“The wired experience is so personally intense and intellectually complex that it is impossible to convey exactly how it is for each of us as we venture into that very idiosyncratic negotiation between the real and virtual.” (from A Journey of Integration, my 2004 PhD thesis.)
‘Hello World’ is the story of a life online. Part travelogue, part memoir, Sue Thomas draws on her online travels as well as her physical journeys in the USA, Australia, Spain and England. While the book is non-fiction, it is a direct descendent of ‘Correspondence’, Thomas’ extraordinary novel that also deals with the synergies between digital and physical worlds. Like its fictional counterpart, Hello World will trigger feelings in readers of recognition and will stimulate debate on the nature of the physical in a wired world for years to come.
Praise for Hello World
‘This is a book about a love affair. It’s also a meditation on a phenomenon that has changed not just our lives but our perceptions of ourselves.’ The Independent.
‘…an essential tour guide to the poetics of time, space and gender in the Information Age. This book is quite simply a Baedeker to the cyber-realm.’ Carolyn Guertin.
‘…engagingly and warmly written, ‘Hello World’ combines first-person meditations with a wealth of information. Highly recommended for first-time users and those who want to try dipping their toes into the cyberwaters.’ N. Katherine Hayles.
‘…embracing digital media for its freedom and life beyond the physical page, her writings fuse the surfaces, textures, histories and interactions of our bodies and minds.’ Robin Rimbaud / Scanner.
‘Sue Thomas is one of the most innovation thinkers, promoters and facilitators on the web.’ Stelarc.
‘…anyone who feels both seduced and appalled by the complexities of embedded technology will empathise with this account of the personal highs and lows of an intimate relationship with technology.’ Jenny Wolmark.
‘Speaking with ease and authority, earned through years of immersive investigation, Sue Thomas critiques virtuality in a manner which makes this book accessible to those who are new to the networked world, as well as a must-read for those already there.’ Melinda Rackham.
‘Hello World is fascinating, almost hypnotic. Thomas travels all over the physical world, and all over the virtual world, visiting sights and sites of intrinsic and historical interest. She describes what she sees, tells us how the experience affects her, and recounts how past travelers have marked these conceptual landscapes. Thomas invokes Thoreau throughout the book, and the comparison is apt: As Thoreau’s observations of the activity around Walden Pond always told us as much about him as they did about the nature he studied, so, too, Thomas’s observations reveal much about herself. The intensity of her love for cyberspace is manifest in her attentiveness to the detail of each virtual experience.’ Tekka.
‘Thomas offers a way of being in the world that refuses hierarchies and primacies and offers us a model of an engaged and creative practice that is both virtual and real.’ RealTime.
‘As a mix it’s intense and entrancing, and it demonstrates the ease with which computers, electronic communications, and lives all intertwine beyond the home.’ Alan Sondheim.
If you’d like to try your hand in LambdaMOO, there are some resources here.
If you’re interested in following up some of the ideas in the book there’s an ancient blog which was set up in 2004 as a ‘web complement’ to the book. It contains all kinds of stuff and is still well worth a visit if you’re interested in the days of Web 1.0.