Don't remember the name of a very old and short SF novel that was probably one of the very initial sources of inspiration for The Matrix.

It describes a person owning a couple of boxes within which some other persons were held captive without knowing this and used to live a false neurostimulation life, similar to that described in "The Matrix" movie, to create the illusion of a real life.

The book describes the apparent life of some of these people living inside those boxes who didn't have the faintest idea about being captive in static boxes. I cannot remember more as I read this book during childhood, but I'm absolutely sure this book exists.

It is important as it could be the real inspiration source of The Matrix movie.

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    If your goal is to identify the very first possible story that might have conceivably been "the source" of the idea of people living in a virtual world who don't realize the world they know isn't reality, then you probably need to look a lot further back. Consider, for example Plato's Allegory of the Cave
    – Steve-O
    Jan 23 '17 at 18:16
  • Thank you Steve, I already read this allegory, recommended it to many others and yes indeed, it is one of the most valuable philosophical creation. And right now I just finished Symposion and I'm going to re-read it. Next one is Republica. Anyway, my question here addressed the real way to live imprisoned within another realm, not the spiritual one. Jan 24 '17 at 16:08

As @Dima suggested, it looks like "Memoirs of a space traveler: further reminiscences of Ijon Tichy" by Stanislaw Lem.

Its a series of short stories, in one of them ("Professor Corcoran") Ijon meets a professor that created a set of electronic brains in huge wooden boxes. Each brain is sentient and connected to a huge drum that has tapes recording all the events and sensations those brains can expect in their lifetime (often randomly selected), creating a Matrix-like universe. The professor describes few different "people" existing on those brains: a priest, scientist, celebrity, finally pointing to a madman, that believes that he is just an electronic brain hidden in wooden box connected to drum full of magnetic tapes.


Sounds like a story by Stanislaw Lem, that I read a long time ago. Except the boxes contained "electronic brains", rather than living people. Unfortunately, I cannot recall the title of the story.

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