I've been involved with VR since 1986. You might have seen me online on sci.virtual-worlds or my chapter in Benedikt (ed.) Cyberspace: First Steps from MIT Press. I also edited a collection of readings on VR called Virtual Reality: Applications and Explorations, published by Academic Press Professional. This book tries to give some answers to the questions of what VR might be good for in areas ranging from science to the arts and on to business.
If you're interested in the book, it's available in paperback and AP has published a 5-book CDROM which contains my book as well as others on related topics such as computer graphics. If you can't find it in your local techie bookstore you can contact AP directly 1(800)321-5068 or fax 1(800)336-7377, M-F 8:30AM to 7PM Eastern time. It's ISBN 0-12-745045-9. You can get it from one of the online bookstores, such as the UCIrvine bookweb, which has all the AP titles.
The book cover looks like this (0.5 meg tiff)
If you want a general overview of the VR literature, the best place I know of to start is Toni Emerson's Information Resources in Virtual Reality.
Copyright © 1997 Alan Wexelblat