Thursday, September 19, 2013

Respect Reality, but Embrace the Fantasy

            The "The Art of Immersion: Fear of Fiction", written by Frank Rose is an essay about immersive technology and literature and the reaction of people past and present. Rose starts off by reminding us of the huge success of the movie Avatar and how people gushed over the animations and how they wish they could return to the planet Pandora as if it were real. And then brings to our attention how centuries earlier that Don Quixote lost his mind reading and living so much in his books. He explains how the progression of this fear of losing ourselves in a fantasy began starting with novels, then movies, then TV and up until now with computers.
              Before movies which back then were referred to as talkies all the hype was about novels, specifically serializations which was a publication of literature in regular installments. As the popularity grew the fear and judgment did as well. According to a British critic serializations were not healthy and threw people into a state of unreal excitement, a trance. The critic claimed novels weren't up to par with more acceptable hobbies like games and socializing. Then when the TV was introduced all the fear was that everything on TV was the truth and it was hard to just put aside like with a book. Rose says that logical thoughts were no match for the glow of the TV screen.
            In this day in age it is the internet that becomes too immersive. Rose points out that we happen to live in a world where Photoshop and scripted reality shows exist. But as much as technology leaves us questioning what is real and fake, technology gives us the ability to determine what is real and fake. In the conclusion Rose states this is not what we really want, what we actually want is to be immersed in something that’s not real at all.
          I would further Rose’s argument, I think many people need an escape and crave it at times. I think it is essential to make living a little easier. It’s almost the same point Stephen King makes in his article Why We Crave Horror Movies, that horror helps us maintain our sanity and that we all secretly love to indulge in the madness. Well in my opinion Rose is trying to tell us that we should indulge ourselves in a fantasy world whether it is in a book, movie, or television show, and that really this is something we all want. For me reading a good book is like a chance to escape my problems and give myself a chance to breath. And I agree with Rose, this is something everyone wants.


  1. Yes, King and Rose were making the same argument. King compares horror movies to roller coasters. We love the thrill of what we watch, read or see. That is why we keep coming back for more

  2. Your summary's good, Maria, but you haven't really answered the question. How would you further his argument using Dracula?

  3. Oops I completely forgot about Dracula reading this. But Stoker does a good job at creating a fantasy world readers could be sucked into. For example when I was doing my reading of chapter 8 and 9 I didn't realize when chapter 9 ended and 10 started I just kept going. I was so immersed in the book, it was like I was there with the characters. And I loved every page. This furthers Rose's point.

    1. Better, but that's how your experience further his point. What was it about the book that kept you reading?