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Access All Areas: A User's Guide to the Art of Urban Exploration Paperback – October 15, 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 242 pages
  • Publisher: Infilpress; 1 edition (October 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0973778709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0973778700
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #481,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bundt Lust VINE VOICE on January 15, 2006
I have been an avid fan for many years of Ninjalicious's E-zine Infiltration ([...]), a website devoted to exploring the bowels of those places you're not supposed to go: city hospitals, hotels, subway tunnels, abandoned factories, the works. Sadly, Ninjalicious passed away in August 2005 from a terminal illness, but his love of exploration (and a good yarn!) lives on in Access All Areas.

Urban exploration is not for everyone: it is generally illegal, dirty, claustrophobic, and can be downright dangerous, if not fatal (exploring subway tunnels when the trains are in use, risk of electrocution from stepping on the third electrified rail in subway tunnels, asbestos and other toxic chemicals in abandoned factories, drowning if drains flash flood, etc.). For me, I enjoyed reading Ninj's adventures exploring working subway tunnels, abandoned breweries, barging in on hotel swimming pools pretending to be a guest, and other hands-off areas of Toronto.

Ninjalicous's writing style and down-to-earth pointers about Urban Exploration (he can most definitely be considered one of the sport's founders), along with the ever-present naughty thrill of "will you be caught?" makes it an exciting hobby (please note, I'm an armchair Urban Explorer -- I've never tried exploring Toronto's subways, hospitals, abandoned breweries, or hotels in person, I'm just a fan of Ninjalicious and the *idea* of Urban Exploration.) Rest in peace, Ninjalicious, and thanks for the years of thrills!
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I ordered this book whilst drunk and reading the internet one night, and proceeded to forget all about it. When it arrived weeks later, I was wary of the theme, the author's nom de plume, and virtually everything else. I personally am not an urban explorer--I suppose I just thought I'd find the subject interesting.

Turns out, this was the best book I read all year. It's written with an inquisitive but respectful attitude, and the author is properly derisive of people who enter spaces to deface them. Many of the observations the book makes are extremely interesting, and provide insight into how large properties and operations work that will be of use even if you aren't planning on looking around. Throughout, the book is permeated with a sense of humour and an easy, readable writing style.

I was sad to hear that Ninjalicious had passed on. I would have liked to meet him, shake his hand, and tell him he's written a very, very good book.
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I grabbed this book from the library because the subject intrigued me - not because I plan to infiltrate anything, but rather just because I wanted to read about it. And what a great read it turned out to be. Ninjalicious writes very well and with a good sense of humour. He covers the subject thoroughly (I can't imagine he overlooked anything) and with a good attitude. I enjoyed the several brief anecdotes scattered throughout the book describing infiltrations which Ninjalicious conducted (and documented with photos), and I particularly enjoyed the chapter on social engineering (the principles of which are applicable to many day-to-day non-infiltration encounters). Highly recommended.
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On the surface, Access All Areas is primer and "how to" manual to everything that is Urban Exploration. Indeed, Ninjalicious, a founder in the world of Urban Exploration, walks through every aspect of the art with thoroughness and attention to detail. He describes the lifestyle of the explorer, skills needed to affectively infiltrate sites, and the supplies that one needs in order to ensure a safe and rewarding exploration. Ninjalicious also covers various locations that an urban explorer can venture to with personal accounts and site specific advice. The most information is divided between abandoned sites, active sites, construction sites, drains, and utility tunnels. However, various special sites that urban explorers can visit are also covered adequately in their own section. Those looking for an instructional introduction to Urban Exploring will be satisfied. However, Access All Areas is also excellent for its deeper themes.
Ninjalicious' work is also a commentary on our society. Many of us live our lives without observing. The places in which we live, work, and carry out our daily lives are designated to us at every turn. We are told where we can and can't go, and, for the most part, we obey these orders and instructions mindlessly, never thinking about what lies beyond the "do not enter" and "prohibited" signs. Ninjalicious encourages us to move beyond this social and societal numbness and truly see the urban world around us. Even if one only reads this book and never explores for themselves, an "arm-chair urban explorer" if you will, they will certainly gain a wider and more awe-inspired view of the everyday world around them.
Lastly, Access All Areas reads like a memior, given the history behind its writer. Ninjalicious died of terminal cancer back in 2005.
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In my search for unusual and interesting books, I came across Access All Areas by Ninjalicious (otherwise known as Jeff Chapman). I can't remember whether the title or the author's chosen pseudonym piqued my interest (it was probably both), but the subject at hand was certainly interesting, and the glowing reviews by other people left no doubt in my mind that this was going to be an enjoyable read. Quite so. I am well over half way through, and the book is hard to put down. Informative, engaging, and humorous, Ninj writes in a way that is easy to follow, although it is quite evident that he knows his language well (with a vocabulary to boot) and this shines through every once in a while through the use of subtle puns and his slightly off-beat sense of humor. Intelligently written, the book covers a lot of ground, but also places much-needed importance on the topics of personal safety and ethics, to make sure the curious take necessary precautions before their next expedition, and understand that the topic is about exploration and NOT about destruction or leaving your mark where it isn't wanted.
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