"A Catcher in the Rye for the Atari generation."*
Coming of Age in Cyberspace
David S. Bennahum
I just finished reading "Extra Life" (finishing at 4:00 am) and was fascinated by the grip your narrative had on me. The act of reading the book was similar to the all-night sessions we have all had when engrossed with our computers.
I'll have to admit I almost passed it up but was pulled in by the quality of the people who blurbed it. Douglas Rushkoff did a great job for us at a Mass Media and Popular Culture conference we held last fall and I trust his instincts.
I checked out the web site for the book and saw all the letters by readers who had the same experience I did. You touched something very deep in a lot of us.
As an educator I am particularly fascinated by a problem we all have with recognizing the value of changes that take place after our time - only the negative aspects seem to be crystal clear to us. So, while you spend the first part of the book giving us a good reflection of how people didn't understand the positive implications of arcade games, time-shared computing, the internet, etc., in the last part of the book you express the loss we feel when the new thing comes along to replace what we loved. It will take someone younger than both of us to write the book that will show the positive aspects of the "new breed of machine" that "spawned a new curriculum that taught them how to use software."
Thanks for a long, sleepless night,
Subject: Extra Life
I have been reading your book Extra Life and I wanted to let you know I love it very much.
I remember the early days of the home computer, slaving away on my old VIC20 and Commodore 64. I remember when a computer magazine was prized not on its columns but on the quality of code contained on the pages in between it's glossy covers. Reading your book brought back a magical time in my life. I was just another youth playing with what at the time seemed a curious toy, yet was a tool that would shape our future as a culture.
Looking back I cherish the innocence of a young mind and a new toy and admire the sophistication of an intellect to explore a new world. Thank you for a trip back to yesterday in an honest and enjoyable manner. Your book I have recommended to my friends who also share similar pasts and innocence.
From: Michael B. Johnson
Subject: Extra Life
Hi David. Wonderful book! Just finished it. Funny how many of your experiences evoke memories of similar things in my life....
Anyway, thanks for sharing your story - it was a great read.
From: Brad Hoover
Subject: A Wonderful Book
I received your book for Christmas and just finished it last night. I enjoyed it more than you can imagine.
I'm eighteen and I just finished my computer science courses last year (a semester in BASIC and a semester in C++). You articulated the feelings I