People keep saying metaverse. I ask them what they mean.
Games, they might say. Which ones, I say. You know, the ones with lots of people in them; what's the one with the blocks? You know the one? I asked if they've played those games. Their kids have, sometimes.
Virtual reality, they might say. This is often the answer from people trying to convince you to wear glasses that constantly record the people around them and then upload those recordings to places the people being recorded have no awareness of or control over.
I ask them if they've read Snow Crash and what they think of it. We (agree to, in the way that you do when you know the conversation has reached a certain point) change the subject.
There are many books I haven't yet read (as my creaking shelves remind me daily) and there are many things I'll never understand and also I will never try to sell you always-on surveillance glasses.
There are some games (like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, breakout hit of the Season 1 of the pandemic) that are temporally aware: time passes there as time passes without; the seasons are aligned; the world spins on the same axis. When you play games like this you are immersed but not lost in a different world.
Then there are games (like Hades, revered by people who appreciate narrative design and who secretly / not so secretly hope there'll one day be a better set of attempts at turning the Percy Jackson series into movies, or like The Sims, or Breath of the Wild) that are aware only of their own temporality. When you play games like these you might find that you forget what time is, even.
People keep saying metaverse. I wish they could say what they mean.
Circulate riches to every spirit and spine
Stack rhyme schemes and prophecy
Humanity and hypotheses
Guard our stories, stretching from soil to sky
Common and crown, ground level to grand heights
And all of our mass in the middle
Mass, in the middle
The accumulated weight of all our question marks
Our catalog of anxious cells and eager breaths
—from The Library by Dasha Kelly Hamilton