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Borg Like Me: & Other Tales of Art, Eros, and Embedded Systems Paperback – July 1, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Borg Like Me is fantastic!" - RU Sirius

"A treasure trove of alternative thought and lifestyle." - JC Gonzo, The End of Being

"Gareth Branwyn is an authentic human being, the kind that inspires people like me to take heart and leap into the void." -conceptual artist and alt.culture blogger Red Cell

""[Your] book...represents an important infusion of authentic spirit into conversations around technology and culture. A reclamation of our essential humanity.. Also, a great time capsule of the Weird Wide Web and its antecedent impulses." - Casey Rae, Future of Music Coalition

From the Back Cover

Borg Like Me is a smart, passionate, intense trip along the bleeding edges of art, technology, and culture at the turn of the 21st century.

A comprehensive collection of cyberculture pioneer Gareth Branwyn's best work, Borg Like Me spans an over 30 year writing career. The book covers Branwyn's coming of age in a hippie commune, his involvement in the 90s zine publishing scene, his tenure at influential cyber arts and culture mags Mondo 2000, bOING bOING, and Wired, and his eight years at MAKE, spearheading the growing maker movement. Previously published material is interwoven throughout with Branwyn's unabashedly honest commentary, personal anecdotes, and original essays.

Read about the smart-druggies behind Mondo 2000, impersonating Billy Idol in cyberspace (for Billy Idol), the making of the iconic early 90s hypermedia book, Beyond Cyberpunk!, and Branwyn going positively P.K. Dick after a heart attack and a bad blood transfusion.

What Others Have Said About Gareth and His Work:

"Gareth Branwyn -- superconductor of cyberculture... a hip McLuhan of the plugged-in age."
- Washington Post

"Brilliant writing, impressive scholarship."
- Toronto Globe & Mail
(review of Absolute Beginner's Guide to Building Robots)

"Gareth Branwyn is a highly-charged countercultural electromagnet."
Cyberpunk godfather and sci-fi/horror icon John Shirley

"...a shining example of why weird wins."
-Weird Hero Award
Laika Studios (Coraline, ParaNorman)

"Gareth Branwyn tracks this media like no one else."
Countercultural iconoclast and Mondo 2000 founder RU Sirius
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"Under The Same Sky"
See this and more inspirational memoirs.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Sparks of Fire Press (July 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0692233237
  • ISBN-13: 978-0692233238
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #823,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gareth Branwyn (born January 21, 1958) is a writer, editor, and media critic.

He has covered technology, media, DIY, and cyberculture for Wired, Esquire, the Baltimore Sun, Details, and numerous other publications. He was an editor at Mondo 2000 and Boing Boing (when it was a print zine), founded the personal tech site, StreetTech.com, and worked for MAKE magazine for 8 years, lastly acting as their Editorial Director.

Gareth co-edited The Happy Mutant Handbook (with Boing Boing) and is the author of Jargon Watch: A Pocket Dictionary for the Jitterati, Jamming the Media, The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Building Robots, and Mosaic Quick Tour: Accessing and Navigating the World Wide Web (the first book written about the Web). His most recent book, a collection of his best work, with many new essays, is called Borg Like Me & Other Tales of Art, Eros, and Embedded Systems. The book was crowd-funded and self-published.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Simone Ines on August 21, 2014
Format: Paperback
The first impression that really lasted was Mark Frauenfelder's decription of Gareth Branwyn's many "hats" (interests), and how he just stacks one on top of the other, balancing all of them throughout his career as a writer (... amongst other things). Moreover, I had never quite realized to what extent he actually was - is - a real borg, with all the surgery he had undergone. Why do I mention this? Simply because it changed my perspective on him and his writing. It makes a huge difference if you read something without knowing anything about the author - or having the feeling to at least know something about the man behind the essays. The backstory, as Mark Frauenfelder calls it in his introduction, is given to us not only through foreword and introduction, but also through Gareth's prefaces to each of his essays, where he tells us something about the circumstances under which each piece was written. Some of them also come with media recommendations to fully dive into the mood and atmosphere.

Even if you are not familiar with the subject matter, "from music and art, to sex and romance, geek humor to spirituality (...), fringe and DIY media and culture", you will not feel lost between the pages, as Gareth's initial claim is thoroughly observed: "In my writing, I've always tried to help the technologically faint-of-heart feel more comfortable and empowered by technology (and to not be afraid to figure out how to use it to ones advantage, to ask critical questions about it) and to make engineers and their machines more accountable to us human users.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan D. Sousa on August 30, 2014
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed Borg Like Me. It's an impressive piece of work -- at once fascinating time capsule and current memoir. It reads easily and with a consistent sense of humor but Gareth's sincerity and depth of feeling permeate every one of the essays. There's a lot in here to ponder about a life well-lived, what that means, and how it's built.

While many of the zines, blogs, and multimedia projects that Gareth participated in during the 90s are rightly seen as foundation works for the early Internet, the level to which he and his compatriots shaped our current online culture is not often sufficiently acknowledged. There is little boasting here, but a number of good stories that make you realize more clearly where we've come from.

Even though this book and my Kindle are stacked on top of each other by the bed, and I usually prefer the one-handed laziness of the ebook, Borg Like Me demanded to be read in paper form. Perhaps it's the zines talking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Barnes on July 4, 2014
Format: Paperback
The first time I knowingly read Gareth Branwyn was in “The Happy Mutant Handbook,” in early 1992. I then realized that I'd also seen his writing in Wired, Mondo 2000, and bOING bOING (the print zine). In Borg Like Me, we get to revisit some of these early stories and go beyond them.

In the stand-out chapter "Tears in The Rain," (first published on the bOING bOING blog), I can feel every feeling, even smell the stale popcorn grease, mold, and suntan lotion as Gareth takes a rabbit hole ride into a Philip K. Dick story brought to the big screen.

Though not every chapter is as dark and damp as “Tears,” the style of writing is significant and the flavors are strong throughout the book.

Why is Gareth a Cyborg? Does he dream of electric hilaritas? This book answers all of these questions and more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Minneman on September 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a really personal book. It's a collection of essays that Gareth has written over the years, and it seems to span his life chronologically. As such it's a sort of autobiography via essays with a soundtrack that's very intimate. I'm impressed with the amount of honesty present in these pages.

It's a great book, especially if you're into cyberpunk, robotics, or technology in general. It also contains a number of interesting flashbacks to the 90s especially. Back when cellphones were huge, and 28.8k was a fast internet connection.

Definitely a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ROSS HERSHBERGER on July 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
I'm really enjoying Borg Like Me. Gareth's career exploring the fringes of the developing online world makes him an ideal guide to the possibilities and hazards of interconnected culture. It would be difficult to find an influential corner of the growing networked world that he wasn't involved in. His insight and experience give him a unique perspective that comes through in these articles. A great read.
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