Defying Reality by David Ewalt review – the revolution will be virtualised


With the continuous stream of virtual reality hardware coming out (The Oculus Go, HTC Vive Focus, and Lenovo Mirage Solo this year alone) and the exciting possibility of VR arcades in the United States, it seems our fully-realised, fully-integrated VR future is tantalisingly close.  But how did it all begin? Where is it going? And how long will it take until our virtual and real-world realities become indistinguishable?

David Ewalt answers these questions and more in the comprehensive DEFYING REALITY: The Inside Story of the Virtual Reality Revolution. He traces the emergence of virtual reality from its origins in the optical physics of the 19th century, when Sir Charles Wheatstone identified stereopsis or depth perception – the process by which our eyes create a three-dimensional image by capturing two perspectives at once. It’s been a fascinating journey since then, through Victorian zoetropes and early red/blue 3D movies, the the development of video game graphics, and hardware like Google Glass. Ewalt is an entertaining writer, and his breezy, engaging narrative zips along to a conclusion that looks confidently to the future.

A contributing editor to both Forbes magazine and Reuters, Ewalt is a self-professed ‘writer, gamer, geek’. His previous book, Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons and Dragons and the People Who Play It, was lauded for its wit and depth of insight, and was described as ‘a joy to read’ by The Undercover Economist author Tim Harford. This is a comprehensive exploration of a technology on the very bleeding edge of development, and a look to a sci-fi future growing closer by the minute.

Defying Reality: The Inside Story of the Virtual Reality Revolution is out on the 12th of July from Blue Rider Press.

(9781101983713, Hardback, £19.99)

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