The Power of Fiction
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Categories: Modern, Not an expert

The Power of Fiction

This passage is so extraordinary that I want to quote it for later use even if I don’t have the words in me to say anything about it. It was published shortly before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Also in the command center: (Ukrainian army battalion commander) Oleksander’s sword and crossbow — a nod to his code name, Witcher, the protagonist in a fantasy novel series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The Witcher is a hulking man of supernatural ability who uses his powers to slay monsters and mythical beasts.

After lunch, (29 year old Ukrainian Army corporal) Vanya settled onto his bunk bed and flipped open his computer. He slipped on headphones and fired up the next part of his daily routine, one that he considers vital to improving his craft. It was time to play “Call of Duty.”

The first-person-shooter video game was how he learned the difference between the basic configuration of an AK-47 rifle and an improved one. It showed him the attachments a firearm could have, such as a scope.

“As for my vision of what a fighter should be, it really derives from gaming,” he said. “Earlier, we only used to see the Soviet army. We didn’t have games where we could see, for instance, the Special Forces of the U.S.”

“But now we see all that through a video game,” he added. “I don’t want to be a Soviet moron. I want to be a proper fighter.”

Isabelle Khurshudyan, Michael Robinson Chavez, and Whitney Shefte, “In Ukraine’s Trenches: Soviet Relics, Video Games, and Hope for More Western Weapons,” The Washington Post, 15 February 2022 https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/interactive/2022/ukraine-russia-front-line/

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