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The Laputa and VR

The Laputa shown here is from the anime film 'Castle in the Sky'. Laputa take a bewildering variety of shapes, but all share the aspect of being literally, separate micro-worlds.

The laputa is a very old concept. Coming straight from Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift, Laputa is a large part of the third tale. It is a flying island, one of the original such. A kingdom complete and unto itself, with almost no need of the world beyond. Steered by means of a gigantic lodestone in its belly, which twists and turns to repel the Earth's magnetic field and drive the island about, it is a reality unto itself. Most who are born on the island, never leave it and die ultimately, on the island. Thus, Laputa is almost analogous to a virtual world of modern and near future times.

Not a complete world in its own right, but a worldlet, a miniature world perhaps a few kilometres across at most, but complete in every detail it needs within that. In the case of a multi-user persistent VR, it is much the same, as the worldlet, anchored to no greater mass, except via the tenuous link of Internet infrastructure, forms the focal point for a community who form there.

Whilst we are not currently at the stage where people live their lives in a given VR, and ultimately die there, it is not so far fetched as it might once have seemed, particularly given occurrences with addiction in MMO platforms, and the need for some to find a better body than the physical shell they were given.

In the nearly three hundred years since Gulliver's Travels was penned, there have been near countless other laputa, some almost identical, others radically different. Yet, all share that one inalienable tenet: They are separate miniature worlds to themselves.

So too is it with virtual realities, tiny worlds from a few metres across to a hundred kilometres across, drifting through the ether of the net. Walking past the edge of any one, even if it is permissable, you can never reach any of the others, no matter how far you keep on walking.

In this way, the floating or flying island is the perfect poster child for a virtual world.


Gulliver's Travels

Tenk? no shiro Rapyuta (Castle in the Sky)

Large Image Display: AWGate 5.0: Islands in the Sky

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