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Literature / Cyber Joly Drim

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Everything here is virtual, except love. Love is real.

Jola, a web-designer who considers herself an artist, is heartbroken: trapped in a marriage with a complete stranger, pining for her soulmate, who vanished from the face of the Net around the time of Jola's wedding...

Because the Net is where she really lives, works and socialises. The physical side of life becomes more and more of a burden, full of pointless chores and anonimity.

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An acclaimed short story by Antonina Liedtke, exploring romantic love and whether it's possible to find it again once you've lost it. Read on author's site in Polish.


Cyber Joly Drim contains the following tropes:

  • A Darker Me: Possibly Andrzej's online persona, or so Jola hopes.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Jola loves Carramba, Andrzej loves Jola... Subverted - Andrzej and Carramba are the same guy's real life personality and online persona.
  • Bargain Tropes: Want Joly_FH to make you an avatar? She's paid in favours, cashed anytime.
  • Betty and Veronica: Jola has a wholesome, workaholic husband and pines after her suave, snarky Playful Hacker online lover, whom she wants back.
  • Brain in a Jar: Saint Francises, people who (voluntarily) give up their bodies and connect to the Net as brains. They have jobs and social lifes on the Net - you could e-mail or chat with one and never even know. Jola was a bit shocked to learn her close friend was one.
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  • Cyberspace: Where Jola (and many others) actually lives her life.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: In-universe - the guy interviewing Jola about her art seems rather unprepared.
  • Death of the Author: Invoked - Jola argues for it during the interview, but her animation is nevertheless very personal.
  • Driven to Suicide: Arguably, Jola becoming a Saint Francis to escape the physical world.
  • Gratuitous English: Starting from the title (it's "dream" spelled by the Polish phonetic rules), several instances in the story proper.
  • Hacker Cave: Zanni the Gamer lives in one.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: The story explores how men and women want different things in love.
  • Instant Web Hit: Jola makes a silly song to cheer herself up and kill time. It goes viral.
  • The Internet: A futuristic, virtual-reality filled version. (The story was written in the late 90').
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  • Love Makes You Uncreative: "when they were seeing each other every day, she didn't make any avatar worth her while, no art, nothing really - but she was happy"
  • Online Personas: Is your online persona you?
  • Playful Hacker: Jola has some friends who are these. She herself is a virtual realities designer, responsible for the visuals - other people add music and animation.
  • Relationship Reveal: Andrzej is Carramba.
  • Ritual Magic: Maybe? There's an entire Internet subculture based on leveyan satanism, and they claim to use magic incantations and rituals.
  • Romance Short Story: Recycled in Cyberspace.
  • Screen Name: Joly_FH for Jola, Carramba for Andrzej, most other characters are only known by their handles, but many of them are only slightly modified names.
  • Sex Changes Everything: The protagonist's incredibly boring husband and her Internet bad boy are the same person, just about a year later.
  • Standard '50s Father: Seems to be Jola's husband's goal in life. She's utterly terrified of the prospect of playing House Wife to him.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: In-universe: Jola, thoroughly bored with the task of designing a virtual reality for a sex simulator goes to town with a fantastic creatures-filled labirynth of rose bushes.
  • Two-Person Love Triangle: This is the big reveal, so don't look at the spoiler.
  • Unusual User Interface: Very vaguely described: there is a scanning beam there.
  • Unwanted Spouse: The story starts with Jola waking up and pretending she hasn't in order to not have sex with her bore of a husband. Later on she puts last touches to her brilliant escape plan.
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