... These prehistories of virtual Harbin, in the form of narratives and imagination, are many and diverse.
Science fiction, fantasy and film have been important to the emergence of virtual worlds and the virtual, - at actual Harbin and virtual Harbin, particularly. Tolkien's “Hobbit” and “Lord of the Ring” trilogy (1954) were very important creations of fantasy, - in how many people they touched, and how vivid and meaningful these worlds were - to the remarkable emergence of fantasy worlds. With Tolkien's work and influence, for example, “creating a fully realized make-believe world was shown to be actually possible” (Bartle 2004:61, in Boellstorff 2008:37). People were able to richly explore such secondary worlds as Tolkien's, into which their minds could fully enter into. And Harbin can be seen, for example, as a Rivendell (J.R.R. Tolkien's beautiful, elven kingdom), a Shangri La (a Tibetan utopia in James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon (1933); a place regarded as an earthly paradise, esp. when involving a retreat from the pressures of modern civilization – Apple Dictionary), a Kubla Khan (Colerdige 1895), with its stately pleasure domes, or Lewis Carroll's 'wonderland' in “Alice in Wonderland” (1865). This list of wonderful place comparisons is potentially very long vis-a-vis virtual Harbin. And role playing games, such as Dungeons and Dragons (1974), developed from such fantasy worlds significantly (Boellstorff 2008:37). And the Harbin pools and actual Harbin, as a kind of actual, virtual world, where its “free,” “clothing-optional,” hippie roles, coming out of the freedom-seeking movements of the 1960s and early 70s, are ongoing pre-histories of Harbin.
In many ways, actual Harbin is an utopian, virtual, communal, 1960's 'vision' which has been instantiated as actual, with an historical rootedness, – both in the actual Harbin valley as place, and emerging out of the countercultural richness which was the 1960s, as another virtual Harbin prehistory. ...
(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2010/08/buck-moths-science-fiction-fantasy-film.html - August 26, 2010)