Celeste's Third Annual Writing Competition
Here is the story invitation, from Celestial Reviews 294, by Celeste (Celeste801@aol.com).
About 50 years ago Ray Bradbury wrote a story called "The Veldt." In that story a family has a nursery for their children that includes what we would now call a virtual reality playroom. When the children go into the playroom, they get the authentic feeling of being in an actual veldt - a jungle area populated by mysterious and dangerous animals. Complications arise when the playroom takes on a life of its own - when the virtual reality becomes more real than virtual. You can imagine what happens when Mom and Dad decide to close down the playroom - or you can read the story (which is in Bradbury's book entitled "The Illustrated Man") to see how Bradbury handles the ending.
Your job is to write a story based on the general premise of a virtual reality playroom. Feel free to change almost everything. You can have adults rather than children, and you don't need non-human animals at all. In fact, it might be best not to even look at Bradbury's story at all - let your own imagination have full play. Bradbury's story is actually a Frankenstein story with a moral - what happens when we fail to understand technology and its limitations? Your story doesn't have to be like that at all. You don't even need to know that Bradbury himself once said that "man's machines are indeed symbols of his most secret cravings and desires, extra hands put out to touch and interpret the world."
Here are all stories from the competition, ranked according to how I think Celeste would rank them:
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