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Hard, Soft and Wet: Digital Generation Comes of Age Paperback – 2 Feb 1998

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; New edition edition (2 Feb. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006548490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006548492
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.2 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,669,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

‘'Hard, Soft & Wet' is the story of one woman’s love affair with digital culture, America, Youth, modernity, a computer called Apple and a boy called Mac. McGrath is such a good writer that even a cynical Luddite like me could love her book. She has a sharp ear and eye for dialogue and detail and a nice dry sense of humour…She’s created a travel book that’s all about looking for a faraway place called the future. 'Hard, Soft & Wet' represents a perfect match between form and content.’
COSMO LANDESMAN, 'Independent'

‘From Internet cafés in Iceland to Moscow programmers making computer viruses. (McGrath’s) is as much a journey of self-discovery as an exploration of a new technology and a new culture and is written with her usual grace, panache, and flashes of mordant humour.’
KENAN MALIK, 'Independent on Sunday'

‘In the spirit of participant observation, McGrath necks a pill at Tribal Gathering, buys some tunes and drifts through clubs like the Big Chill and the Electronic Lounge, digital hang-outs like Ambient Soho and Warwick University’s Virtual Futures conference, scenes like Reclaim the Streets where post-rave counterculture meshes with green activism. This is a warm, humorous and charming book, reflecting the author’s own uncertainties about what the future holds. 'Hard, Soft, & Wet' is a snapshot of a moment passing (Californian cyber-idealism) and a moment dawning (European post-rave DIY) and published at a point when corporate robber-barons are running land-grabs on cyberspace while the Net’s utopian dreamers wonder whether to hitch a ride and grab some cash or remain on the fringes. It captures the vital chaos of the digital generation as it prepares to break into the mainstream – and that is an achievement.’

About the Author

Melanie McGrath is the author of the highly acclaimed Motel Nirvana, which won the 1996 John Llewellyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday prize for the best new British writer under 35.
‘A brilliant writer’ — Dervla Murphy
‘McGrath is a cool-eyed chronicler of a dispossessed generation’ — Deborah Bosley, Literary Review

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
Talks about the beginning a newbie trying to teach herself the ways of the internet. A great book which is shows another way which most of us have never taken before. I recommend that you read the first couple of pages in the store thou as the book might not suit everyones taste.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
If you have any knowledge of computers or the internet, you'll find this book fairly tedious going. The author spends most of the chapters discussing her own life (which isn't particularly interesting) and occasionally digressing into her own confusion on the simplest aspects of using a computer.
If you enjoy "memoir" writing (Angela's Ashes et al) then you'll find this a rather uninspired addition to the genre. If you enjoy reading about computers or cyberculture, you'll find this to be riddled with basic errors, incredibly self-indulgent and very out-of-date (it is set in the early to mid 1990's).
There is a rather interesting e-mail exchange in the middle of the book between two Ayn Rand-fixated teenagers, but as it's never put into any sort of context (is it real or fictional) it throws the inadequacies of the rest of the work into sharp relief.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
the realisation of tomorrow 19 Mar. 2005
By Carla Killetti - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Melanie is lucky enough to travel to Iceland, London, Prague and Sillicon Valley, meeting bedroom musicians, label runners, hackers and programmers to uncover the internet world as it stood in 1998, and fortunately she brings us along, recreating the wonder of each culture the amazing people and oddities of their lives, and showing us how their real-world landscape ties into their online world, and even picking up a few of the bumps and scrapes of internet-love along the way.

During all this Melanie is on a personal mission to get herself online and internet-savvy. I thought this would be awful and self indulgent but in fact it's quite endearing and reminiscent of most of our own experiences as we figured out how to make the net fit into our lives.

The net, and net relationships are slowly becoming commonplace in real life and fiction, it is becoming more and more acceptable to talk about net-friends as "real" ones, Melanies book is a forerunner in this area, where William Gibson's "Pattern Recognition" is one of the more recent examples of this.

If you're into cyberpunk, or hacking or just delving into the social history of computing this book is for you. Not a heavy read, it takes a journalistic and personal approach that is full of amazing revelations about our world and the internet, even the most net-savvy like me will find alot of interest here.
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