Nautilus

Why Do We Get Transported by Stories We Know Aren’t True?

In Jasper Fforde’s lighthearted “Thursday Next” series of books, people can use a “prose portal” to enter the world of a book, to change the plot or kidnap a character. The prose portal is an imaginative metaphor for a familiar experience: feeling taken away by a narrative, sucked into a good book so that we forget about our actual surroundings. This phenomenon is called “transportation,” and it’s common and revealing enough that scientists have done a lot of research on it. 

Getting lost in a good book is a bit like getting lost in your own daydream—it is an act of imagination

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