ready-player-one-book-shad-transThere are two predictable results after you experience VR presence for the first time:

  1. you imagine a bevy of wonderful as-yet-unwritten VR applications
  2. you want to know when you can get a kit for your home

Part 2 is hard to answer. Part 1 is easier. Aaaannd…

Science fiction writers have thankfully been tackling this challenge, with far more imagination than us, for the past 20 years. The genre is dubbed CyberPunk. Here’s your reading list. Happy Summer.

Required Reading 
for the here and now 
Days of Virtual Reality : Past, Present, Future 

1. Down and out in the Magic Kingdom
by Cory Doctorow

Jump start your brain cells with this warped view of a possible future, where everything is provided and people only work on the things they love, and money is social credit. It takes a few chapters to get your bearing on this one, yet persevere, its worth it.

 2. Hackers
by Steven Levy

the true story of how the modern computing revolution started. Including absolutely fascinating stories about MIT hacker culture, and the founding of both Apple and Microsoft. Must read to get your history on, and see context for where we are today. 

3. The Diamond Age
by Neal Stephenson

This dense read grows on you with time. Presents a very distant future where nano-tech is pervasive and global society has splintered into massive groups of haves- and have-nots, as well as spiritualists vs. technologists… wait a second, that kind of sounds like today… you’re starting to get it. Read on.

4. The Age of Spiritual Machines
by Ray Kurzweil

This is one of the most mind blowing books I’ve ever read. In fact, its the only book that I went out and bought 10 copies of to share with my friends. Kurzweil is a genuine genius, having invented both the modern music synthesizer as well as voice recognition. A unique and mind shattering view of what is to come once machines transcend human intelligence.

5. Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline

As Snow Crash was to the 90s, RPO is to the 10s. A refreshing view of a world goggled in to a compelling VR land, and a delightful journey through 80s techno-trivia. EverQuest? World of WarCraft? Get ready for OASIS.

6. Snow Crash
by Neal Stephenson
The grand mama of cyberpunk. A rude and awakening and punchy vision of a post-technology world where hip youngsters and global corporations mash together to save the world. Since you’ve read this far, go ahead and read this one first.

5 thoughts on “Virtual Reality : Required Reading

    1. Thanks Nils. You’re now the third person whose recommended Vinge’s work to me. Gonna have to check it out. You know who claims him to be a favorite author? None other than Daniel Suarez, of Daemon and Freedom fame.

  1. I really liked Daemon as well. Much scarier perspective on the possible outcomes than Vinge’s. And coming from a similar technology premise – that AR will or could overlay all our experiences.

    And in case you haven’t read them already, two more books that are worth reading – although more VR-focused than AR – are True Names, also by Vinge (one of the seminal works on cyberspace), and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Ready Player One is like the flipside of Daemon – instead of leaving the world with an evil daemon, the ultra-rich dead game developer leaves the world with a game that actually has a good outcome.

    1. LOL – obviously didn’t reread the original post before writing my reply to your reply – you have Ready Player One in prime position already!

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