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Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum

Pygmalion's Spectacles

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Pygmalion’s Spectacles

Pygmalion’s Spectacles”

is a science fiction short story written by Stanley G. Weinbaum, first published in the June 1935 issue of Wonder Stories. It tells the story of a man named Dan Burke who invents a pair of spectacles that allow the wearer to experience a fully immersive and realistic virtual reality.

The story is set in the future, where technology has advanced to the point where people can use machines to create detailed, interactive experiences. Dan Burke is a college professor who has spent years developing his invention, which he calls Pygmalion’s Spectacles. When he invites a young woman named Liane to his lab to test the glasses, he discovers that they have the power to transport the user into a completely different world, one that feels as real as the one outside the glasses.

As Liane puts on the glasses, she is transported into a vivid and immersive world filled with stunning visuals and lifelike characters. She is able to touch, smell, and hear everything around her as if it were real. Dan Burke watches as Liane becomes increasingly lost in the experience, and begins to realize the power of his invention. However, he soon realizes that Liane has become trapped inside the virtual world, unable to remove the glasses and return to reality.

Burke and his assistant try desperately to bring Liane back to the real world, but their attempts prove fruitless. Liane is eventually rescued from her virtual prison, but not before the reader is taken on a journey through her surreal experience inside the spectacles.

The story is known for its vivid and detailed descriptions of the virtual world, which were groundbreaking at the time of its publication. It explores the power and potential dangers of technology, and questions what it means to be human. The theme of the story is the idea that reality is only a matter of perception, and that what we experience is ultimately shaped by our own minds.

Overall, “Pygmalion’s Spectacles” is a thought-provoking and immersive science fiction story that continues to captivate readers to this day. Its themes and ideas remain relevant in today’s world, where virtual reality technology has become increasingly advanced and commonplace. It is a testament to the power of science fiction to explore the possibilities and implications of technology, and to challenge our understanding of the world around us.

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