Background Reading

Here is some of the background reading I’ve been doing.  I’ll be adding more from my notes, and further suggestions are very welcome.

  • Abram, D. (1997) The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human-World New York: Vintage.
  • Agre, P. and Horswill, I. (1997) ‘Lifeworld Analysis’, Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research Volume 6
  • Armour, J.P. (1994) Birth of a Metaphor
  • Bachelard, G. (1964, 1994) The Poetics Of Space, Boston: Beacon Press , Boston.
  • Barabasi, A-L. (2002) Linked : The New Science of Networks, Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus
  • Barbrook, R. & Cameron, A. (1997) ‘Californian Ideology’ Chaos
  • Barlow, J.P. (1996) ‘A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace’, February 8,
  • Bateson, G. (2000) Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • Bear,
    J. (1983) Computer Wimp : 166 Things I Wish I Had Known before I Bought
    My First Computer. Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed
  • Benjamin, W. (  ) Illuminations, London: Pimlico Press
  • Besher, A., Engebretson, P. and Bollerot, F. (1995) ‘Virtual Tao, A Cyber-Meditation’ Shambhala Sun  Magazine,
  • Bishop,
    P. (1989) The Myth of Shangri-La : Tibet, Travel Writing and the
    Western Creation of Sacred Landscape. London: Athlone Press
  • Blythe, R. (1969) Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village, London: Allen Lane
  • Bolter, J. D. & Grusin, R. A. (1999) Remediation : Understanding New Media, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press
  • Bricklin, D. 2001,‘The Cornucopia of the Commons’,
  • Broadhurst, Ronald J. C. The Travels of Ibn Jubayr … Translated … By R. J. C. Broadhurst. With an Introduction and Notes. [with Maps.]. pp. 430. Jonathan Cape: London, 1952.
  • Carton, Sean. Internet Virtual Worlds Quick Tour : Muds, Moos & Mushes : Interactive Games, Conferences & Forums. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Ventana Press, 1995
  • Classen, C. 1993, Worlds of Sense, Routledge, London
  • Colquhoun, Kate. A Thing in Disguise : The Visionary Life of Joseph Paxton.
    London: Fourth Estate,
  • Cornucopia
    of Cooperation and Social Spillover, Ross Mayfield,
  • Coverley, M. (2006) Psychogeography London: Pocket Essentials
  • Cross, R. February, 1995, ‘Modem Grrrl’ Wired 119, San Francisco.
  • Curtis,
    P. 1998, ‘Not Just a Game: How LambdaMOO came to exist and what it did
    to get back at me’, High Wired: On the Design, Use, and Theory of
    Educational MOOs, Eds. Haynes,C. and Holmevik, J.R., University of
    Michigan Press, Michigan,
  • Damasio, A. R. The Feeling of What Happens : Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness. London: Vintage, 2000.
  • Davis, E. (1998, 1999). Techgnosis : Myth, Magic + Mysticism in the Age of Information. London: Serpent’s Tail
  • Davis,
    E. 1994, ‘It’s a Mud, Mud, Mud, Mud World: Exploring Online Reality’,
    The Village Voice, 22 February,
  • de Kerckhove, D. ‘Network Art and Virtual Communities’, Parallel, Australia, 6 November 1995,  Accessed 6 October 2003
  • Deakin, R. (2000) Waterlog London: Vintage
  • Debord,G. (1992) Society of the Spectacle Trans, Ken Knabb, London: Rebel Press
  • De Certeau, M. (1984) The Practice of Everyday Life Trans. Steven Rendall, Los Angeles: University of California Press
  • Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus : Capitalism and Schizophrenia.
    London: Athlone Press,
  • Dery, Mark. Escape Velocity : Cyberculture at the End of the Century.
    London: Hodder & Stoughton,
  • Dibbell,
    J. ‘A Rape in Cyberspace: How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster
    Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database Into a
    Society’, The Village Voice, December 23, 1993.
  • Dibbell, Julian. My Tiny Life : Crime and Passion in a Virtual World. London: Fourth Estate, 1999.
  • Dillard, Annie. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
    Picador. London: Pan Books, 1980.   Distributed by Tollman Co.,
  • Dodge, Martin, and Rob Kitchin. Mapping Cyberspace. London ; New York: Routledge, 2001.
  • Donnelly, Ignatius. Atlantis: The Antediluvian World … Illustrated. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1882.
  • Edwards, B. (1999) The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Tarcher
  • Estes, Clarissa Pinkola. Women Who Run with the Wolves : Contacting the Power of the Wild Woman. London: Rider, 1992.
  • Figallo, Cliff. Hosting Web Communities : Building Relationships, Increasing Customer Loyalty, and Maintaining a Competitive Edge. New York ; Chichester: Wiley, 1998.
  • Finn, Christine. Artifacts : An Archaeologist’s Year in Silicon Valley.
    Cambridge, Mass. ; London: MIT Press,
  • Flanagan,
    M. and Booth, A. Eds. 2002, Reload: rethinking women and cyberculture,
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press,
  • Frude, Neil. The Intimate Machine : Close Encounters with the New Computers.
    London: Century Publishing,
  • Gibson, William. Pattern Recognition. London: Viking, 2003.
  • Gibson,W.(1984) Neuromancer, London: Gollancz
  • Goodridge, John, and John Clare Society (Peterborough England). Conference. The Independent Spirit : John Clare and the Self-Taught Tradition.
    Helpston [England]: John Clare Society and the Margaret Grainger
    Memorial Trust,
  • Grand, S. 2003, Growing up with Lucy, Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London.
  • Gustaitis, Rasa. Turning on, Etc. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1969.
  • Hansen, S. 2002, ‘The Emotional Machine’, Salon,, Accessed 10 October 2004
  • Haraway,
    D. “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in
    the Late Twentieth Century,” in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The
    Reinvention of Nature (New York; Routledge, 1991), 149-181.
  • Harcourt, Wendy. Women@Internet : Creating New Cultures in Cyberspace.
    London ; New York: Zed Books,
  • Hardin, G. ‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, Science, 162(1968):1243-1248.
  • Harper,
    M.C., 1995, ‘Incurably Alien Other: A Case for Feminist Cyborg’,
    Science Fiction Studies Volume 22,
  • Hawthorne, Nathaniel, and Milton R. Stern. The House of the Seven Gables. Penguin Classics: New York ; London : Penguin Books, 1986 [2005 printing].
  • Hayles, N. Katherine. How We Became Posthuman : Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
  • Hayles. Writing Machines. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2002.
  • Haynes,
    C. and Holmevik, J.R , 1998, High Wired: On the Design, Use, and Theory
    of Educational MOOs, University of Michigan Press,
  • Henwood, Felicity, Helen Kennedy, and Nod Miller. Cyborg Lives? : Women’s Technobiographies. York: Raw Nerve, 2001.
  • Herz, J. C. Surfing on the Internet : A Nethead’s Adventure on-Line. 1st ed. Boston: Little, Brown, 1995.
  • Hinchliffe, D. Web 2.0 Blog, 16 October, 2005
  • Hine, Christine. Virtual Ethnography. London: SAGE, 2000.
  • Ibn Jubayr, Mu E. ammad ibn A. E. mad, and Ronald J. C. Broadhurst. The
    Travels of Ibn Jubayr, Being the Chronicles of a Mediaeval Spanish Moor
    Concerning His Journey to the Egpyt of Saladin : The Holy Cities of
    Arabia, Baghdad the City of the Caliphs, the Latin Kingdom of
    Jerusalem, and the Norman Kingdom of Sicily
    . London: J. Cape, 1952
  • image from Museum, Apple II History
  • Jarrett, Dennis. Good Computing Book for Beginners. London: ECC Publications, 1980.
  • John Lanchester, ‘Engine Trouble’, The Guardian, 26.1.06
  • Johnson, Steven. Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate. 1st ed. [San Francisco]: HarperEdge, 1997.
  • Keats, J. ‘On first looking into Chapman’s Homer’
  • Kehoe, Brendan P. (1992) Zen and the Art of the Internet A Beginner’s Guide to the Internet (accessed October 2006)
  • Keith, Arthur Sir. The Engines of the Human Body … Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged, Etc. pp. xvi. 343. pl. II. Williams & Norgate: London, 1925.
  • Kosko, Bart. Fuzzy Thinking : The New Science of Fuzzy Logic. London: Flamingo, 1994, 1993.
  • Kroker, A. & Weinstein, M.(1994) Data Trash: The Theory Of The Virtual Class, Montreal: New World Perspectives
  • Kroker, Arthur, and Marilouise Kroker. Hacking the Future : Stories for the Flesh-Eating 90s. Culturetexts. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996.
  • Krueger, M.P. (1983) Artificial Reality, Reading: Addison-Wesley
  • Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M. (1980) Metaphors We Live By, Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • LambdaMOO, telnet://
  • Lanchester, J. ‘Engine Trouble’, The Guardian, 26.1.06
  • Lao, Tzu, and D. C. Lau. Tao Te Ching. Penguin, 1963(1985).
  • Larissa
    Conrad and Timothy J. Roper  ‘Consensus decision making in animals’
    Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Volume 20, Issue 8 , August 2005,
    Pages 449-456 (via
  • Leder, D. 1990, The Absent Body, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  • LinguaMOO,
  • Liu, Alan. The Laws of Cool : Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information.
    Chicago ; London: University of Chicago Press,
  • Mabey, R. (2006) Nature Cure London: Pimlico
  • MacKenzie, Donald A., and Judy Wajcman. The Social Shaping of Technology. 2nd ed. ed. Milton Keynes, [Eng.] ; Philadelphia, Pa.: Open University Press, 1999.
  • Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media. Leonardo. Cambridge, Mass. ; London: MIT Press, 2001
  • Maps of the Imagination : The Writer as Cartographer.
    San Antonio, Texas: Trinity University Press,
  • Marquez, G.G. (1967, 1998) One Hundred Years of Solitude  London: Penguin
  • Marx, Leo. The Machine in the Garden. Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America. pp. 392. Oxford University Press: New York, 1964.
  • Matsuo, Basho, and Nobuyuki Yuasa. The Narrow Road to the Deep North, and Other Travel Sketches; Translated … With an Introduction by Nobuyuki Yuasa.
    (Penguin Classics.): Harmondsworth: Penguin,
  • Mavromatis,
    A. 1987, Hypnagogia: The Unique State Of Consciousness Between
    Wakefulness And Sleep, Routledge,
  • McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media : The Extensions of Man.
    London: Routledge & Kegan Paul,
  • Merleau-Ponty, M. (1945) Phenomenology of Perception, trans. Colin Smith 1958, London: Routledge.
  • Michie, Donald, and Rory Johnston. The Creative Computer : Machine Intelligence and Human Knowledge. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985, 1984.
  • Minsky, M. 1987, The Society Of Mind, Heinemann, London.
  • Mitchell, W. () ME++, MIT Press
  • O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, March 2005,
  • O’Reilly,
    T. What is Web 2.0, O’Reilly, 30/9/2005,
  • Ong, W. 1982, Orality and Literacy, Routledge, London.
  • Pang, A. ‘End of Cyberspace’
  • Phenomenology Online, glossary  
  • Pink, D.  (2005) A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age, New York: Riverhead Books
  • Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death : Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. London: Heinemann, 1986.
  • Ratzan,
    Lee (2000)   “Making sense of the Web: a metaphorical approach”.
    Information Research, 6(1) Available at: accessed 14/8/05
  • Reggio, G, (1983) Koyaanisqatsi
  • Rheingold, Howard. Tools for Thought : The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology. Cambridge, Mass. ; London: MIT Press, 2000, 1985.
  • Rheingold. Smart Mobs : The Next Social Revolution. Cambridge, Mass.: Perseus, 2002.
  • Rickard,
    Jolene, ‘First Nation Territory in Cyber Space Declared : No Treaties
    Needed’, CyberPowWow (no date) (accessed
    November 2005)
  • Romanyshyn, R.D. (1989) Technology As Symptom And Dream, London: Routledge
  • Roney-Dougal, Serena. Where Science and Magic Meet. London: Robson, 2002.
  • Rushkoff, D. Renaissance Prospects, a talk at Poptech 2004.
  • Sensory
    Integration and Intuition’, Selfhelp Magazine
  • Shneiderman, Ben. Leonardo’s Laptop : Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies. Cambridge, Mass. ; London: MIT Press, 2002.
  • Sikora, T. (2000) Wild as a hawk’s dream: towards an ecology of cyberspace
  • Slouka, Mark. War of the Worlds : Cyberspace and the High-Tech Assault on Reality.
    New York: BasicBooks,
  • Snyder, G. (1990) The Practice of the Wild, San Francisco: North Point Press
  • Solnit, R. (2003) River of Shadows: Edweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West , New York: Viking
  • Solnit, Rebecca. Wanderlust : A History of Walking. London: Verso, 2001.
  • Sondheim, A. Internet Text ii of ii (no date given)
  • Sondheim, A.J. (1999) Jennifer in Phaedra, Ellsworth, ME: Backwoods Broadsides Chaplet Series, No.43
  • Sondheim, Alan. Disorders of the Real. Barrytown, N.Y.
  • Springer, Claudia. Electronic Eros : Bodies and Desire in the Postindustrial Age.
    London: Athlone,
  • Stefik, Mark J. Internet Dreams : Archetypes, Myths and Metaphors.
    Cambridge, Mass. ; London: MIT Press,
  • Stone,
    A.R. 1995, The War of Desire And Technology at the Close of the
    Mechanical Age, MIT Press,
  • Stryker, S. ‘Sex and Death among the Cyborgs’, Wired 4.05, May 1996,
  • Sudo, Philip Toshio. Zen Computer. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999.
  • Suler, J. ‘The Psychology of Cyberspace’,
  • Thomas,
    S. (1994) ‘All Strapped In’, Wild Women: Contemporary Short Stories By
    Women Celebrating Women, ed. Thomas, S. Overlook Press, New York;
    Vintage, London, pp.87-91
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    S. (1990) ‘Between the Boys and their Toys’, Where No Man Has Gone
    Before, ed. Armitt, L., Routledge, London,
  • Thomas, S. (1992) Correspondence The Women’s Press, London; 1993, Overlook Press, New York.
  • Thomas, S. (2000) Correspondence web view
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[last updated July 2007]

Jungles and forests

Across the river from my flat is an area of riverbank which is bare in the winter but overgrown with trees and bushes in the summer. In the winter the deciduous trees create a lot of empty space visited by no-one except the occasional peeing man on the way back from the pub or drug dealers selling their wares, and now and then one or two school kids exploring. But when the vegetation is heavy, as it has become in the last few weeks, the proximity of sudden wildness in the centre of the city seems to drive people a little crazy. This week, in the hot weather, I’ve heard them yelling and whooping in there. Although they are only a few metres away, across the sluggish old River Soar, I can’t see them for the trees, but I can hear them very clearly. Yesterday a drunk girl sang extended contralto riffs while her male companions described their toileting, oblivious to the fact that our apartment block is so close. They can certainly see us, even if we can’t see them. As the weeks go by I expect lots of more of this, especially if the weather is hot – perhaps there will even be campers pitching their tent and lighting a campfire next to the old railway wall. This has happened before, although I’m surprised it hasn’t happened more often. When I was a kid we were always looking for these kinds of scrap ground to make dens on.

Anyway, this behaviour led me to see a correlation with the way people often behave when they visit virtual places for the first time. Many times I’ve seen sensible people drop their inhibitions the minute they enter a MOO, a chatroom, or more recently Second Life. I haven’t seen it happen so often via voice on applications like Skype – perhaps the voice is a little too real for such behaviour. But it’s clear that newbies often feel shrouded and hidden in the jungle of virtuality, and thus enabled to misbehave in a somewhat exhilerated way. Sherry Turkle has written about this phenomenon quite widely. I’m mentioning it here because I think it works as a nature metaphor – the web as jungle or forest. I’ve written elsewhere about the web as the site of The Tempest but now I’m also thinking that it’s a kind of Midsummer Night’s Dream, just like the one that takes place across the river from me every summer.

If Twitter were a landscape, what kind of landscape would it be?


  To all twitterers: If Twitter were a landscape, what kind of landscape would it be? Please tweet me your description!

Thomas Vander Wal

  oh my, Twitter is back at flood stage for me. I like the creek flowing through the last few days.

Vijay Riyait

  @suethomas It’s a huge big field of red poppies!!

Josie Fraser

for me it would be an enormous station, all kinds of vehicles & a
lot of milling about. & a big time-space crack through it.


  @suethomas a field of multi-colored wildflowers

P. F. Anderson

  @suethomas #landscape The patterns of light & invisible gravity waves between stars, in a dense galaxy shaping the dark space.

  JP Rangaswami jobsworth

  @suethomas a collection of zillions of tiny rivers connected yet apart





Karen Anderson

  @suethomas – Twitter is a the hallway of a dorm for grownups

  The Family Gamer PaulGovan

  @suethomas, pretty things with odd scandanavian names! Klop. Pang. Spling. Shroot. Now i’m back to The Office!
  AJCann AJCann

  @suethomas  Archipelago.

  David Terrar DT

  @suethomas Twisty canyon with a fast flowing river

  Bill Thompson billt

  @suethomas Twitter: Suffolk as painted by Jackson Pollock
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