Virtual Reality: The Biosoft as Stand-Alone SimStim
Machine dreams hold a special vertigo. . . [he] and fought his nausea. Again, he closed his eyes.... It came on, again. gradually. a flickering, nonlinear flood of fact and sensory data, a kind of narrative conveyed in surreal jump cuts and juxtapositions. It was vaguely like riding a roller coaster that phased in and out of existence at random. impossibly rapid intervals, changing altitude, attack, and direction with each pulse of nothingness, except that the shifts had nothing to do with any physical orientation, but rather with lightning alternations in paradigm and symbol system. The data had never been intended for human input.
Eyes open, he pulled the thing from his socket and held it, his palm slick with sweat. It wa s like waking from a nightmare. Not a screamer, where impacted fears took on simple, terrible shapes, but the sort of dream, infinitely more disturbing, where everything is perfectly and horribly normal, and where everything is utterly wrong . . . The int imacy of the thing was hideous. He fought down waves of raw transference, bringing all his will to bear on crushing a feeling that was akin to love, the obsessive tenderness a watcher comes to feel for the subject of prolonged surveillance. [CZ 23-24]
It was the intimacy of the thing that still disturbed him, and perhaps the feeling of fear sprang from that. Certam fragments seemed to have an emotional power entireiy out of proportion to their content. Why should a memory of a plain hallway in som e dingy Cambridge graduate dormitory fill him with a sense of guilt and self-loathing? [CZ 38]
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