|Beautiful World by Kristina Tracer is a near-future sci-fi erotic suspense novel.
Here, a company has created Irokai, a virtual-reality world that's a cross between the Matrix and Second Life. It's very reminiscent of Snow Crash's metaverse, except that Irokai is self-contained system; if you want to access it, you have to go to one of the company's buildings and hook up. While in the real world everyone is a human, for some reason in Irokai everyone is an anthropomorphic animal. Also inside Irokai, there are AI programs who self-develop - they aren't programmed so much as grown, so they operate on an independent level, unaware of their code.
The story follows Johnathan, an artist who is in love with one of the AI programs inside Irokai. He has gotten a job with the company to design a new area in-world. There is a process that allows Johnathan to actually be permanently uploaded into the Irokai database - his body dies but his personality, memories, etc are uploaded into Irokai, making him a permanent resident. This way John can live with his love.
Yet all is not well in the land of Irokai. Because this is a private company running the show, everything costs money. Want to teleport instead of walk? That's a charge. Want to design a mod for your avatar? That's a charge. Want to eat something? That's a charge. Included in the charges are things like the Residents of Irokai (those AI programs and the people who have uploaded themselves) have to pay rent in order to be kept online. If they don't, they are just backed up and turned off. This is causing some issues of civil rights, of being taxed to live, and there's a revolution afoot.
- Beautiful World on FurPlanet. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
- "Beautiful World: Fast, Fun, Evocative Read" - posting by Rechan on the community on LiveJournal. Dated June 19, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
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