In Plato's Cave--Closed Environments in Fiction

Imagine a society so cunningly enclosed that the people inside are unaware --or only dimly aware--of a world beyond it, a closed environment. Like the people in Plato's famous cave, they would live and die in a kind of mental darkness. Several writers, of couse, have already imagined such closed-in worlds. Let's see if we can list them all.
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51 books · 30 voters · list created March 25th, 2011 by Thom Dunn (votes) .
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Valerie (last edited Mar 28, 2011 06:27AM) (new)

Valerie I suppose you could include The World And Thorinn. Although the environments in the story are much more spacious than the Earth's surface (they honeycomb the entire interior of the planet), the surface is no longer accessible to the indwellers.

On the other hand, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Pellucidar would probably NOT count. Although Pellucidar is described as being in 'the Earth's core', there is access through the polar openings, and several people get in and out through these openings.

David Lake's novel The Ring of Truth is an odd cross: 'worlds' in a solid universe are created by the hollowing effects of light (which in this universe exerts more pressure than gravity). I don't know if this would count, but it's an interesting concept.


message 2: by Thom (last edited Mar 28, 2011 07:58AM) (new)

Thom Dunn Valerie wrote: "I suppose you could include The World And Thorinn. Although the environments in the story are much more spacious than the Earth's surface (they honeycomb the entire interior of the planet), the su..."

The basic idea is that of the "mind cave". In Heinlein's "Universe" the Proxima Centauri generation starship inhabitants have lost any sense of history or of a concept such as "outside". In M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village" the elders work to keep children in ignorance of a wider world.


message 3: by Valerie (new)

Valerie Somewhere in The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy series there's a story of a tribe that lives its life confined to a huge tree. The tribemembers are forbidden to speculate even on the existence of other trees, and especially whether there might be life in the other trees. That'd be the same process, I suppose.


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