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While I'm aware that virtual reality fiction has been increasingly popular since the mid-20th century, I'm wondering if this topic / genre was engaged with in earlier sci-fi / fantasy fiction. Given that such great fiction was being written in late 19th century (e.g. by H.G. Wells), I thought that perhaps there might be some pre-20th century contributions to this genre.

Of course, the term 'virtual reality' is open to interpretation. I'm interested in all sorts ... even if more 'philosophical' (e.g. reality as a product of Mind) rather than hard science (associated with computer technology). As such, I'm not restricting concern with 'virtual reality' to how it's typically understood in contemporary times.

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