Virtually True by Paul Stewart


Paul Stewart was born in  London  in 1955. ‘Virtually True is a fictive story about computer games and its possibilities in a virtual environment. It is suggestive of future technological advancement of Artificial intelligence. The story opens with a newspaper article which mentioned that a fourteen-year-old boy called Sebastian Shultz, who had gone into a coma following the accident, had miraculously recovered. Sebastian Shultz was badly injured in a car accident. His condition was described by doctors as critical but stable. In spite of doctors’ efforts Sebastian could not regain consciousness. He went into coma.

Michael,  another boy of the same age was shocked to read this. When he saw the picture of Sebastian, he realized that he was the same person whom he had met in the virtual world and was trying to rescue him. Michael couldn’t understand that how he could meet Sebastian if he was in coma. Michael’s father was crazy about computers. He used to buy latest ‘gizmos'(gadgets) that came on the market. Both Michael and his father went to the computer fair and bought a virtual reality visor and glove. They also bought a handful of the latest interactive psyho-drive games which are driven by mental power.

On reaching home, Michael started playing a game named Wildwest which  is a strategy game. Secondly, he plays Dragonquest which is a fantasy role-playing game. Thirdly, he plays Jailbreak which  is an action game. And finally, he plays Warzone which can be categorized under simulation games. According to Michael, Sebastian was probably playing those games when he banged his head in the accident. The computer had saved his memory into its own. Michael bought a lot of games at the fair. Some of them were the stolen ones of Sebastian. When Michael was playing those games, the computer was trying to retrieve Sebastian’s memory.

During the games, Michael came across several situations which are suggestive of real encounter Sebastian Shulz and recovers him in doing so. The idea of helicopter rescuing Sebastian was good. However, the helicopter was slow in landing. The jail guards and dogs caught up with Sebastian. The dogs hurled at Sebastian. To escape the dogs, Sebastian stepped backwards and slipped and fell on the concrete below. Eventually, Sebastian was able to board the helicopter and was rescued. Thus, Michael succeeded in saving and bringing Sebastian back to life.

Sebastian Shultz was in the virtual world when his accident took place. As a result he got stuck there. He encountered Michael in this virtual world. He wanted Michael to rescue him. He sent a message to Michael which appeared on his printer.

Michael couldn’t rescue Sebastian the first time because before he could save him, he was shot by gunmen.Sebastian chopped the princess’s long plaits and tied them together to form a rope and managed to flee from the tower. He and Michael headed towards the dungeons. However, the dragon followed them. As they were going down the steps, the dragon appeared and caught Sebastian. Michael tried to kill the dragon but he had already taken Sebastian. Thus, the second attempt to save Sebastian failed as well.

At the time of the accident, Sebastian was using his laptop to play one of the psycho-drive games. He was plugged on to the computer when his head banged in the accident. The computer had saved his memory in its own. Thus, Sebastian had entered the games but could not come out of it.There are various instances in the chapter to describe that the second game seemed very real, such as “As I lowered myself down I felt the dragon’s fiery breath”, “And the whole time I could hear and feel and even smell the evil dragon following in close pursuit”, etc.

At the time of the accident, Sebastian was plugged on to the computer. The computer had saved his memory in its own. When Sebastian’s family was in the hospital, somebody stole their whole lot of games. Some of them ended up at Computer Fair, where they were bought by Michael. Michael discovered this when he read an article on the internet about Sebastian’s miraculous recovery.

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27 thoughts on “Virtually True by Paul Stewart

  1. Nice explanation…. Bt how the theme of games changes..as Michael is to rescue the princess…bt it seems that he had to rescue seb..???.

  2. Really an awesome story with a nice summary. One could understand with ease. However if a bit of more explanation had been available it had been great.😃😉

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