Cast of Shadows

Work Title: Cast of Shadows
Medium: Novel
Episode Title:
Year: 2005
Writer(s): Kevin Guilfoile
"Original" Writer: Yes Own work?: No


Cast of Shadows (2005) (novel) By Kevin Guifoile; "A terrorist known as Mickey the Gerund is an excellent villain-pious and professional-but only makes guest appearances every ten or so chapters. Conversely, a virtual reality game known as Shadow World dominates the second half of the story, making fake lives more important than finding a real killer." (from

Era/Year of Portrayal: near_future

Distinctive characteristics of the world in portrayal:

Very near future. A serial killer is murdering girls in Chicago and in an online world, called the Shadow World.


  • Name of portrayed presence-evoking technology: Shadow World
  • Description of the technology: The Shadow World is an online computer game, similiar to the Sims games, except everythin gin the game is true to life. Shadow World Chicago is an exact replica of real Chicago. People's online personas may be true to life, holding the same jobs on and offline, or a fantasy life. You could possibly be a famous sports star online, but you would have to log countless hours getting there: practicing, playing, etc. The quality of the game is quite realistic for a computer game. Characters appearences can be very detailed, as are the settings.
  • Nature of task or activity: Everything offline can be done online, from dancing to killing.
  • Performance of the Technology: It works very well throughout the story, only improving in quality.
  • Description of creator(s): unknown.
  • Major goal(s) of creator(s): Entertainment
  • Description of users of technology: Anyone can play the game, although there is a slight stigma with being considered a gamer, similiar to how it is now. There is a sterotype of only nerds/geeks playing computer games, but really, many people do play.
  • Type(s) of presence experience in the portrayal: both
  • Description of presence experience: The preence experience is typically enjoyable. Many people use the game for sexual purposes. However, if your character is killed, you must start over, working your way to get to where you want to be. If you are a doctor in the game and then die, you must go to medical school again. So, while a game, there are some consequencse to your online actions, if you care about your characrters life.
  • User awareness of technology during experience: Yes, they are aware.
  • Valence of experience: Typically, they find it very enjoyable, unless somethin gunexpected occurs - like your character being murdered.
  • Specific responses: The game allows for parasocial relatioships, letting people meet who may not have meet online. People are generally more promiscious in the game as well. Offline, there aren't any real effects.
Long-term consequences:

The Shadow World allows for the characters to determine who the real killer is - in this sense the story has a happy ending.


Coder name: Amanda Scheiner
Coder email:
Coder affiliation: Temple University