Virtual Reality in Fact and Fiction

With Oculus Rift headsets and touch components now readily available, the virtual world is becoming more of a reality. However, science fiction authors have been looking ahead towards its possibilities for decades. What does the future hold for our virtual lives? The following books explore the theme in fact and fiction.

Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality, Elias Aboujaoude

Stanford psychiatrist Aboujaoude explores the phenomena of the e-personality and how it may impact our day-to-day lives even when we are offline. The author asserts that all of us possess an e-personality which may differ in subtle or extreme ways from our in-person self. Most of us are bolder and more impulsive online whether purchasing products, sending email or posting to social media- and even more so when anonymous in chat forums or interactive games. The author suggests guidelines for managing the potential dangers of this contemporary phenomenon.

Virtual Reality, Josh Gregory

For young readers age 8-12, this new guide explains the latest in virtual reality technology as well as the history and future innovation prospects.

Ready, Player One, Ernest Cline

There’s still time to read this science fiction gem before the movie comes out in 2018! In the year 2044, fossil fuel exhaustion and climate change have degraded the quality of life on Earth. Most humans escape the bleakness by entering the virtual reality world of OASIS. In OASIS they can access any book ever written, explore other planets and have endless adventures. Even more compelling, the creator of OASIS, who was obsessed with 80s pop culture, left a fortune to whomever could solve a complex puzzle after his death. Trivia from that decade are the keys to unlock the prize. With stakes so high, some are willing to kill to win.

Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson

“This Snow Crash thing--is it a virus, a drug, or a religion?” Juanita shrugs. “What's the difference?” Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for the Mafia while living in a converted storage unit and hacking in his spare time. But in the virtual world known as the Metaverse, he’s an elite sword fighting warrior on a mission to track down a deadly virus – Snow Crash – that has the power to destroy both worlds. Cyber punk villains and robot dogs populate this action-packed adventure. Some say this book predicted the online world Second Life.

-Suzanne LaPierre, City of Fairfax Regional Library

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