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Cyberia: Life In The Trenches Of Hyperspace
by Douglas Rushkoff
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From Publishers Weekly
This heady report takes readers on a dizzying and dangerous guided tour through "cyberspace," an unfolding terrain of digital information that, according to Rushkoff, is being tapped by a "cyberian counterculture" bent on redefining reality. In "Cyberia," artists, scientists and hackers explore virtual reality using prototype computers with 3-D goggles, headphones and a tracking ball to move through real or fictional space without commands, text or symbols; Silicon Valley engineers and mathematicians attempt to unlock creativity via psychedelic drugs or fractal graphics mirroring our irregular world; urban neopagans access information networks and use witchcraft to promote planetary survival. Computer bulletin boards, cyberpunk comic books, interactive videos, cyber-rock dance clubs and the acts of eco-terrorists and of employees who use computers to subvert the workplace are part of a cyberian universe whose gurus, interviewed here by Rushkoff, include Terence McKenna, Timothy Leary and R. U. Sirius, editor of Mondo 2000 magazine. Souped-up prose marks this exploration of cyberpunk culture. $20,000 ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Rushkoff, a New York-based journalist, goes west to Berkeley for a look inside Cyberia--the emerging countercultural terrain of computer hackers, ``smart'' drugs, house music, and a range of alternate ``cyberpunk'' lifestyles and anarchic philosophies. This largely sympathetic report from the latest frontier will undoubtedly strike many older readers as outrageous, but others (especially those with clear memories of the 60's) may find much of the rhetoric familiar, even nostalgic. In fact, many of the ingredients hark back to the Berkeley scene of nearly three decades ago: the text is full of references to acid trips, pagan rituals, and Grateful Dead concerts, and even Timothy Leary puts in an appearance at a virtual reality demonstration. The most significant new element in the mix is the computer-- especially when used to connect with other computer users around the world. Leary advised dropouts to ``find the others,'' and computer networks like the WELL have made it easier than ever for Cyberians to locate those of similar beliefs. Rushkoff interviews authors, drug dealers, musicians, and hackers; watches two electronic outlaws stealing ATM codes; joins a role-playing game in which he acts the part of a thief; and talks to eco-terrorists and cultists about their beliefs. While some readers might wish the author had kept his nonsense detector more finely tuned, much of the book's value lies in Rushkoff's ability to resist patronizing his subjects. A provocative, wide-ranging survey of the current state of the interface between the longings of youth and the wild potentials of computer technology. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
This is an ideas-led, exuberant documentary about the converging strands of a new era, the empowerments of cyber-technology, and the precipitation of new ways of life. Originally written in 1994, it outlines the strands of the cyber subculture as it was emerging-- the favored drugs, the influential individuals, the hackers and their motivations, the science chaos and the complexity of fractuals. This book will endure as a reminder of how modern cyberculture came about--a note to the future form an individual perceptive enough to grasp the profound effects of the cyber revolution.
From the Publisher
In paperback with a new introduction by the author! "A provocative and wide-ranging survey . . . of the interface between the longings of youth and the wild potentials of computer technology."--Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Douglas Rushkoff is professor of media culture at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program. He is an adviser to the United Nations Commission on World Culture, on the board of directors of the Media Ecology Association, and a founding member of technorealism. He is author of Coercion and Children of Chaos.
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