The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Counterfeit World was filmed for German television in 1973 as Welt am Draht (The World on a Wire) by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and released in England as a two-part film under the same title. The story opens as Doug Hall returns from a vacation at an isolated cabin, where he was recovering from seizures brought on by stress and overwork. He discovers that Horace P. Siskin has appointed him director of RIEN Reactions, an organization that samples public opinion with a new computer containing an electronically simulated population. Although the simulator will make prediction much easier, it will put poll takers out of work.

A series of strange events, including people and things disappearing and attempts on his life, convinces Hall not only that Hannon Fuller, his predecessor and inventor of the simulator, was murdered but also that his own world is counterfeit, like the one in the simulator. Hall comes to these conclusions despite the fact that his former teacher and friend, Avery Collingsworth, has diagnosed him as being paranoid. Meanwhile, Siskin has asked Hall to reprogram the simulator so that it will project Siskin as the ideal presidential candidate, and Hall has fallen in love with Fuller’s daughter, Jinx.

Hall plays along with Siskin for a time, but his plan to expose Siskin is discovered and eventually he is fired. One of the contact units from the simulator’s counterfeit world comes through the hookup...

(The entire section is 476 words.)