Last week I read Ernest Cline's fabulous Ready Player One, a dystopian sci-fi novel at the heart of which is the fact that most humans now spend most of their time not "in" the world but "in" a different electronically created universe. To solve their quest, characters fly in spaceships to different planets. The characters are all double: characters, then characters-in-the-game, a re-enlivening of Gidean mise-en-abyme. Point is: these future humans almost forget their bodies and the material realities that make 24-hour gaming "possible." Now what do we find? Such a game is currently being created by a team of programmers in Guilford. "Players will begin at the outer edges of a galaxy containing 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 unique planets," writes the New Yorker. Lest we think this merely escapist, let us perhaps think that it might provide a new generation of gamers with something other than shooting random beings, perhaps with an idea of the "ecological thought" (Morton), for the game articulates multiple environments: "Each planet had a distinct biome. On one, we encountered a friendly-looking piscine-cetacean hybrid with a bulbous head. (Even aggressive creatures in the game do not look grotesque.) In another, granular soil the color of baked salt was embedded with red coral; a planet hung in the sky, and a hovering robot traversed the horizon." Perhaps. I can't say the trailer (see below-and which I only watched after writing what precedes) really communicates this hope, but let's wait and see.
Project THE HUMANIST anthropocene
is a thought archive and workspace of Phillip John Usher (NYU) at the crossroads of early modern humanism and the problems and insights of the Anthropocene. Main Research Page.
ASLE (Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment)
Environmental Humanities (journal)
Resilience (A Journal of the Environmental Humanities)
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