Rapture in Death

Work Title: Rapture in Death
Medium: Novel
Episode Title:
Year: 2003
Writer(s): Nora Roberts
"Original" Writer: Yes Own work?: No


"Nora Roberts is one of America's best-selling crime writers. She's best known for her futuristic suspense series, written under her pen name JD Robb. Her latest, Rapture in Death, brings together three strangers with nothing in common - and no obvious reasons to kill themselves. / A brilliant engineer, an infamous lawyer and a controversial politician are all found dead - police officer Eve Dallas doesn't believe they committed suicide - and when something strange shows up on their autopsies, she's doubly suspicious. / Eve's investigations turn to the provocative world of virtual reality games, where the same techniques used to create joy and desire can also prompt the mind to self-destruct." (from http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/features/story.jsp?story=486417)

Era/Year of Portrayal: near_future

Distinctive characteristics of the world in portrayal:

The year is 2058. Cars fly and wealthy people regularly vacation on other planets. The setting is New York City, similair to today. People now typically live 150 years and cosmetic surgery is the norm. Certain things are now scarce, such as coffee (although Pepsi is plentiful - she drinks it all day). Robots and droids are ubiqitious as well.


  • Name of portrayed presence-evoking technology: VR goggles and holographic rooms
  • Description of the technology: Practically every household has a media entertainment system that includes music, DVD's, computer and a VR unit. The technology is not mobile, but once you are in VR, you choose the program, i.e. relaxation, sexual, meditation. Once you put on the goggles, the user is immersed in a differernt reality. Also, there are holograph rooms, (only the very wealthy or resorts have these) in which a user can totally immerse themselves in program. They are very real.
  • Nature of task or activity: Anything is possible in the VR. For example, in the holograph room, the heroine particpates in a program where she hunts bad guys and fights them.
  • Performance of the Technology: It works very well throughout the novel. Of course, the bad guy figures out a way to implant subliminal suggestions into the VR units, causing 4 people to commit suicide. So, it worked as designed, according to her evil plan.
  • Description of creator(s): It is unknown who orginally created the VR. However, the bad guy, who implanted the subliminal messages, is a stunningly beautiful redheaded woman. Of course, she's not that good at the technical elements, so she had brainwashed a man into helping
  • Major goal(s) of creator(s): The VR was created as entertainment.
  • Description of users of technology: Everybody uses VR to relax - although the units are pricy so I guess only the wealthy have the better systems.
  • Type(s) of presence experience in the portrayal: both
  • Description of presence experience: Whatever the user desires.
  • User awareness of technology during experience: They are aware.
  • Valence of experience: Users enjoy the experience, although the ones convinced to commit suicide may have had regrets.
  • Specific responses: Well, people use VR mostly to relax or be sexually stimulated. Cops train in VR. Supposedly VR can help break drug addictions. However, the subliminal messages can be used to persuade negatively as well.
Long-term consequences:

Generally, the consequences are good. The bad guy who was abusing the subliminal messages dies at the end.


Coder name: Amanda Scheiner
Coder email: amandags@temple.edu
Coder affiliation: Temple University