I'm currently reading Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, and even though I'm only fifty pages in, it's already provoked some interesting questions and thoughts.
Aria lives in Reverie, and enclosed community where the lines of reality are blurred. Everything in Reverie is so advanced that people never fall ill, they live for centuries, and they can have any kind of experience they want through the computerized eyepatch that they wear. These people live in a world of virtual reality, constantly immersing themselves in this illusion dubbed the Realms, forgoing real human touch and interactions for something "softer." It's an obsession, an addiction, and the people of the community are kept busy enough with walks on a virtual beach, becoming mermaids in an underwater concert, playing sports, or visiting an art museum.
You can go anywhere you want without moving a muscle, so who in their right mind would take the eyepatch off and actually be ordinarily human in the gray, metal dome that is Reverie?
One night, Aria and a group of her friends venture off into an area that is off limits - Agriculture 6 - an area that could be contaminated by the dangerous world outside of Reverie. According to the rumors, it's been damaged, and their curiosity eats away any common sense. But in order to get access without anyone getting a whiff of their shenanigans, they have to shut their eye patches down, cutting them off from the world that they know ~ the virtual world of the Realms.
Don't worry, I won't tell you what happens when they break and enter... I just wanted to get to the interesting way they saw the real world and how Aria reacted to having the truth of things get up close and personal.
How could gray seem less vibrant. ... She couldn't believe people lived this way once, with nothing but the real.
Aria comes face to face with things she's never seen "in the flesh," such as trees, leaves, and fire. It's all beautiful and frightening and reminds her of "old times." There's a hint of magic in the closeness of these things she's only seen in her eyepatch, but as she puts it, the technology that they've created took the magic and mystery out of everything that people could have ever known.
When you can get anywhere and see anything, even the mythological, with a single thought, what's the point of sweating, working, or using your own thoughts to create anything yourself?
Aria feels disoriented once her eyepatch is shut down. The world she sees through the filmy patch shows its faults, unlike in the Realms where every scene is beautiful and perfect. Her friend, Paisley grabs her hand, and Aria cringes at the rough contact of cold, clammy skin against hers. She hasn't touched or been touched by anyone in months.
Everything is amplified from the sounds to the smells to the air.
Inhaling suddenly felt like suicide.Living in the "real" is unpleasant and disorienting for Aria, as if the artificial Realms were her truth and the environment surrounding her is the lie. Being "human" is messy, uncomfortable, and totally in-your-face. The sensations will always be more, something a computer can't generate, and it's overwhelming for Aria.
Under the Never Sky brings us to an extreme example of how technology completely takes over our lives, leaving us helpless and confused without it. For most of us, computers consume every part of our day... Whether it be a screen like I'm typing at right now or the smartphones that we carry with us wherever we go. Our virtual reality right now are things like Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks where we don't really have to connect face to face with people. Email, videocams, and the internet have made our world even more expansive, allowing us to interact without really interacting.
I don't know if this is a good or a bad thing, but it's something that is snowballing quickly, and there's not much we can do to slow it down. If you don't keep up, you get left behind, and while I know a few diehards who still do without an internet connection, that number is getting fewer and further between.
I love technology, but it also scares me how reliant people have become. And after reading the first few chapters of Under the Never Sky, I'm definitely beginning to wonder not if but when our world will become completely virtual.
It's a real possibility...
Happy Reading Everyone :)
~ Keely ~