Sunday, 24 June 2007

Prologue - Part One

What follows is a true account of my struggle with heroin addiction called "Dave didn't Sleep Well", it covers the key events in this story and how I managed to overcome this demon. In the course of this struggle I faced death on a number of occasions and this lead me to wonder about the true nature of our reality, a chaotic world filled with fractals.

When movies first appeared they were in black and white and silent. Then technology advanced and we had sound, then colour, then dolby and surround sound, and digital film. Computer games developed along the way and provided the first example of interactive entertainment. Today computer games are emerging as the pre-eminent entertainment of the future.

At present in our society people are captivated by the antics of reality TV, they are hungry for real experiences. Producers are pushing the limits of what they can do to create compelling dramas,but the people on these shows know it is a TV program and so they don’t always act in a natural manner. Furthermore, producers can not allow participants to injure themselves or engage in behaviour that may pose other risks and thus this restricts plot lines.

In the next few decades our computer technology will develop to the point where we can create totally realistic, immersive and interactive environments. Technology like the mind switch is already on the way where users are attached to a head set and they learn to manipulate a computer mouse using their brain waves.

However, in order to participate in this cyber world we will all need an avatar. Just as email has become ubiquitous so too will the avatar. Todays blogs are the first primitive examples of how we will create our characters in this new virtual world. While games like Second Life are the precursors to the fully rendered 3D environments to come. In these worlds you will be able to manipulate your avatar via direct linkage with your nervous system in an environment indistinguishable from the so called 'real world'.

My novel is set in the not too distant future in Brisbane. In this future Brisbane lives Dave, a guy who wants more from life, and so decides to sign up for a new game. This game is a computer generated world in which people are placed, they are connected to a headset that re-routes their sensory system to the computer. Thus all sensory input and output are sent to the computer to generate this alternate world.

Dave agrees to become a contestant on one of these games. The game Dave signs up for involves him having to become a heroin addict and then get off the drug. The winner of the game is the contestant who does this first.

So Dave is implanted with memories that correspond with a fictional past designed to match the computer generated reality into which he is placed. Once in the game it is totally real for him, in much the same way as life is real for us once we are born.

Although Dave lives in 2035 the game world into which he is transported is set between the years 1993-2005.

The game becomes analogy for the idea that life is just an endless fractal of experience. Life inside a life inside a life. Like ouroboros we feed on our selves.

“So, Nat'ralists observe, a Flea
Hath smaller Fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em;
And so proceed ad infinitum:”

Jonathan Swift

Everytime Dave dies in the book he must respawn (from computer gaming), and this process is very similar to our ‘near death’ experiences where the individual sees life flash before them, the light calling them upward etc.

The book is based on real experiences that I survived and real people that I met and other experiences and people that are totally fabricated. Obviously the bit about being set in the future is the fabricated part, I mean that is just a literary tool to elaborate on the fractal idea, you know a story within a story and all that anyway see how you go.

``To see a World in a grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.''

William Blake

(All material copyright © GR Klein 2007)

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