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Myth and VR (Virtual Reality) recommended books

By Sean Hester, Developer

My first 3D experience was with a Tomytronic: a handheld gaming platform that you hold up to your eyes like a pair of binoculars, while you raced around curving tracks or shooting monsters as they fell from the sky. When I was a teenager, I remember seeing the film Lawnmower Man and being really excited by the prospects of virtual reality.

As child of the 80’s, I have grown up with an ever-increasing amount of tech surrounding me. Now, VR is the one making big headlines. Although VR technology has been around since the 1950’s, recent advancements in headsets and displays means that we can look forward to some big surprises this year.

Lawnmower Man has not aged well, but my enthusiasm for VR has not wavered. At Omobono, we are now working on VR projects and producing 360° videos, which for me is a dream come true.

VR is set to be the buzzword of the year. Big brands such as Coca Cola and Mc Donald’s are even producing headsets. As we have just kicked off the Omobono book club, I thought it would be good time to compile a list of fictional novels that have kept me thirsting for more VR.

In no particular order, they are:

Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson (1992)

This was my first VR book and the one that got me into cyber punk as a genre. Hiro Protagonist is a pizza delivery driver who in real life works for Uncle Enzo, a mob boss, but in the Metaverse is a highly skilled warrior and hacker who discovers a virus affecting players both in the Metaverse and in real life. Hiro finds himself caught right in the middle and has to use his knowledge of the Metaverse to help find the people responsible before the virus consumes everyone.

Ready Player One – Ernest Clyne (2011)

This was a book I could not put down. The 80’s references are chocked full throughout the book – imagine Willy Wonka crossed with the Matrix. Wade Watts spends most of his time in the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. He has devoted most of his life to studying puzzles hidden within the digital world that were left by OASIS’ former creator, promising power and fortune to whomever can unlock them. After Wade discovers the first clue, he finds that there is a world out there prepared to kill to get the ultimate prize.

Neuromancer – William Gibson (1984)

This one is a bit of a cheat, as I’m still currently working my way through, but I am really enjoying it. The book is held in high esteem within the Sci Fi communities.

Case was a cowboy cruising the information superhighway; one of the best – jacking his consciousness into the Matrix, soaring through tactile latices of data and logic, rustling encoded secrets for anyone with the money to buy his skills. But then he makes the classic mistake and steals from his employers – who catch him and burn the talent out of his brain, micron by micron. Banished from cyberspace, trapped in the meat of his physical body, Case courts death in the high-tech Chiba underworld…until a new employer, and his scary little Razorgirl, scoops him up and offers him the cure he thought didn’t exist… in return for one last run.

This is just a small selection of books available that include VR themes and each one is worth checking out. What I love about these books is that they explore the possibilities of what the future of VR may offer – for better or for worse. You might just find a new favourite book. Let me know if you think I have missed a great book and I will add it to my list.

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