As If by Michael Saler
Modern Enchantment and the Literary PreHistory of Virtual Reality

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Mr. Saler's insights could be developed in many directions...
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Named One of the "Best Books of 2012" by the Editors of The Huffington Post  Many people throughout the world "inhabit" imaginary worlds communally and persistently, parsing Harry Potter and exploring online universes. These activities might seem irresponsibly escapist, but history tells another story. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, when Sherlock Holmes became the world's first "virtual reality" character, readers began to colonize imaginary worlds, debating serious issues and viewing reality in provisional, "as if" terms rather than through essentialist, "just so" perspectives. From Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos and Tolkien's Middle-earth to the World of Warcraft and Second Life, As If provides a cultural history that reveals how we can remain enchanted but not deluded in an age where fantasy and reality increasingly intertwine.

About Michael Saler

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Michael Saler is Professor of History at the University of California, Davis.
Published December 29, 2011 by Oxford University Press. 304 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, History. Non-fiction
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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Tom Shippey on Jan 21 2012

Mr. Saler's insights could be developed in many directions...

Read Full Review of As If: Modern Enchantment and... | See more reviews from WSJ online

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