Reality Simulation in Science Fiction Literature, Film and Television


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About the Book

In recent decades, science fiction in both print and visual media has produced an outpouring of story lines that feature forms of simulated reality. These depictions appear with such frequency that fictional portrayals of simulated worlds have become a popular sci-fi trope—one that prompts timeless questions about the nature of reality while also tapping into contemporary debates about emerging technologies. In combination with tech-driven tensions, this study shows that our collective sense of living in politically uncertain times also propels the popularity of these story lines. Because of the kinds of questions they raise and the cultural anxieties they provoke, these fictional representations provide a window into contemporary culture and demonstrate how we are reassessing our own reality.

About the Author(s)

Heather Duerre Humann teaches in the Department of Language and Literature at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is the author of multiple books and has contributed essays to edited collections and published articles, reviews and short stories in African American Review, Women’s Studies, South Atlantic Review and Studies in American Culture.

Bibliographic Details

Heather Duerre Humann

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 203
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7753-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3798-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction: Simulation or Reality? The Uncanny Valley 1

Section 1. Simulated Worlds in Science Fiction Literature  27
One. Whose Reality Counts? Subjectivity in Simulacron-3 and The Plagiarist 33
Two. Shifting Reality in Amnesia Moon and Chronic City 47
Three. Playing in the Virtual World: Ready Player One 57
Four. Reconstructing Reality in Tomorrow and Tomorrow 66
Five. “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™”: Authenticity in the Virtual Realm? 76

Section 2. Simulated Realms in Film  83
Six. Simulation (in) Theory: Josef Rusnak’s The Thirteenth Floor 87
Seven. Simulated Dreamscapes in Christopher Nolan’s Inception 95
Eight. Mixed Reality in Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch 105
Nine. Representation and Reality in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch 115

Section 3. Reality Simulation in Television  128
Ten. Consciousness and Constructed Realities in Altered Carbon and Westworld 133
Eleven. Reality Simulation Revisited: Black Mirror 143
Twelve. Manic Mind Trips in Maniac 154
Thirteen. Virtual Reality in Reverie 165

Conclusion: Slipping into the Virtual 173
Bibliography 179
Index 191