Tag Archives: Holodeck

Science Fiction Today – Virtual Reality

VThe progress of virtual reality is the key to so many advancements that have already been discussed. So many Science Fiction stories end up with some sort of virtual reality element.

Sometimes virtual reality is simply the next method of escape to be able to be transported to another world. Another option is that it is used as a tool, but does not become the world in which we live. Other times it becomes everything because it becomes the way we exist in the world. It is everyday life and only possibly having to leave to eat and sleep, but at the same time work, school, everything else can exist within the virtual reality.

A Tool

The idea of virtual reality as a tool that can be used seems like it could be just around the corner. Being able to train virtually to do surgery or even do surgery from a distance because you are in a virtual reality and a machine is following along with your movements somehow.

Of course this would never be used solely for work – it would also be used for entertainment purposes. A great example of how far the technology could go can be seen with the holodeck in Star Trek. Not only is it used to help train officers through specific scenarios it also allows them to live their dreams. They can act out their favorite story or just explore someplace they have never been before. Part of what is great about virtual reality is that the possibilities are endless.

A New World

The next level of virtual reality is that it becomes the way we exist in the world. This becomes most prominent when you look at how it is used in Ready Player One. It is where people go to school and probably where people work as well, depending on their job at least. People can create their own spaces and everything can exist in those spaces.

Already we see games, music, books, videos, photos, etc. existing solely in a digital or online space. It doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch to have those same things exist in virtual reality. In the story Ready Player One they still have to come out of virtual reality to do things such as drink or eat, but the main character gets a machine that allows him to walk and thus keep his muscles from dying by being able to move while in the virtual world.

The big thing that virtual reality does is make the whole concept of space not matter because you really are one step away from being able to be in the same space – even if it is virtual.

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

Science Fiction Today – Libraries

LLast week we lined up Health Care and Immunization, and this week it’s Knowledge and Libraries. A couple of sets of things that go hand-in-hand as we look at the future. And while Holly and I might be outsiders looking in at the world of health care, there’s an inside-track when it comes to libraries: I am a librarian. So I have to try to make this post not about that…

What this post is about is the fact that libraries don’t always appear prominently in Science Fiction – though they feature prominently in Fantasy. Often there are other ways the information is kept or passed on in Science Fiction – the sorts of things Holly talked about yesterday with Knowledge. In  a world where all of human knowledge is at our fingertips… what does the future of libraries look like?

Libraries in Fantasy

“Libraries really are wonderful. They’re better than bookshops, even. I mean bookshops make a profit on selling you books, but libraries just sit there lending you books quietly out of the goodness of their hearts.”

-Walton, Jo (2011-01-18). Among Others (p. 59). Macmillan. Kindle Edition.

Hey look at all that great citation info that comes along when you copy from a Kindle book…

Often in Fantasy, and especially in Urban Fantasies or Horror Fantasies, set largely in our world only with fantastical elements, libraries are the one place that still actually has information on the ancient, forgotten past – the arcane, eldritch secrets that explain why all these crazy things are happening now.

Maybe the best example is Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, where the Scooby Gang is constantly meeting in library, getting guidance, training, and leadership from the librarian. Where the focal point of the plot, the Hellmouth, is literally sitting under the library. And where, anytime something new shows up, they go to research the new evil in the books in the library.

So libraries have ancient knowledge – but what about future knowledge?

Libraries vs. Technology

Today, it’s the Internet that seems to be making libraries “obsolete” – all the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. In the future, if we’re having knowledge beamed into our brains, if we have virtual holodecks full of the past where we can explore… where do libraries fit?

One librarian answer is that, as we find ourselves with the whole world of information at our fingertips, it is getting harder and harder to find accurate, definitive, or just generally “good” information. The need for librarians – or good journalists, for that matter – seems to be growing, not shrinking.

And despite my Among Others quote above, libraries are more than books. In a future that might include holodecks, or knowledge we can beam straight into our brains, or any number of other advances – are we really going to keep all of these devices in our own home? Star Trek makes it look easy, because they’re on their quasi-military space ships where they have the holodeck. I doubt there’s one in every home on Earth. So where might people go? Well, maybe the library.

Even today, libraries are adapting to the technological needs of the communities around them. We were browsing the video game collection at our local library earlier today (online…), and many libraries are exploring the option of having technology like 3-D printers – something you might want occasionally but not own in your home. I see no reason that these trends can’t continue into the future!

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, and also part of our occasional series on Science Fiction Today. You can read an explanation of both here. We are striving to keep these posts short, and know that we have not covered every example or angle – plenty of room for discussion!

How Close Are We To Total Gaming Immersion?

I want a holodeck.  I’ve always wanted to experience my favorite games as vividly as real life.  Whether casting deadly spells or piloting a space fighter I want to feel the crackle of spell power in my hands or the boosters ignite as I race through an asteroid field.

Ready PBut how close are we really to something like Ready Player One (if you have not already you must read through this satisfying tale of futuristic game immersion and homage to vintage gaming…seriously buy the kindle version now…I can wait).

What may have you hesitating to get too excited is the slow and painfully absent progress of new age Virtual Reality (VR). But there is hope my fellow gamers.  The convergence of several promising projects, a few of which have big backing, bring us closer than ever to the event horizon – the moment we reach the possibility of fully living in the dreams of our own creation. Continue reading