Fictional Worlds in the Digital Age

  1. Fictional Worlds in the Digital Age

essay by Marie-Lauren Ryan, Digital Humanities.ORG


What did you pick, and why?

  1. During my undergraduate studies, I was taught that reading served as an escape into a new world, and for my senior seminar class, one of the students wrote her final essay on the creation of fictional worlds and it interested me, so I wanted to look further into the topic.

What is the author’s key or central topic/issue?

  1. Her key and central issue was about the pleasures of literature and how the mind reaches the most fulfillment when immersing in a fictional world.
  2. She states that some works prohibit this pleasure, which are highbrow works, and her argument is that “it is pointless to demystify textual worlds as constructed by language or other types of signs if the imagination were not spontaneously inclined to pretend that these worlds are real”.
  3. She wants to ask in her essay what effect digital media has on the experience of fictional worlds and the practice of fiction.

What is the author arguing or explaining?

  1. In order for there to be a fictional world, the text has to be a fiction since “it invites its users to imagine a world”.
  2. Fiction is like performing the act of “make-believe”. It’s like role-playing in a virtual reality which helps with following the pleasures of literature. To immerse the mind in the fictional world.
  3. She writes her essay mostly on the different ways in which fictional worlds are using digital media to create their world and grow.
    1. The pleasures of world building: she talks about how the internet has allowed for people and fans to create these world with their imagination, thus making it a creative activity. She explains the history of world building and its evolution of time and with new updates occurring within the digital media.
    2. Worlds as playgrounds: She explains how digital media like video games allow the player to impersonate a character and being a part of this evolving fictional world. She explains the French sociologist’s two types of gaming: the paidia and the ludus.
    3. Expandable worlds and worlds out of worlds: she explains how through time, these fictional words have evolved and started to spontaneously network with companies thus connecting the fictional world with the real world but still maintaining its own community in the fictional world. This connection is only a way for the world to expand and make money but still be its own fictional virtual reality.
    4. Living worlds: In this section, she explains the laws of the fictional worlds and how it all depends on the player and their persistence. They all start at the bottom and make their way up through quests or by perhaps buying props that will help them move faster within this virtual world.
    5. She ends her essay by explaining online worlds and how fiction and reality affect them. Reality affects online worlds when networks and shopping for props are involved, but it is still fiction because if a player decides to call it a real world, they are valuing this virtual reality over their own reality.   

What are the “stakes” or importance of this topic/issue?

The importance of this issue is when this world expands, what is it affecting. SO with money and selling stuff, the product only has value if others see it with the same value, but there’s an issue with proving to many that this is not area world since it lacks material existence. (580)

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