Trope-a-Day: A Glitch in the Matrix

A Glitch in the Matrix: Avoiding this sort of thing, when it comes to virtual reality, is one of the few legitimate uses for the Out-of-Mind visual textures. (Others mostly including hiding gifts and playing really terrible practical jokes.)

A more commonly seen variant are “weavespiders”, small metallic fractal spiders (which everyone knows to ignore) used in virtual realms to collect trash, reassemble broken scenery, and otherwise do maintenance. While, obviously enough, this can simply be done programmatically without requiring any visual metaphor, reifying them like this is a simple way of avoiding the uncanny valley effect of changes “just happening” with no apparent in-world cause.

5 thoughts on “Trope-a-Day: A Glitch in the Matrix

  1. …playing really terrible practical jokes

    You know, given the local attitudes towards apparent assault, battery, and other property violations (“Shoot first, ask questions later”), de minimis requirements for legal filings (i.e. none at all), and general up-putting with screwing with people (“Not one step down the slippery slope!”), I’m somewhat surprised the eldrae would be tolerant of practical jokes at all.

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    • Alternatively it suggests that practical jokers are truly terrifying individuals, combining expert legal knowledge, special forces combat skills and “screw the rules, I have money” like some kind of cybernetic warrior trickster god.

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      • This is a good point.

        It also sounds uncannily like something I’m working on for a little worldbuilding project of my own.

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    • If I had to hazard a guess, practical jokery from folks who are well-known and who are known to respect boundaries is probably taken well, while pranksterism from sophs who are not so well-known is looked upon dubiously at best. Or, put another way, there’s likely a very strong taboo against pranking strangers, and the Done Thing is likely for any prank to have a clearly identifiable hallmark of who the prankster is.

      Pure conjecture, on my part, but putting myself into that mindspace, that’s what I come up with.

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      • Yep, all of that.

        I’ve also said a few words regarding their style of humor here, which gives a good idea of the boundaries to stay within, and, of course, one should steer clear of entropism (injury and/or property damage == not funny) and cacophilia.

        So the scope is considerably more limited that what might pass on Earth, but there’s still room. Stick within it, and make sure to prank people who’re likely to take it in good part and laugh along, and you can be a practical joker there , no trouble.

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