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I'm looking for a short-short story where the narrator directly addresses the reader, describing a far future world where many people have retreated into dream worlds and forgotten they're dreaming, tells how they try to recover such people by inserting messages into their dream worlds, and then claiming the reader is one such person, asks the reader to please come back to reality.

At one point the narrator directs the reader to look for a code in the blind spot of their eye.

At the end of the story the narrator acknowledges that they're losing the reader's attention and resolves to let the reader slip back fully into their dream world.

I read this story a long time ago. I don't know how old the story was at the time, but it's certainly at least 10 years old.

  • Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy! This question would be improved by going through the checklists here; How to ask a good story-ID question? – Valorum Jul 24 '18 at 21:28
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    I did look at the recommendations there and tried to follow them. Please let me know what I've missed so I can add information if possible. – Octa9on Jul 25 '18 at 7:05
  • It's difficult to say but off the top of my head, what were the dreams about? – Valorum Jul 25 '18 at 11:36
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Reality Check by David Brin.

The story starts:

This is a reality check. Please perform a soft interrupt now. Scan this text for embedded code and check against the verifier in the blind spot of your left eye. If there is no match, resume as you were: this message is not for you.

and ends:

You refuse to waken. Then we'll let you go. Dear friend. Beloved. Go back to your dream. Smile over this tale, then turn the page to new "discoveries." Move on with this drama, this life you chose. After all, it's only make-believe.

I read it in The Hard SF Renaissance edited by David G Hartwell. That was published in 2002 so it fits your time frame.

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