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When I die I shall be content to vanish into nothingness.... No show, however good, could conceivably be good forever.... I do not believe in immortality, and have no desire for it. ~H.L. Mencken


I confess to having reached a quandary in my Harsh Realm reverie and hope that the great and good amongst you will be able to assist with it - it relates to the shared mortality of the VR simulacrum and their human counterparts. I appreciate that Harsh Realm never had time to explore it's own mysteries and, therefore, offers scant pickings for our dissection but I wondered how others had interpreted/understood what little we are treated to.

I am sure, though cannot be certain in which episode this occurs, that it is stated that if you die in the 'Realm' then you die also in the real world but we see that this fate does not befall Sophie when her VR character is digitised by Waters. Obviously there is a difference between those inserted into the realm, and wired up to the game in the 'Coma Hangar', and those who simply have a VR counterpart acting independently in the 'Realm'. Now this is all fine and dandy with me until the intimation in 'Reunion' that a VR entity cannot exist without the continuing existence of its real world persona: namely that the VR Mrs. Hobbes suffers the same terminal fate as her 'Realm' character. It would seem that the experiences of the real entity and the VR entity are so inextricably linked that their shared demise allows them to somehow become a corresponding point in space/time, a conduit if you will, allowing Sophie and Tom a fleeting glance of each other and their worlds. This makes perfect sense to me as the 'Realm' is simply a recreation and reflection of our own world and as such many delete it's characters as our world deletes it's but I became aware upon the second viewing of Reunion that it is noted that the VR Mrs. Hobbes falls ill sometime before the real one - harking back to the original premise that one's death in the 'Realm' is a death in the real world.

It could be that this concept of shared mortality is, in fact, reciprocal with the events in the 'Realm' and the real world having a more profound effect upon each other than originally intended by the programmers. But it begs the question how Sophie is seemingly free of this cycle as she remains happy well when her counterpart is killed - Mrs. Hobbes seems to be evidence against the theory that it is necessary to be plugged into the game to have a link between the two realities. I also wondered if this has some bearing on the statement that VR characters cannot return to the real world as, presumably, there is no host body for them return to? It would seem that Reunion tantalises us with the idea that the VR characters can effect their human counterparts and can visit our world to some degree as Mrs. Hobbes seems to have knowledge of the events of either realm in each reality. I wonder if his is what is referred to in Leviathan when it is stated that some characters believe there is 'somewhere', another existence beyond their digitisation, not unlike our concept of heaven.

Does anyone else think the potential for storytelling is immense? I sat the other night and mused over the questions Chris Carter would have explore given half the chance and I could think of a who magnitude of things the premise of Harsh Realm would have allowed him to cover. I would have loved to have seen the meeting of Hobbes et. al. with their VR counterparts as it is not improbable to think that they too were '...written in lines of digital code..." when the game first went on-line. It is after all the reproduction of every man women and child...

anyone any thoughts?


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Guest lonegungrrly1121

I thought that Mrs Hobbes died because the cancer was written into her VR character. I too noticed that Virtual Mrs Hobbes fell ill before the real Mrs Hobbes, but I put this down to the conditions where she was living. she was a slave, working day in day out until she became ill. the real mrs Hobbes would probably have better living conditions and better treatment to hold off her illness for longer. The question this poses for me is, why is Pinnochio un injured in the game when it says that you enter the game with everything- even undetected cancer- you possess in the real world. Is it because it was not written in his DNA, becasue it was a freak accident? or maybe they modified the game to entice him to enter it....

The death of Mrs Hobbes is very different than that of Sophie. she died by a gun shot. this wasn't written into her program because it was murder, not a natural death. this explains why the real life Sophie was not affected.

as for Hobbes' virtual counterpart, he is in episode 10. the virtual Hobbes vanished as soon as the real Hobbes entered the game... I love this show. so thought provoking! limitless storytelling! I really wanted to know more about Pinnochio and Inga. Was their relationship in the real world or HR do you think?

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Guest ZeusFaber

My view of the events in "Reunion" have always been that they resist precise deciphering. While it can perplex you and make you want to make sense of it according to the rules of the Realm, I think it is indicative of the metaphysical mysteries going on, essentially that there is more than meets the eye. I think the idea being presented for consideration is that perhaps HR is more than the some of its parts, not just a computer programme, that it has somehow become something more. I think there are many elements that can be simply explained according to the rules of the Realm, that someone like Pinnochio might inform us about. However, I think it is the things that can't be explain in this manner that raise all the more questions, and all the more interest.

So, paradoxically, my explanation for Hobbes' mother's fate in "Reunion" (and that she is treated by the same doctor) is that it doesn't have an explanation -- and in a way I think that is the point.

Did that make any sense?

As for Hobbes et al meeting their VR counterparts, "Circe" seemed to suggest that when you enter the Realm you instantaneously replace your VC character written into the code, so that there are never two of the same person walking around. Before reading the script, this is what I had conjectured also.

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All good stuff,

I agree with Zeus that there were frequent hints to the Realm being more arcane, more metaphysical than the intentions of the original programming and there were sure and certain 'hints' along the journey that Chris Carter would have delved into the physics of the Realm had events transpired differently. I also agree with Lonegungrryly, after reading her thoughts, that since Mrs. Hobbes' cancer was encoded into the matrix of her VR simalcrum it makes sense that the differing life experiences of the two counterparts would have influenced the developmental rate of their cancer. I also believe that this type of format, examining the correspondences and lack of between the two counterparts, was the beginning of a thread that I am sure would have garnered some later explanation. There are too many aspects in Harsh Realm that deal with the enigma of the same persona existing in two dimensions for it all to have been without meaning but as you all know this is a great failing of mine, the inability to accept that writers engender things with the necessary degree of ambivalence to suggest that their stories have no real intention - I accept I am very probably wrong but remain ever-biased. What I will conclude though is that there is far too little evidence to allow for a successful decryption, or prediction, of what events do and would grow to portray - but I still try anyway: ignorance is bliss. This is the criminality of it all to my mind - Chris Carter was treated so terribly unfairly and his creations should have been allowed to grow.

I think the issue with the mighty Pinnochio is explained in Manus Domini and it is, as you suggest, that he agreed to enter the Realm in exchange for a 'healed' form. It is also noted, I believe, that this is the single greatest motivating factor for his intention to remain there.


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  • 2 years later...
Guest peas_and_corn

I agree with you regarding the idea that Pinnochio entering the realm healed. This in turn brings forth the wuestion of whether he had some choice in the matter. Hobbes clearly had no choice whether he wanted to go into the Realm, but did Pinnochio? This wasn't fully explored in the few episodes that were made.

Regarding your initial point about Mrs Hobbes, while it is easy to merely dismiss it, there seems to be more at work happening. The recurrence of her cancer can be thought of as merely a relapse, as quite commonly occurs, but the timing of her relapse (when did it start? was it before or after Hobbes went into HR?) seems to be in conjunction to her HR character. The parallel that occurs between HR and RL seems to be something that would provide for fascinating scripts if it was allowed more time to show what it was all about. Sadly, this didn't happen :(

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