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The technical manual connects concretely to the real world in the clever cryptonym of its final chapter, “PASIV Device Instructions.” That section’s rough illustration presents a well-dressed agent carrying a suspicious briefcase, as well as an online address where readers can download a copy of the PASIV Device Technical Manual. What a head trip.
seems a mostly straightforward affair. Although thick black boxes blot out whatever textual direction existed before the Dream-Share’s censors got hold of it, the illustrations present a diverse crew of possible agents: a soldier, an architect and what looks like a very cautious chemist.
is a bit more confusing, with its series of settings, some crossed out in the manual’s nearly ubiquitous black. One is a natural outdoor labyrinth, which looks like a less-snowy version of the one that led ax-wielding maniac Jack Torrance to his icy death in Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining. Another is a crude rendering of a metropolitan cityscape.
is a bit more direct, ironically enough, in its conjoined imagery. A man is roughly slapped while asleep in one illustration, while what looks like a different man tumbles across a crowded room in another. Some whitecoat dumps water on a sleeping man’s head, while his victim imagines a tidal wave in a companion picture. A different man is suffocated in his sleep, while his double suffers some kind of pain in a corresponding image.
seems to have crawled out of the minds of Sigmund Freud and E.T.A. Hoffmann. A man peers at his watch, while another peers at him. A torch-and-pitchfork mob amasses near a dark castle. A crowd breaks down a door to an office, as its inhabitant slips through another.