The theory postulates that virtual reality facilitates the transition from traditional ‘storytelling’ to ‘story experience’, where only the experiencer can determine how the story will unfold. The ‘quantum’ element is a reference to ‘quantum superposition’ (a key principle of quantum mechanics), which in simplistic terms claims that while we do not know what the state of any object is, it is actually in all possible states simultaneously, as long as we don’t look to check. What Curtis and Tracy suggest is that the same idea can be applied to stories:
…the act of their observing these quantum story elements while moving through the environment collapses this Story Superposition of states. Some of the story quanta are ignored or missed while others are observed and combined. The traveler naturally weaves this set of observed story quanta into a cohesive story – a narrative that is unique to them.1
1. Hickman, T. Website Article by Tracy Hickman [accessed December 22, 2016] A New Horizon For Experiencing Story
This approach to storytelling conflicts with the idea of authorial intent or an Experience Manager where either a human or AI author predetermines how the narrative of the experience will play out before the experience commences. However, the idea of empowering the experiencer with the ability to define their own story has been linked with an increased sense of agency, which plays an important role in generating presence.