The novel's tech mogul Zapparoni (described in Bruce Sterling's introduction as a cross between Walt Disney and Bill Gates) made his fortune making movies that you "entered like a garden" (This has to be one of the earliest references to video games in literature?) and manufactures tiny insect-like robots which work together "like a telephone exchange", performing such tasks as cleaning the pollen from the air. As Bruce Sterling notes, this sounds more like something from our own internet age than 50s scifi. I think its a remarkable book.
Junger is an interesting personality. I can't figure him out or get close to him at all. I really want to read "Drogen und Rausch", his book about his drug experiences.
What happens when a former WW1 stormtrooper takes LSD? Unfortunately there's no English translation.
The issue of how one might enter a movie "like a garden" is going to be a big one for VR. Narratology may have some models which can be applied: in particular the idea of deixis seems relevant.
See Mary Galbraith's theory of deixis:
The idea of the Brocken spectre, an atmospheric phenomenon appearing to produce a huge, projected figure of the human observer, is also quite common in literature, sometimes as a metaphor for simply chasing one's own tail. It's thoroughly deictic and as such I think it's a good thing to keep in mind. How more than one player/viewer can be facilitated in the same world is an interesting area for research... I'd be interested to hear any current ideas from the game/hollywood world on that point!
"It is difficult to give an idea of the vast extent of modern mathematics. The word `extent' is not the right one; I mean extent crowded with beautiful detail-not an extent of mere uniformity such as an objectless plain, but of a tract of beautiful country seen at first in the distance, but which will bear to be rambled through and studied in every detail of hillside and valley, stream, rock, wood, and flower. But, as for every thing else, so for a mathematical theory-beauty can be perceived but not explained." (Arthur Cayley, 1883)
So thanks for the hint.