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Exploring and Building
Virtual Worlds on the Internet

8) Bibliography of Select Popular Readings

These readings approach the virtual world medium from many imaginative and popular angles.

Popular Readings

Benedikt, Michael, ed. Cyberspace: First Steps. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1991). The seminal classic work on the structure of Cyberspace and the societies that could emerge within it. No traveler in digital realms should go forth without this one.

Gibson, William: Neuromancer (New York NY: Ace Books, 1984) ISBN: 0-441-56959-5
Almost ten years before Snow Crash, Neuromancer was the original original avatar drama, kind of like the Old Testament for us converts. Note that William Gibson wrote this classic on a manual typewriter, having no real experience with computers, so it is a pure creation of his imagination, unsullied by the limitations of working systems.
Step into the light at William Gibson's yardshow at: and visit an unofficial but very useful homepage at:

Haraway, Donna:A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology and Socialist Feminism in the 1980's in Feminism/Postmodernism Linda Nicholson, Ed., (New York 1990, Routledge), pp. 190-233. Gives you a modern interpretation of why we all are becoming cyborgs. Also see Jenny Cool's essay on it at:

Lem, Stanislaw: Mortal Engines (New York NY: First Harvest/HBJ, 1992). ISBN:0-15-662161-4
Want to know what artificial intelligences and "bots" might be like in a future Avatar Cyberspace? Polish writer Stanislaw Lem wrote some of the best and earliest science fiction on this theme.

Levy, Steven: Artificial Life (New York NY: Pantheon, 1992). ISBN: 0-679-40774-X
What will happen when life gets into Avatar Cyberspace? What will you think when you come to find your beautiful home on the digital range overgrown by a virtual form of kudzu? Avatar worlds may be the best place for digital biota to evolve. Steven Levy will give you a very interesting history of the artificial live movement and a peek at some early Als in vitro.
Visit Steven Levy at his home page at:

McCloud, Scott: Understanding Comics (New York NY: HarperCollins, 1993). ISBN: 0-06-097625-X
The toons can tell us a lot about how to make avatars and their worlds. Scott McCloud will open your eyes to the power of toons to express ourselves in Cyberspace.
See the many faces of Scott McCloud at: and an interview on the digital future of comics at:

McLuhan, Marshall, Understanding Media

Find Part I, Chapters 1-6 on the web at:

Negroponte, Nicholas: being digital (New York: Knopf, 1995). ISBN: 0-679-43919-6
As the director of the MIT Media Laboratory, Dr. Negroponte has a first hand look at where the digital revolution is taking us. Will we wear digital clothing, will Cyberspace emerge from our computers to surround us? Dr. Negroponte will open your mind to these questions. With avatars, you might also say: hey, I am being digital, but what about my digital being?
Tour the MIT Media Lab at:

Nisker, Wes "Scoop": Crazy Wisdom (Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 1990). ISBN: 0-89815-350-6
Scoop Nisker can answer your question: "how do I behave in avatar cyberspace?" with some pretty crazy wisdom. It is, after all, a crazy place, somewhere between a dream and a hallucination. Good advice from Nisker might be to not take yourself so seriously during your digital and personal brief allotment time on this planet.

Pearce, Celia, The Interactive Book: A Guide to the Interactive Revolution (Indianapolis IN: McMillan Technical Publishing, 1997). An overview putting interactivity in historical and cultural context and traces the history of interactive multimedia and design prinicples from the author's experience over the past 14 years.

Pesce, Mark: VRML, Browsing and Building Cyberspace (Indianapolis IN: New Riders, 1995).
Read how the original visionary and co-creator of VRML, the Virtual Reality Modeling Language sees his invention being used to create a planetary management system. Enter the world of VRML through the fascinating mind of Mark Pesce.
Visit Mark Pesce Home Page at:
Read Mark's regular columns at:

Powers, Michael, How to Program Virtual Communities, Attract New Web Visitors and Get Them to Stay (New York: Ziff-Davis Press, ISBN: 1562765221)
A superb guide to building and running virtual communities, covers everything from text-based MUDs 2D chat environments and avatar virtual worlds. Building avatars, building locations, building activities, managing and economies of virtual worlds.

Rheingold, Howard: The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier (New York NY: HarperPerennial, 1993)
The original source on virtual community. Howard Rheingold will take you on a tour of a wide rangeof virtual communities beyond Avatar Cyberspace.
Experience Howard's brainstorms at

Stephenson, Neal: Snow Crash (New York NY: Bantam Spectra, 1992) ISBN: 0-553-56261-4
The Bible of the avatar Cyberspace movement. If you haven't read it, you haven't seen the light, brother!
A compendium of Stephenson's online references can be found at:

Stoll, Clifford: Silicon Snake Oil (New York NY: Doubleday, 1995). ISBN: 0-385-41993-7
Getting scared about where all this is taking us? Worried that avataring will take us even further out of our real neighborhoods and ruin our kid's social and learning skills. The grand poo-bah of technology luddites Clifford Stoll will really give you something to think about!
See Town Hall's pages on Clifford Stoll at: and his own (!) very simple homepage at: http://www.OCF.Berkeley.EDU/~stoll/

Turkle, Sherry: Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995). ISBN 0-684-80353-4
Professor Turkle has been studying and living life in virtual realms about as long as anyone. This very readable book complements her earlier work Second Self. These books focus most on MUDs, MOOs and other text-based communities but there is a great deal here relevant to Avatar Cyberspace.
Visit with Professor Turkle at:

Further Sources of a more technical nature

Cyberculture and Philosophical Treatments of Cyberspace

Bender, Gretchen and Timothy Druckrey, eds. Culture on the Brink: Ideologies of Technology. Seattle: Bay Press, 1994.

Bolter, J. David. Turing's Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1984.

Brook, James and Ian A. Boal, eds. Resisting the Virtual Life. San Francisco: City Lights, 1995.

Conley, Vera Andermatt, ed. Rethinking Technologies. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

Dery, Mark ed. Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture. Durham: Duke University Press, 1994.

Hayward, Philip and Tana Wollen, eds. Future Visions: New Technologies of the Screen. London: British Film Institute, 1993.

Kroker, Arthur and Michael Weinstein. Data Trash. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994.

Laurel, Brenda. Computers as Theatre. Reading: Addison-Wesley, 1993.

Mitchell, William J. City of Bits: Space, Place, and the Infobahn. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995.

Mosco, Vincent and Janet Wasko, eds. The Political Economy of Information. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988.

Nelson, Ted. Computer Lib/Dream Machines. Redmond: Tempus Books, 1987.

Penley, Constance and Andrew Ross, eds. Technoculture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991.

Poster, Mark. The Mode of Information: Postructuralism and Social Context. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Rheingold, Howard. Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind Expanding Technology. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1985.

Rheingold, Howard. Virtual Reality. New York: Summit Books, 1991.

Rucker, Rudy et al., eds. Mondo 2000: A User's Guide to the New Edge. New York: Harper Collins, 1992.

Rushkoff, Douglas. Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Hyperspace. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994.

Slack, J. and F. Fejes, eds. The Ideology of the Information Age. Norwood: Ablex, 1987.

Taylor, Marc C. and Esa Saarinen. Imagologies: Media Philosophy. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Wilson, Kevin G. Technologies of Control: The New Interactive Media for the Home. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988.

Wooley, Benjamin. Virtual Worlds. London: Penguin Books, 1993.

Networked Communities and Cyborg Subjects

Bey, Hakim. T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism. New York: Autonomedia, 1985.

Bukatman, Scott. Terminal Identity: The Virtual Subject in Postmodern Science Fiction. Durham: Duke University Press, 1993.

Cavazos, Edward A. and Gavino Morin. Cyberspace and the Law: Your Rights and Duties in the On-Line World. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995.

Critical Art Ensemble. The Electronic Disturbance. New York: Autonomedia, 1994.

D. de Kerchove, Connected Intelligence : the arrival of the web society. Somerville House: Toronto ISBN I-895897-87-4

Gray, Chris Hables, ed. The Cyborg Handbook. New York: Routledge, 1995.

Hafner, Katie and John Markoff. Cyberpunks: Outlaws and Hackers on the Computer Frontier. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991.

Jones, Steven G., ed. CyberSociety: Computer-Mediated Communications and Community. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1995.

Mungo, Paul and Bryan Clough. Approaching Zero. New York: Random House, 1992.

Sterling, Bruce. The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier. New York: Bantam Books, 1992.

Stone, Allucquère Rosanne. The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995.

Turkle, Sherry. Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995.

Turkle, Sherry. The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984.

Avatars, Exploring and Building

Virtual Worlds on the Internet

by Bruce Damer

Avatars! Book Cover

Available October 1997. Price $34.95, includes a CD-ROM and access to a companion Web site with virtual worlds software for Windows and the Internet. ISBN: 0-20168840-9. Format: paperback, 400 pages, includes color inserts

Publisher: Peachpit Press, an imprint of Addison Wesley Longman . Order Avatars! online at: or call PeachPit Press at: 1 (800) 283-9444

9) Select Articles and Short Papers

Popular Press Articles

Get Real
Joel Snyder, Internet World, Feb. 1996, page 92

Get Another Life
Richard V. Kelly Jr., Virtual Reality Special Report, Mar/Apr 1996, page 31

Social Interaction and Social Development in Virtual Environments
Valerie E. Stone, Presence Vol 2 No. 2, Spring 1993, page 153

Who Am We?
Sherry Turkle, Wired, Jan. 1996, page 148

Robert Rossney, Wired, June 1996, page 142

ACM interactions

Inhabited Virtual Worlds
Bruce Damer, ACM interactions, sept-oct 1996, page 27

Moose Crossing
Amy Bruckman, ACM interactions, sept-oct 1996, page 47

From CHI '96

Inhabited Digital Spaces
Bruce Damer, Christina Kekenes, Terrel Hoffman, ACM CHI '96 Companion, page 9

Talk and Embodiment in Collaborative Virtual Environments
John Bowers, James Pycock, Jon O'Brien, ACM CHI '96 Proceedings, page 58

Shared Spaces: Transportation, Artificiality, and Spatiality
Steve Benford, Chris Brown, Gail Reynard, Chris Greenlalgh, ACM CHI '96 Proceedings, page 77

Virtual Classrooms and Communities
Lisa Neal, EDS, to be published in the Proceedings of GROUP 97, Phoenix, AZ Nov 16-19, 1997.

© Copyright Bruce Damer, 1997-98, All rights reserved.