Fitting Into the Sagas

Inspired to read some science-fiction as the Summer rolls down, I decided to download The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke. I’ve never read it before, yet something about it seems strangely familiar:

Why, for example, did he not fit into the Sagas? Of all the thousands of forms of recreation in the city, these were the most popular. When you entered a Saga, you were not merely a passive observer, as in the crude entertainments of primitive times which Alvin had sometimes sampled. You were an active participant and possessed—or seemed to possess—free will. The events and scenes which were the raw materials of your adventures might have been prepared beforehand by forgotten artists, but there was enough flexibility to allow of wide variation. You could go into these phantom worlds with your friends, seeking the excitement that did not exist in Diaspar—and as long as the dream lasted there was no way in which it could be distinguished from reality. Indeed, who could be certain that Diaspar itself was not the dream?

James R. Hull @jhull