War of the Worlds: Cyberspace and the High-Tech Assault on Reality

Overview

Part cultural critique, part call to the ramparts, War of the Worlds is a funny, but eerily disturbing, humanist's look at the culture of cyberspace. Chronicling this revolution in the making and some of the key players in the field, Mark Slouka warns us that more is going on than mere on-line communication. We stand now on the threshold of turning life itself into computer code, of transforming the experience of living in the physical world - every sensation, every detail - into a product for our consumption. ...
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Overview

Part cultural critique, part call to the ramparts, War of the Worlds is a funny, but eerily disturbing, humanist's look at the culture of cyberspace. Chronicling this revolution in the making and some of the key players in the field, Mark Slouka warns us that more is going on than mere on-line communication. We stand now on the threshold of turning life itself into computer code, of transforming the experience of living in the physical world - every sensation, every detail - into a product for our consumption. Whether you're a devoted citizen of cyberspace or the opposite, a PONA (person of no account), you owe it to yourself to join Slouka as he reveals some of the uglier side effects of technological "progress" and offers a compelling argument for reaffirming our connection to the unwired world.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As millions of computer users plug into the Internet, access online services, play computer simulation games and explore virtual realities, abstract communication replaces firsthand experience, entertainment becomes mere spectatorship and ordinary human contact is devalued, declares Slouka. His thoughtful, provocative critique deflates the giddy, messianic claims of digital-revolution proponents. A lecturer in English and popular culture at UC San Diego, Slouka deftly skewers the notion that universal access to an information superhighway will empower the weak and foster community. Attacking cyberspace enthusiasts who envisage a ``digital hive'' wiring together countless computer buffs into a ``global mind,'' Slouka argues that such fantasies betray a collectivist mentality and a deep distrust of the individual. His withering broadside makes a compelling case that the so-called digital revolution is distraction on a grand scale. $25,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Aug.)
Booknews
A humanist looks at the culture of cyberspace and warns that more is going on than mere on-line communication: While the technological revolution offers convenience, entertainment, and more information than we know what to do with, it's also blurring the line between synthetic environments and real life. Slouka takes a look at key players such as Bill Gates and Nicholas Negroponte and also examines the dark side of the Internet. Enormous cultural implications will result, he says, if people consider technology more interesting than the natural world. Slouka urges us to reaffirm our connections to unwired reality. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465004867
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 7/14/1995
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.77 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author


Mark Slouka is a lecturer in literature and culture at the University of California, San Diego. He’s currently writing a book on the decline of the physical world in modern life, and his fiction has appeared in Harper’s magazine.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Road to Unreality 1
Ch. 1 "Reality Is Death": The Spirit of Cyberspace 17
Ch. 2 "Springtime for Schizophrenia": The Assault on Identity 39
Ch. 3 Virtual World: The Assault on Place 65
Ch. 4 Highway to Hive: The Assault on Community 87
Ch. 5 Republic of Illusion: The Assault on Reality 109
Ch. 8 The Case for Essentialism 131
Glossary 153
Notes 181
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