Indra Sinha

For all those who consider themselves cyber wanderers, this is a must read. It shows us glimpses of the net before it became the www. It talks of the mid eighties to nineties when early cybernauts roamed about bulletin boards (BBS) and multi user domains/dungeons (MUD) creating their own versions of reality in extravagant roleplays.
In what seems to be almost autobiographical, it is the story of Bear, a copywriter who is unable to get over the cyber addiction that threatens his marriage, and who still finds time to help the Kurdish cause and the victims of the Bhopal Gas tragedy, and go about hunting clues to meet his virtual friends in real life.
It also talks about his various co-habitants on SHADES and VORTEX, virtual worlds, who, along with the worlds they created, perhaps played a large role in defining what the net is now. A disconcerting thought is that a lot of issues discussed in this book stille exist in one form or the other, and especially in this part of the world, the impact of the internet has still not been seen.
Personally, i winced when i realised (after buying the book) who the author was, because another work of his (The Death of Mr.Love) had really irritated me with its pale climax, but this one was a pleasant surprise, though his complete irreverance for chronology can be a bit confusing at times. :)
It is an extremely good first person view of the early days of the net and an excellent read for anyone who has any interest in the early uses of this medium, and can wonder how it must have been then, in the imaginary worlds they made and shared.