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"[Science fiction] is the one literary medium left in which we have a free hand. We can do any damn thing we please."
- Alfred Bester

Holodeck  
  A computer-simulated environment.  

This is one of the key ideas in the second Star Trek series.

Holodeck 4 was waiting to be programmed, and Wesley opted for a steaming rain forest with a flaming red sky.
From Encounter at Farpoint, by David Gerrold.
Published by Pocket Books in 1987
Additional resources -

The Star Trek holodeck is a virtual environment that provides infinitely varied participatory, interactive entertainment in a very small space. On Federation starships, stressed crewmembers need to have some sort of outlet for exercise and entertainment. (After all, they face certain death every week - every night in some markets!)


(From Holodeck)

The holodeck combines several key technologies to create an environment in which crewmembers can physically participate and interact in a staged drama in which they are the main characters:

  • The walls of the holodeck are covered with millions of omni-directional holo diodes (OHDs) that can project full-color three dimensional images and force fields. The force fields allow people to have a physical experience of running, climbing, pushing or pulling in a very small area; participants "move" from one cell to another in the virtual scene.


    (From Holodeck)

  • The transporter can create and destroy physical props at will, in the same way that it can materialize people and objects at a distance.
Compare to virtual matrix from The Judas Mandala (1982) by Damien Broderick, and dimensino - alien entertainment center from Time is the Simplest Thing by Clifford Simak (1961) and rifle range - virtual skeet shooting designed by aliens from Way Station also by Simak (1963).

See also Saga from The City and the Stars (1965) by Arthur C. Clarke and life chamber from The Chamber of Life (1929) by G. Peyton Wertenbaker.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Encounter at Farpoint
  More Ideas and Technology by David Gerrold
  Tech news articles related to Encounter at Farpoint
  Tech news articles related to works by David Gerrold

Holodeck-related news articles:
  - CirculaFloor - Smart Tile Holodeck?
  - Holo-Dek - A Unique Real-World Virtual Venue
  - Crickets Now Have 'Holodeck'
  - Google Holodeck Now Operational
  - USC's Project Holodeck

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