Ever since William Gibson gave us the term cyberspace in his novel Neuromancer, fiction has featured the concept of a parallel virtual space in many forms. Entire worlds that exist side by side with the real world. Some of my favorites include the Idlewild trilogy by Nick Sagan, Natural History by Justina Robson, and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.
Now that MMORPGs – Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (sometimes shortened to MMO) – are becoming more and more mainstream, where World of Warcraft is a household name as much as The Matrix, we’ll see authors finding ways to integrate this particular breed of cyberspace into their fiction.
The big question I want to ask: Is this setting entertaining? To the average gamer, it’s not much of a stretch. However, to the average reader – even those that could find cyberspace an entertaining setting even without being computer programmers or network specialists – how does an MMORPG setting come off?