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The Second Life Herald: The Virtual Tabloid that Witnessed the Dawn of the Metaverse (MIT Press) Paperback – September 18, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
It shouldn't be a surprise that the online virtual communities like Second Life-where, recently, the how's and why's of having a "unicorn baby" were all the rage-have their own virtual newspapers and blogs. The very real world constraints such organs have come under, however, may surprise more than a few readers. University of Michigan philosophy professor Peter Ludlow has written and edited various monographs on language and cyberspace; under the name of his online avatar, Urizenus Sklar, Ludlow muckraked within The Sims Online community and was later publisher of SL's The Second Life Herald. He here teams with freelance journalist Wallace, who has had his own adventures covering online virtual communities, to give a blow-by-blow account of how Urizenus Sklar's writings caused a big stir online, with ramifications that are still unfolding. With wit and a real sense of suspense, the two dramatize the "killing" of Urizenus ("Uri") in late 2003, and then work backwards, giving a history of online multiuser environments, providing a vivid sense of what it is to participate in them, detailing the larger forces at work in the conflicts that killed Urizenus, and urgently raising still-very-unresolved issues about law, censorship and cyberspace. Anyone with even the slightest curiosity about online virtual communities will find it engrossing.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The Second Life Herald reads like the missing link between All the President's Men and Alice in Wonderland, but make no mistake: Ludlow and Wallace have written an essential introduction to the peculiar challenges of civic life in today's increasingly populous virtual worlds. It's an engaging, and eminently teachable, crash course in the power struggles that define online polities, and its lessons will serve us for decades to come.(Julian Dibbell, author of Play Money: Or How I Quit My Day Job and Made MillionsTrading Virtual Loot)
Peter Ludlow and Mark Wallace offer a fascinating frontline perspective on life in the emerging multiverses -- rich, immersive multiperson game worlds where people live, conduct business, engage in politics, and struggle with crime, corruption, and other forms of moral transgression. The issues that The Second Life Herald examines will be ones with which society will be grappling for years to come, but they come alive here through vivid portraits of the settlers, politicos, griefers, entrepreneurs, and con artists who are the early adapters of these online worlds.(Henry Jenkins, Codirector, Comparative Media Studies Program, MIT, and author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide)
A lively and worthwhile insight into the development of this alternative universe.(Eric Sinrod New Scientist)
Anyone with even the slightest curiosity about online virtual communities will find it engrossing.(Publishers Weekly)
Part investigative report, part memoir, part travelogue, The Second Life Herald pulls back the curtain between our world and the virtual worlds that have become increasingly popular actors on the cultural stage. Going beyond the pollyannaish accounts of these worlds as the future paradises of commerce, Ludlow and Wallace also explore the underworlds of sex, crime, and flimflam that form the foundation of online communities. This book is a must for anyone who thought they understood Second Life or The Sims Online or any other virtual world after reading an article or two in the mainstream pressnot because it will disabuse them of a false hope, but because it tells a fuller story about both the noble and the tawdry aspects of virtual worlds, and how one can't exist without the other.(Ian Bogost, School of Literature, Communication, and Culture, The Georgia Institute of Technology)
There are any number of books explaining how to make money in Second Life or how to "win" in the various game worlds, but until now there were only three seminal works... The Second Life Herald is a worthy addition to this small group and provides a useful readable guide to the recent past and potential future of online worlds.(Science)
This is a long overdue and truly superlative effort to bring an understanding of online culture to the general public. Beautifully written, it floods light into what for some may be an unknown aspect of our culture and gives it meaning and depth by illustrating real-life effects. This is an essential book for the humanities, social sciences, and technology collections of academic and public libraries.(Library Journal)
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