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on 26 April 1999
I found this book weird, absorbing and very funny. I was almost put off by the title as I don't share most people's fascination with the internet but, alarmingly quickly, I was disturbed to discover that I was beginning to share the author's helpless fascination with the characters he met on the Net, like Calypso - a femme fatale who went on holiday with her husband and three lovers - or Luna, who is so committed to her game persona that she has lost touch with the human who owns her body.
The book is a cleverly constructed multi-layered narrative, accessible because beautifully written but complex enough to repay endless re-reading. It creates a fragile and beautiful world in which the boundaries between fantasy and reality dissolve until real-life characters like Jeffrey Archer and Anita Roddick seem almost weirder than Jarly the computer-virus writer or The Detonator, whose ambition is to hack into a nuclear power-station's computer. The book deals with serious issues like the nature of reality, responsibility, compassion and human rights, and a questioning of most of our assumptions, but it is all done so entertainingly that you could read it just for fun. On the other hand, you might just decide to allow it to change your life.
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on 22 June 1999
The Cybergypsies by Indra Sinha is simply wonderfilled. Allegorical, real, non-ordinary, ordinary. Life in a nutshell. Or should that be microchip? Beautifully written, eminently readable. Do yourself a favour and buy a copy. It could be the nicest thing you do for yourself this century.
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on 18 May 2001
'With the turning of a page, one strangles oneself suddenly with the reading of testimonys in extreme cases of the bearable one ... Its work is a kind of UFO literary, as destabilizing in the content as in the form... Pêle-mix, one fall thus on dialogues left straight of the BBS, on pieces of codes exchanged with some hacker, of the sections of life coming from "The Shades", the plays of role where the principal character, Bear, spend most clearly his time (with the risk to run its marriage definitively). Improbable characters are crossed, one goes up in time as one walks in space, and the border between cybernetic dream and "true life" is done increasingly fuzzy...'
Love this book! Found it via the review above when browsing the web. The review, originally in French was translated for me by Google! Irresisistible! And Cybergypsies more than lived up to it!... Enjoy! ...Joel
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on 19 March 2009
Anyone whose ever logged onto an online game, be it Quake, a MMORPG or a text MUD should read this book. It's an exploration of the early days of the internet when it cost an arm and and leg to connect and rattling up a phone bill in the thousands, never mind the hundreds, wasn't difficult.
The reason I love this book so much is because I can recognise not only myself (not literally but figuratively) but a lot of the people I met online back in the 90s.
They're there in the secretive world of the early morning hours when you can't quite find the energy to switch off and so you stay awake talking to people on the other side of the ocean.
Wonderful insight into how you can easily become carried away with something to the point of obsession and how, eventually, you have to make a choice between reality and the beauty of the virtual world.
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on 13 May 1999
This is a beautifully jumbled book which tells a very human story of addiction. Surprisingly this addiction is to a wonderful world of fantasy characters. Experiences there are interspersed with observations made in reality on personalities that aim to make a difference to the world, be that for good or evil. The style of the book is unique - it seems as if there are almost as many "chapters" as there are pages. The author gathers moments from his life which are connected only in theme, not in space and time. It is not a book for cyber junkies. It is a book for people who are fascinated by those that flirt with the unusual, and the potentially dangerous, in order to understand more of the world.
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on 9 August 2001
I agree with all the other reviews here: riveting book, cleverly woven together, rang lots of bells and made lots of connections for me. My only reservation was the blurb on the back and even the title, which to me suggested some sort of quirky, marginal techie subculture - interesting enough to make me look at the book, but what I found within when I read it (couldn't put it down, 400 pages in record time) was much more than this... I did wonder about the author's children (almost invisible in the story)...
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on 17 May 1999
Because of its very nature, The Cybergypsies refuses to be pegged into a slot. The publishers describe it as a non-fiction book. But, I, for one, do not agree. Without resorting to magical realism and word-play (thank God for small mercies), Indra makes the book so mesmerising that it's hard to tell what's real and what's really a figment of the imagination. As a result, he has managed to accomplish the impossible: turn what could have easily been a dull autobiographical memoir into a literary page turner.
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on 22 June 1999
The characters and events that Indra Sinha weaves so skilfully and with such humour into this extraordinary work become empirical proof of the power of Imagination and of the "Butterfly Effect". He uses them to demonstrate the interconnectedness of our world and that all our acts, real or imaginary (virtual), have consequences. Cybergypsies is a truly remarkable book that thrilled, shocked and moved me. Highly recommended!
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on 11 December 1999
I didn't knew what to expect when I ordered this book. I found something I really know (the life and the adventures of a cyber-addict in a virtual world), but also very touching information about human right, philosophy, marriage and other things. For me, this book was a catharsis and I spent sometime remembering the old BBS days and some facts of my life. Incidentally, I also renewed my support to Amnesty International.
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on 12 May 1999
It is a amazing account of the last decade of Cyberspace. It will make a great read for cybergypsies and non cybergypsies alike. It is wonderfully descriptive, the characters simply come to life. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry...You'll find it very difficult to put down! Reading it is a must!
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