The writers about VR
“Anything that can be done to a rat can be done to a human being. And we can do most anything to rats. This is a hard thing to think about, but it’s the truth. It won’t go away because we cover our eyes. This is cyberpunk”.
Bruce Sterling, an essay “Cyberpunk in the 90-s”.
In the last quarter of the 20th century the idea of VR became one of the leading themes in the art. Its rise in the literature begun in the eghties. William Gibdon first introduced the term “virtual reality” in his short story “Burning Chrome”, edited in 1982. William Gibson originated a whole new genre – the cyberpunk, which soon became one of the most infuential amoung the sci-fi authors. Gibson introduced the main features and frames of cyberpunk world: a world in the near future, where information has become the most precious value. This world is far from perfect. The main problems of our world, such as povetry, overpopulation, food shortage, drug dealing, crime and terrorism, are hyperbolized. This world is the dark side of the information sosiety, the regulal result of liberalistion and globalisation. New technologies, including the complete VR-diving, have never solved the problems of our society. The real world, the one that man tried to leave behind, to escape from through the computer, remained grim and dull. The consumerism was reinforced. The never-ending software and hardware update results in surplus profit for corporations – and allows them to enhance their hold over the states. TNCs are becoming new superpowers in this world.
This world has its own heroes, champions for justice and freedom. Here they are the talanted hackers, struggling against TNCs and corrupted government. Each of them becomes a kind fo overhuman after connetcing to the net, being able to hack almost every database.
Cyberpunk became largely popular in Russia. Most noted Russian cyberpunk writers include Sergej Lukjanenko (his novel “Labyrinth of Reflection”, 1997-1998) and Vadim Panov (“The Enclaves”, 2005-2010). These authors are noted for shifting away from traditionally dark “gibsonian” vision of future. Lukjanenko tried to explore the idea of a virtaul town with virtual economy. VR in his world is a total reflection of physical reality: the companies are renting virtual office spaces, it has its own virtaul bars and eating houses; for a fee, one can visit virtual concerts and discussion clubs instead of usual net forums, etc. All of this became possible because of a special program, which makes a person to percieve VR as a physical reality. An array of new VR-specific services appear – from already existing virtual cinemas to virtual realty.
Vadim Panov described a collision between a new, rapid-growing world of VR and cyberspace, and old, traditional world. New world was names “Cygher Age”. It is built upon a total digitalisation of information, maximum net/reality integration; it even allows to transfer human consciousness to cyberspace.