Sinha tells an unusual tale of the seemingly ordinary people who assume strage identities as they wander the invisible cyber-pathways of the technonight.Sinha tells an unusual tale of the seemingly ordinary people who assume strage identities as they wander the invisible cyber-pathways of the technonight.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 1999-07-05 The Internet circa 1984 was a far cry from the placid swaths of corporate real estate surfed by many netizens today. Home to a hard-core online elite dialing into BBSs (bulletin boards) and MUDs (multi-user dungeons), it was an anarchic terrain where the virtual risks and rewards were so potent that, for the handful of users chronicled by Sinha, the sight of a modem jack slipping into a port was like a heroin-juiced needle to a junkie. Sinha, who was a copywriter at a London advertising agency, got hooked on multi-user role-playing games from his very first logon, ecstatic at the thought that in cyberspace he could create and share new worlds. As he relates how he started neglecting his "real" life to the point that his wife called herself a "modem widow" and he began speaking a garbled language of keyboard commands, he likens his exploits to those of Coleridge and de Quincey on opium. Along the way, however, Sinha used the Internet to spark political change in the off-line world, leveraging the online community to raise funds for Kurdish refugees and conveying the horrors of the Union Carbide explosion in Bhopal, India. Narrated with wit and moments of literary flair in the nonlinear style of the Internet itself, this book amounts to a sort of architectural dig, excavating bits of data and random-access memories from "that peculiar world of ours which has all but vanished" into the comfortable protocols of America Online. As today's techies struggle against the malling of the Net, Sinha offers an important reminder of the radical freedoms that defined the early age of cyberspace exploration. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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