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"A Catcher in the Rye for the Atari generation."*

Douglas Rushkoff, author of Media Virus and Ecstacy Club



EXTRA LIFE


Coming of Age in Cyberspace


David S. Bennahum




A FAST-PACED, REAL-LIFE ADVENTURE SET IN THE BEDROOMS, COMPUTER ROOMS, AND VIDEO ARCADES OF '80s, WHEN THE FIRST COMPUTER KIDS PIONEERED DIGITAL CULTURE.


Today's digital culture traces its roots to the 80s, when the first computer generation came of age. These original techno-kids grew up with home-brew programs, secret computer access codes, and arcades where dedicated video gamers fought to extend their play by earning "extra life." In that era of gleeful discovery, driven by a sense of adventure and a surge of power, kids found a world they could master, one few grownups could understand.

In this memoir, popular media chronicler, David S. Bennahum takes readers back to his initiation into this electronic universe, to his discovery of PONG at age five. We follow him from video-game addiction-- his Bar Mitzvah gift was an Atari 800 with 48K of RAM-- to his ascent to master programmer with the coveted title of "Super User" in his high-school's computer room. Bennahum reflects on how computers empowered him and his friends to create a world of their own. We see how their geekiness, grounded in role-playing, iterative thinking, and systems analysis, led to a productive, social existence-- the "extra life" they found on the other side of the screen. Hilarious, poignant, and packed with little-known computer lore, Extra Life is a grand digital adventure set against the background of the emerging information age.

DAVID S. BENNAHUM is a Contributing Editor for Wired, Spin, Lingua Franca and I.D. magazine. He is also the publisher of MEME, an online newsletter on technology and culture with 20,000 readers.

Basic Books
10 East 53rd St. 23rd Floor
New York, NY 10022 USA

$23.00/$33.50 (Can.)
ISBN 0-465-01235-3
Technology Culture/Memoir
224 pages; 5 1/2" x 8 1/4"


HARDCOVER : NOVEMBER 1998; ON SALE NOVEMBER 11, 1998.




ADVANCE PRAISE FOR EXTRA LIFE


"A Catcher in the Rye for the Atari generation. Extra Life poignantly traces technoculture's loss of innocence through the eyes of a young man whose own adolescence mirrors the maturation of cyberspace into something entirely more adult, yet painfully less free."

    --Douglas Rushkoff, author of Media Virus and Ecstasy Club


"How strange it is that no one except David Bennahum is paying attention to a force so powerful that it has displaced TV in one generation. Extra Life is an amazing journey into this new unexpected world of computer intimacy."
    --Kevin Kelly, Executive Editor, Wired


"Extra Life is the fascinating and compelling story of a remarkable time in recent history, the dawn of the computer age. Bennahum's skillful blending of his own life s