Nattie’s metaverse romance began with anonymous texting. At first “C” would admit only to living in a nearby town. Nattie eventually learned “Clem” was a man with a solitary office job like hers. For Nattie “lived, as it were, in two worlds” – the world of office tedium and an online world where “she did not lack social intercourse.”
Texting drew them closer: “annoyances became lighter because she told him, and he sympathized.” Nattie soon realized “she had woven a sort of romance about him who was a friend ‘so near and yet so far’.” Their blossoming relationship almost failed when Clem’s co-worker visited Nattie’s office pretending to be Clem, but the deceit was exposed in time for their “romance of dots and dashes” to succeed.
With that last sentence I gave away the ending to “Wired Love,” source of the quotes above. Published in 1879, Ella Thayer’s novel of “the telegraphic world” makes remarkable predictions. Yet “Wired Love” is planted firmly during the time of what journalist Thomas Standage aptly termed the “Victorian Internet.” Many aspects of the current metaverse were already familiar 143 years ago.
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