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Second Lives: A Journey through Virtual Worlds

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Second Lives: A Journey through Virtual Worlds Cover

ISBN13: 9781400065356
ISBN10: 1400065356
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

We've always dreamed of perfect places: Eden, heaven, Utopia. Imagine gambling without loss, love without heartbreak, sex without exposure, experience without risk. Welcome to the fascinating world of online virtual reality, the land of invented places and populations that is entered and inhabited every week by nearly fifty million people worldwide. Each participant creates a virtual body, works at virtual jobs, and makes virtual friends and family. In Second Lives, Tim Guest, an internationally acclaimed young journalist, takes us on a revelatory journey through the electronic looking glass as he investigates one of the most bizarre phenomena of the twenty-first century.

From Second Life to EverQuest and beyond, here are the computer-generated environments and characters that can easily become more engrossing and fulfilling than earthly existence. With the click of a mouse you can select eye color, face shape, height — you can even give yourself wings. Your character, or avatar, can build houses, make and sell works of art, earn money, get married and divorced.

In this fascinating and groundbreaking book, Guest meets people who found meaningful love and friendship despite never having met in person, catches up with the companies that have used virtual worlds to make big money, investigates the U.S. military's massive online global model that trains soldiers to fight anyone anywhere, and travels all the way to gaming-crazed Korea to get a taste for just how big this phenomenon really is.

At first glance, these new computer-generated places seem free from trouble and sorrow. But Guest examines the dark side of this technology too, including the online criminals who plague imaginary worlds, from cyber mafiosos and prostitutes to real hackers and terrorists. It seems that one cannot escape greed, corruption, and human weakness — even inside a computer screen.

Are these virtual worlds a way to enhance life or to escape it? Guest explores this question personally as he lets himself be transported into myriad parallel universes. By turns provocative, inspiring, and disturbing, Second Lives is a crucial book for this millennium. After all, real life is so twentieth century.

Review:

"Tim Guest is a young writer with the literary goods. My Life in Orange, his hit memoir of growing up in a commune, looked at his past; his riveting new book, Second Lives, looks at our future: the world of virtual reality and the spellbound people who inhabit it. The book is some kind of revelation–by turns compelling, chilling, and illuminating. Curious, intelligent, offbeat, and artful, Guest is at the beginning of a big career." John Lahr, senior drama critic for The New Yorker and author of Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton

Review:

"An anthropological adventure but also Guest's personal voyage...a fascinating portrait of rainbow landscapes and their inhabitants." Time Out London

Review:

"Rich and colourful...an important mapping of a new social frontier." The Guardian

Review:

"Remarkably timely." The Sunday Telegraph

Review:

"Astonishing." The Sunday Times

Synopsis:

Every day, millions of people abandon reality for virtual worlds — building houses, making and selling works of art, getting married. On ebay, people sell virtual clothes and rent virtual cars. Tim Guest takes us into the bizarre culture of virtual lives.

Synopsis:

Weve always dreamed of perfect places: Eden, heaven, Utopia. Imagine gambling without loss, love without heartbreak, sex without exposure, experience without risk. Welcome to the fascinating world of online virtual reality, the land of invented places and populations that is entered and inhabited every week by nearly fifty million people worldwide. Each participant creates a virtual body, works at virtual jobs, and makes virtual friends and family. In Second Lives, Tim Guest, an internationally acclaimed young journalist, takes us on a revelatory journey through the electronic looking glass as he investigates one of the most bizarre phenomena of the twenty-first century.

From Second Life to EverQuest and beyond, here are the computer-generated environments and characters that can easily become more engrossing and fulfilling than earthly existence. With the click of a mouse you can select eye color, face shape, height–you can even give yourself wings. Your character, or avatar, can build houses, make and sell works of art, earn money, get married and divorced.

In this fascinating and groundbreaking book, Guest meets people who found meaningful love and friendship despite never having met in person, catches up with the companies that have used virtual worlds to make big money, investigates the U.S. militarys massive online global model that trains soldiers to fight anyone anywhere, and travels all the way to gaming-crazed Korea to get a taste for just how big this phenomenon really is.

At first glance, these new computer-generated places seem free from trouble and sorrow. But Guest examines the dark side of this technology too, including the online criminals who plague imaginary worlds, from cyber mafiosos and prostitutes to real hackers and terrorists. It seems that one cannot escape greed, corruption, and human weakness–even inside a computer screen.

Are these virtual worlds a way to enhance life or to escape it? Guest explores this question personally as he lets himself be transported into myriad parallel universes. By turns provocative, inspiring, and disturbing, Second Lives is a crucial book for this millennium. After all, real life is so twentieth century.

Advance praise for Second Lives

“Tim Guest is a young writer with the literary goods. My Life in Orange, his hit memoir of growing up in a commune, looked at his past; his riveting new book, Second Lives, looks at our future: the world of virtual reality and the spellbound people who inhabit it. The book is some kind of revelation–by turns compelling, chilling, and illuminating. Curious, intelligent, offbeat, and artful, Guest is at the beginning of a big career.”

John Lahr, senior drama critic, The New Yorker, author of

Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton

Praise from England for Second Lives

“An anthropological adventure but also Guests personal voyage . . . a fascinating portrait of rainbow landscapes and their inhabitants.”

Time Out London

“Rich and colourful . . . an important mapping of a new social frontier.”

–The Guardian

“Remarkably timely.”

–The Sunday Telegraph

“Astonishing.”

–The Sunday Times

About the Author

Tim Guest is a journalist and the bestselling author of My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru, about his childhood on communes around the world. Guest's articles have appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, New Scientist, and Vogue. He lives in London.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

justannesopinion, April 21, 2008 (view all comments by justannesopinion)
The book is well written and engaging, and explores a very interesting subject. The information about virtual worlds and their inhabitants and creators and rules is presented quite cogently, in a tone that is engaged but still objective.

I had a little difficulty with the material that the author included about himself; some of that is quite interesting, other parts left me with a "so what?"

On the whole, if you want a flavor of what's behind the immersive/avatar stuff, this book is a good resource and a pleasing read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400065356
Subtitle:
A Journey Through Virtual Worlds
Author:
Guest, Tim
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Virtual Reality
Subject:
Shared virtual environments
Subject:
General
Subject:
Social Aspects - General
Subject:
Internet - General
Subject:
Virtual World
Subject:
General Social Science
Copyright:
Publication Date:
March 2008
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.51 x 6.4 x 1 in 1.065 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Sociology » General

Second Lives: A Journey through Virtual Worlds Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Random House - English 9781400065356 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Tim Guest is a young writer with the literary goods. My Life in Orange, his hit memoir of growing up in a commune, looked at his past; his riveting new book, Second Lives, looks at our future: the world of virtual reality and the spellbound people who inhabit it. The book is some kind of revelation–by turns compelling, chilling, and illuminating. Curious, intelligent, offbeat, and artful, Guest is at the beginning of a big career." John Lahr, senior drama critic for The New Yorker and author of Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton
"Review" by , "An anthropological adventure but also Guest's personal voyage...a fascinating portrait of rainbow landscapes and their inhabitants."
"Review" by , "Rich and colourful...an important mapping of a new social frontier."
"Review" by , "Remarkably timely."
"Review" by , "Astonishing."
"Synopsis" by , Every day, millions of people abandon reality for virtual worlds — building houses, making and selling works of art, getting married. On ebay, people sell virtual clothes and rent virtual cars. Tim Guest takes us into the bizarre culture of virtual lives.
"Synopsis" by , Weve always dreamed of perfect places: Eden, heaven, Utopia. Imagine gambling without loss, love without heartbreak, sex without exposure, experience without risk. Welcome to the fascinating world of online virtual reality, the land of invented places and populations that is entered and inhabited every week by nearly fifty million people worldwide. Each participant creates a virtual body, works at virtual jobs, and makes virtual friends and family. In Second Lives, Tim Guest, an internationally acclaimed young journalist, takes us on a revelatory journey through the electronic looking glass as he investigates one of the most bizarre phenomena of the twenty-first century.

From Second Life to EverQuest and beyond, here are the computer-generated environments and characters that can easily become more engrossing and fulfilling than earthly existence. With the click of a mouse you can select eye color, face shape, height–you can even give yourself wings. Your character, or avatar, can build houses, make and sell works of art, earn money, get married and divorced.

In this fascinating and groundbreaking book, Guest meets people who found meaningful love and friendship despite never having met in person, catches up with the companies that have used virtual worlds to make big money, investigates the U.S. militarys massive online global model that trains soldiers to fight anyone anywhere, and travels all the way to gaming-crazed Korea to get a taste for just how big this phenomenon really is.

At first glance, these new computer-generated places seem free from trouble and sorrow. But Guest examines the dark side of this technology too, including the online criminals who plague imaginary worlds, from cyber mafiosos and prostitutes to real hackers and terrorists. It seems that one cannot escape greed, corruption, and human weakness–even inside a computer screen.

Are these virtual worlds a way to enhance life or to escape it? Guest explores this question personally as he lets himself be transported into myriad parallel universes. By turns provocative, inspiring, and disturbing, Second Lives is a crucial book for this millennium. After all, real life is so twentieth century.

Advance praise for Second Lives

“Tim Guest is a young writer with the literary goods. My Life in Orange, his hit memoir of growing up in a commune, looked at his past; his riveting new book, Second Lives, looks at our future: the world of virtual reality and the spellbound people who inhabit it. The book is some kind of revelation–by turns compelling, chilling, and illuminating. Curious, intelligent, offbeat, and artful, Guest is at the beginning of a big career.”

John Lahr, senior drama critic, The New Yorker, author of

Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton

Praise from England for Second Lives

“An anthropological adventure but also Guests personal voyage . . . a fascinating portrait of rainbow landscapes and their inhabitants.”

Time Out London

“Rich and colourful . . . an important mapping of a new social frontier.”

–The Guardian

“Remarkably timely.”

–The Sunday Telegraph

“Astonishing.”

–The Sunday Times

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