Gunner Skale by James Dashner
Gunner is a gamer in a world where people spend a lot of time in a virtual reality. Gunner is different from other gamers in that he can program his own places. He has made hide-outs in many places he has visited and invites others to discuss things. The only problems is that someone knows. Someone knows about Gunner’s hidey-holes and they know how to get in. What happens is terrifying.
What I liked
It’s interesting to think about existing in this digital place. Recently I watched an episode of Black Mirror that was about this very thing, well not about the exact circumstances of the book, but similar. People could essentially vacation in a digital world, in whatever time they chose. When they died, they could choose to upload their consciousness to this digital world and just stay there forever, while their body decomposed, or was cremated, whatever the case may be.
I think if we could send our conscious brain into a digital world many of us wouldn’t want to leave. Why live in the real world when you can live in this virtual place where you can control what you want to control and be who you want to be? The scary part of this idea is that you may not always control the virtual environment, in fact, unless you’re a coder, you’re certainly not controlling your virtual environment.
What I didn’t like
This is a bit too techno-woo for me. The difference between science fiction and fantasy, or one of the differences anyway, is that science fiction could actually happen and fantasy probably can’t happen. I’m not saying that vampires will never be a reality, maybe they could, but most likely they won’t be. Could we have cyborgs and faster than light space travel? Yeah, there’s a chance that we could. Who knows if it will ever happen though. Some science fiction seems highly unlikely though and that’s my idea of techno-woo.
You think you wrote your code to be un-hackable, well, you were wrong.
Would you trade your reality for a virtual reality?
Do you think you could hide your digital hide out?
Altered States by Paddy Chayefsky
Jessop is a scientist. He’s heard about this great thing down in South America. People gather in a group and they take a local drug and have a spiritual experience. Jessop has already been experimenting with sensory deprivation tanks and thinks that he can add this drug to his regimen. He takes the drug back to his lab, with the tanks, and starts to experiment.
Meanwhile, Jessop gets married. His wife isn’t sure of his devotion to her, even though she loves him.
Something strange happens to Jessop when he’s taking the drug in the tank. He hallucinates the heck, out of things, but he kind of turns into an ape, or ape-like creature. He thinks he’s gone back through his genetic ancestry to a time when the missing link between humans and apes lived and walked upon the Earth. One incident has Jessop waking up in the zoo after a night of romping with a bunch of wild dogs, as an ape creature.
Can the research continue after this pivotal moment? Is it getting too dangerous? Is there physical proof of this thing happening? No one else saw Jessop turning into an ape, maybe he was just tripping his balls off.
What I liked
My boyfriend, Grizzly Pirate Wynn, asked me to read this book because he likes it. It’s short and I want to be able to discuss books with my boyfriend, so I read it. I really like that my boyfriend has an interest in books. I actually think he’s spent more money on books than I have since we’ve been together. Crazy.
I like the thought that went into this book. Certainly there was a question involved, or more than one question actually. Can we ever revert to a former genetic place in our history? Is there an outside substance that can cause you to do so, if it’s possible to revert back genetically?
I kind of want to try a sensory deprivation tank. I think it would be nice. I love being in the dark and quiet, especially when I’m trying to sleep. Maybe I would just fall asleep in a sensory deprivation tank.
What I didn’t like
I do not think this is possible. In fact, I’m pretty sure this isn’t possible. I’m just going to say it’s not possible. Whether you believe we descended from monkeys or lizard people, we cannot revert back to some former genetic state. We cannot jump ahead, nor can we go back. I can’t suddenly take something that makes me what a human will be like in a thousand years, which is probably fairly similar to today because we’ve been the same for a while. I can’t revert back to an amoeba or ape or whatever. Genetics don’t go backwards. Elephants can’t turn into Mastodons
The fanciful element of this book is interesting, but entirely not possible, not even fringe science possible, not even healing crystals with your chakras possible, not even snake oil possible.
I also don’t do drugs. So the drug part of this book wasn’t really my thing. I mean, it’s cool if you somehow have a spiritual experience while dropping acid, but that’s a thin line. You can’t be dropping acid every time you need to pray to Jesus over your lost car keys.
Bath salts and a big tub, sounds like a great idea.
Would you do a hallucinogenic drug and get in a sensory deprivation tank?
If you could go forward or backward in the evolution of human kind, which direction would you go and why? Remember, there’s no guarantee that humans will be better in the future.