- Hardcover: 250 pages
- Publisher: Harpercollins; 1st edition (March 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006251010X
- ISBN-13: 978-0062510105
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,136,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Hyperspace Hardcover – March, 1994
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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.
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Top customer reviews
'Cyberia' has its obvious flaws in retrospect - examples regarding the links between drug culture, hacking, the Internet, and computers that have since become well-known or overdone. Sometimes the tone is uncritical - probably because Rushkoff was so excited about the future potential of VR, the Internet etc. This book was written well before the Internet became the latest quarterly profit enhancer, well before the rise of Internet shopping malls and dubious e-mail chain letters. On its initial release, it made a significant impact, speeding up public acceptance of the Internet as a communications medium, and heralding the cultural 'future-shocks' regarding personal identity that will accompany it. Criticism is also prompted by a backlash against the author and his success.
'Cyberia' is best read as the author's first book, which succeeds in capturing the hope of a moment and sense of an underground movement that was pre-'Wired' magazine and pre E-commerce. There are some powerful sections such as a gonzo trip to the offices of 'Mondo 2000' and meetings with R.U. Sirius; Rushkoff checking out college colleagues entering Silicon Valley and being forced to take drug tests; and talks with Ralph Abraham, Timothy Leary, and Terence McKenna.
Read critically but thoughtfully.
called "Cyber Culture." Focusing on the San Francisco Bay
Area, this book explains the various means by which people
travel to 'cyberia'. From all night raves, to paganism, to
super potent hallucinogens - people attempt to adapt
themselves for the future.
Each section of the book is well balanced and covers its
topic well. The book is still current, and the one flaw
that comes to mind is that the rave section focused too much
on house, ignoring other types of music.
All in all, an excellent book.