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November 30, 2020 at 6:21 am #13077Kimberly ThomasGuest
Lost in Cyberspace
Essays and Far Fetched Tales
by Val Schaffner, Bill Henderson
- Publisher: Bridge Works Publishing Company
- Language: english
- Author: Val Schaffner, Bill Henderson
- Format: hardcover, 192 pages
- Release date: October 7, 1993
- ISBN: 9781882593033 (1882593030)
About The Book
Lost in Cyberspace is a humanist’s excursion to tomorrow’s world, a seductive and frightening realm where sex takes place by modem, computers sue their owners, Faust drives a Porsche, a computer is elected president, Satan has a soul-free number, and on May Day all the ATM machines crash simultaneously. A computer screen glimmering in a haunted house is the culminating image of this provocative collection, which is neither fiction nor journalism but inhabits a peculiar space of its own — call it virtual. For virtual reality, via machine or imagination, is the theme on which Val Schaffner sounds his 41 variations. Occasionally somber, often satiric, sometimes outrageous, always original, his essays roam among the illusions of tomorrow and those of the here-and-now. He shows why computers are the Devil’s favorite invention, with sin only a keystroke away, and imagines a day when love and war are replaced by computer games. But the automobile, too, in his quirky vision is a form of virtual reality favored by the master of temptation. So is Los Angeles. So is art. So, even, are apples, football, and summer camp. But Schaffner wouldn’t live without his car and his computer. And when non-virtual reality is too prosaic for him, he creates “virtual theories” to improve on it. Why do men sing in the shower? Why do we catch colds? Why do we set the clocks back in winter? Why do we love oysters? Why did Nixon tape himself? If Schaffner’s explanations are too good to be true, that is why he calls them virtual. A member of the generation that grew up with the bomb and came of age with the computer, Schaffner is the inventor of the writer’s seatbelt (among other “virtual inventions” described in hisbook) and an award-winning newspaper columnist. In Lost in Cyberspace he fastens that seatbelt for a wild and funny ride through a world on the edge of technological derangement.
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