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The Nether (Anglais) Broché – 7 août 2014

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Broché, 7 août 2014
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5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Like a Nesting Doll, A Morality Play with Many Layers. 28 février 2016
Par Japonaliya - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié

This is a short play. About 75-80 minutes run time, and maybe an hour to read the play in book form.
The plot is well known so I will just make some observations. The main theme is similar to other plots that precede it, specifically the "thought police" of Orwell's 1984.

The question being, in a virtual world, does one's actions become "real" in the sense that the avatars are perceived as real?

Haley explores this moral dilemma using 2 provoking criteria, the murder and molesting of a prepubescent child who is only a computer generated being in the realm of the "Hideaway," a CG constructed being in the "Nether" or internet. The Hideaway is a virtual world set in Victorian or turn of the last century era.

Using the most vile and universally detested immoral acts, that being child sexual abuse, Haley tries to convey that a simple knee jerk reaction is not always the true answer.

There are 5 principle characters in the play, but in the end (giveaway) there really is only 3)

Sims, the creator of the Hideaway and it's God,

Iris, the prepubescent child prostitute,

Morris the police interrogator,

Doyle, a constant visitor to the Hideaway and a college prof. with a family, and

Woodnut, another visitor to the Hideaway.

But just as virtual reality is not what it seems, no matter how real it feels (and it's creator, tells us it IS about feelings not acts) you will find out later that the characters themselves are not who they portray themselves to be.

At first the dilemma Haley presents, does morality and punishment extend to our imaginations if indistinguishable from true reality, and can it be prosecuted as a crime?

This is all fine and dandy when the opposing sides have a clear (or almost) clear view of the circumstances, whether it is wrong and punishable to do anything that one wants to do if it is only the Hideaway and not the "in world"? the play ends, we are given a "twist", and one that is not only more thought provoking, but one that literally turns what we think about the events at hand on its heals!

As the play goes along, we have Sims who creates the Hideaway as a place where one can act out any fantasy no matter how immoral, because it isn't "real"

Morris, the interrogator has the position (I believe) that if one thinks that it is real, and technology makes it so (think holodeck on the Enterprise) and what one does even in cyberspace, is wrong and can punished for it.

I cannot help but think of our present day moral questions about real child pornography verses simulated, child porn that isn't real such as Japanese "Lolicon" or cartoons depicting sexualized children which IS illegal in many places, even though just drawings.

But we must remember that Haley is not using Iris the child prostitute as a gimmick. She explores the darkest recesses of humanity in the terms of a virtual abused child. Oddly, Iris herself is not at all unhappy. She is not, in her own mind abused in any way.

The twist ending somewhat clarifies that, but provides more food for thought as well.


It turns out that Sims is the only true character, and it is his libertarian philosophy that drives the Hideaway.

Woodnut is in reality, the avatar of Inspector Morrris, who is trying to get evidence of "crimes" being committed against Iris, only to himself succumb to her child-like precocious charms.

The big surprise of course is Doyle...for he is actually Iris herself. Since you can be whoever you want to be in the Hideaway realm, Doyle chooses to be a seductive little girl.

This now explains why there were many Irises, and why they were ":banned" to boarding school in the Nether.

Sims knew that Iris was mostly men who chose to become a child, and even experience death and sex. Though not said in the play, I wonder if every time Iris is "killed" and resurrects, if she becomes just another vessel or avatar for the next "Doyle"?

One of the rules of the Nether is that one cannot fall in love or let Iris become emotionally attached. Sims tries to prevent his own falling in love with Iris precisely because he knows Iris is really not a child, but an adult male (in most cases) and "sends" her off to boarding school, where another Iris or child avatar with a clean emotional slate takes her place.

The undercurrent of homosexuality is now in question which further distorts the narrative as we have been led to believe.

And lets not forget the flip side. Morris is a woman police interrogator in the "in world", but her avatar is that of a man (Woodnut) a man who is seduced by a little girl who is really a man, and Woodcut is actually a woman! it an adult male who is "seduced" by a child prostitute, or is it an adult woman who is seduced by an adult male?

Haley seems to enjoy complicating the issues so that there are no easy answers.


Sims, with his punishment of being banned forever from the Nether and his Hideaway, finally confronts his "love" for Iris which he could never bring himself to accept before...but was it love for a little girl, or another male adult? Haley does not elaborate.

Finally, when confronted with whether it is child abuse to "molest" a computer generated little girl, we now have to consider what if the little girl was not a little girl at all, but a computer generated child body inhabited by a grown man's mind?

Is the "computer being still a child when it is in reality a grown man? Is it the attraction by an adult to a child's body that we detest so much, or is it the fact of the child's mind being exposed to the abuse?

Consider in reality the moral quandary of a condition like Tanner's Syndrome, where an person does not go through puberty, but develops normally mentally, compared to a person who is an adult in body but has the mind of a child?

The law states that chronological age is the only factor that has legal standing assuming the person of "child-mind" does not fall into the threshold of gross mental deficiency.

So, is a man attracted to prepubescence evil if he has relations with a child's body but with an adult mind, or is he equally immoral to have relations with an adult body who has the mind of a child?

The Nether does not give us answers, only more questions. Technology will always pose a conundrum for legal scholars, and society when it tries to create moral boundaries.

This is the crux of the book, and as a instrument of producing thought provoking dilemmas to the complexities of the "real" world, as well as the ones we does its job well.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellently disturbing! 2 septembre 2016
Par POet Prof Shawntez SVJ - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Jennifer Haley take today technology and pushes the boundaries of what if. Be prepared to be shocked and awed, wowed & disturbed all at the same time. The Nether is meant to make you question how you feel about what constitutes treatment or therapy of urges not commonly accepted in society. Taking catfishing to a whole new level of uneasy.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Sickening. Fascinating. Intriguing. MINDBLOWING. 20 octobre 2016
Par Book Monster - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Wow. This play was pretty insane, and it delved into a lot of darkness that many of us fear to traverse. Haley is masterful in weaving philosophy, morality, and existentialism into a cool sci-fi premise... but one that also has us squirming in a deep discomfort as it explores issues of pedophilia and grooming.

A delightful disruption that gets you thinking.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Five Stars 9 octobre 2015
Par vcf4809 - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
This is the most haunting and thought-provoking play I've read in years!
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Five Stars 24 août 2016
Par KG - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Terrific, thought provoking play.
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