9780805036268 / 0805036261

My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World


Publisher:Holt Paperbacks



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About the book:

In the early 90s, writer Julian Dibbell dwelt in LambdaMOO, at a time when a virtual rape took place--forcing the stirring of what he calls a tinysociety.

A MOO, or MUD object-oriented (MUD for multi-user dungeon), is an online role-playing game where players share virtual space, build rooms and interact socially. Dibbell watched, listened and participated while the community--for such the conglomeration of players had become--debated what action to take against the "rapist": whether to "toad" him (shut down his account) or simply subject him to some form of virtual shunning.

Dibbell, who also writes for Village Voice and Time magazine, chronicles his time in LambdaMOO in My Tiny Life, alternating between various RL (real life) locales and his life in VR (virtual reality). But the book offers more than just a timeline of virtual conversations and some racy cybersex encounters. Dibbell examines not only the evolution of politics on the MOO-- "Labmdamocracy", as he puts it--but also how the MOO fitted into the context of concomitant technological developments.

The book's biggest drawback is that it reads like a series of magazine articles strung together, and the RL sections attempt give you the feeling you're in a real-life MOO by repeating phrases like, "The Author is here". It seems unduly pretentious: since the author is narrating the story, do we really need to be told this? Nevertheless, the book is beautifully crafted and well worth reading.--Liz Bailey

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