forces and populist politicians.

Some will tell me that’s the rule of fantasy. But that’s not really the case in Tolkien who spent a lot of imagination and energy to build the psychology of the main characters shown as humane and human-oriented in empathy and sympathy, even when dealing with the evil forces they had to defeat. Trenton Bonner is more naïve and easily fooled by evil people and apparently he is the only one who maybe has some humanity in him. The Hobbit is human and humane because he is in a band of similar people, though all rich in psychological, psychic and supernatural diversity.

Enjoy the adventure, well the first episode of the adventure.


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