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Chapter 1 offers a brief history of the Los Angeles region in order to shed light on contemporary virtual reality practices. The current impulse by VR innovators to offer the technology as a tool for repairing reality is framed against more than a century of utopian thinking in LA. In addition to late nineteenth-century booster fantasies, midcentury collaborations between the military and entertainment industries strategized over civic improvement. Such partnerships set the institutional stage for contemporary VR, with today’s worldbuilding projects adopting similar methods for envisioning better futures. Significantly, LA’s history is not one of utopian achievement, but one with repeated moments of urban unrest. It can thus be mined for lessons about whose realities are prioritized and whose are marginalized in such visions of improvement.

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