SF To The Rescue

9780307887443_cd74cReady Player One by Ernest Cline (RH/Crown; Random House Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample) rose on Amazon’s sales rankings overnight, likely due to a NYT’s article on how Science Fiction expands the creativity of engineers and coders working on virtual reality (VR).

While techies can engineer VR headsets, they don’t really know what kinds of experiences to create for them or how to explain the technology in a way that makes people buy headsets with iPod-esque frenzy.

CEOs of tech companies are turning to SF for help, hoping the genre will expand the creativity of their staff and illustrate the possibilities and range of virtual worlds that might be possible. According to the article:

“Science fiction is shaping the language companies are using to market the technology, influencing the types of experiences made for the headsets and even defining long-term goals for developers.”

The tech world’s book of choice is Ready Player One, which is given to new hires at Oculus, a leading VR company. Co-founder Palmer Luckey told the NYT,

“Like many other people working in the tech space, I’m not a creative person. It’s nice that science fiction exists because these are really creative people figuring out what the ultimate use of any technology might be. They come up with a lot of incredible ideas.”

In addition, the company Magic Leap has hired three science fiction and fantasy writers, most notably Neal Stephenson, who imagined the virtual reality Metaverse in the novel Snow Crash.

The article asserts, “Virtual reality is a medium, like television or video games.”

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