(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In the introduction to CYBERIA, Rushkoff notes that in earlier eras, new technologies and corresponding new ways of thinking had revolutionary consequences. These include the invention of agriculture and the development of the printing press. CYBERIA describes the new and almost unrecognizable reality that is emerging as a result of computers, chaos math, quantum physics, and chemicals in the premillennial twentieth century. The term cyberia comes from the notion of cyberspace which has resulted from the worldwide connectedness of computers and which gives network and media users a sense of being in an unbounded space.

Rushkoff describes a boundless universe of data which allows people to interact regardless of time and location. It is possible, for example, to conduct twenty-party video-telephone conversations with participants in different countries. He allies this experience of cyberspace with the feeling of unboundedness, connectedness, and universality that is associated with drugs, dance, spiritual techniques, and contemporary scientific notions of chaos math and quantum mechanics. This experience is not limited by the rules of linear, physical reality, but is unpredictable and discontinuous.

Those persons whose lives are most directly affected by these new technologies, ideas, and chemicals confront daily a cultural transformation that they must grasp, and they have come to call the new boundless territory in which they live and move cyberia. Their stories are told in Rushkoff’s book—stories about computer hackers, psychedelic experimenters such as Terence McKenna, new-culture chroniclers such as Mondo 2000 editor R. U. Sirius, cyberfiction writers such as William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, and cultural visionaries such as John Perry Barlow.