Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter addresses the allure of virtual dystopias and their connection to the sublime. Normally considered repellant rather than compelling, virtual dystopias owe their attraction to the sublime transcendence they offer. Beauty invokes pleasure and identification, while the sublime, through terror and shock, forces one to grapple with the unknown and with the nature of existence. The sublime has often been associated with nature, but more recently has been connected to the digital world and visions of cyberspace. Virtual dystopias offer a type of sublime transcendence that allows people to confront terror and horror, without “actually” having to experience it. However, the relationship between virtual dystopia and reality is complex and porous. These themes are explored through exemplars from three different media spanning three decades of computer-inspired virtuality: William Gibson’s novel Mona Lisa Overdrive, the film Inception, and the multiplayer online game World of Warcraft.

Keywords: sublime, virtual, dystopia, World of Warcraft, William Gibson, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Inception, film, cyberspace

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.