What it’s all about

PART ONE – Life at an internet magazine

1 Experience preferred

Loud music, fried sausages and chips, Lara Croft’s tits and an £8,000 pay cut.

2 Quiiiickk! Find a tape – I’m on TV!

From overnight media darling to obsolete sham.

PART TWO – Reactionaries and Visionaries

3 Luddites, information overload and technophobia

Overcome your dependence on omnipresent machines and stop worshipping the demi-gods of speed and convenience.

4 Cyberculturalists

RU Sirius – Prankster and veteran San Franciscan cyberpunk explains the importance of guerrilla tactics on the Net.

Howard Rheingold – Renowned member of the “Digerati”, who extols the advantages of virtual communities, yet warns these could fracture traditional society and lead to another World War.

Robert Anton Wilson – science fiction and conspiracy author, futurist, standup comic, punk singer, ex-editor at Playboy and philosopher who engages in “Operation Mind Fuck” and is strict about semantic hygiene.

5 Futurists

Peter Cochrane – Digital visionary who “lives 10 years in the future”, thinks we should insert silicon chips to enhance our “wetware” [brain] and update our skills to stay employable. “I no longer worry about dying, but I do worry about dying before my computer is proud of me.” [Update: was awarded an OBE in 1999 for his contribution to international communications, after this article was done.]

Max More – Extropian who manages a networking organisation that strives to “extend life, fine-tune psychology, move off-planet and develop artificial intelligence.” A signed-up member for cryonics.

6 Instant millionaires (UK)

Five interviewees – WWW genius Tim Berners-Lee, Demon’s Clifford Stanford [who went on to make 300m pounds, lose some of that, and got a suspended 6-mth jail sentence for reading another person’s emails],  Firefox president John Kimberley, Grahame Davies of Easynet and Peter Dawe of Pipex.

PART THREE – Love, lust and loathing

7 Dating

A guide to online seduction with a touch of romance inspired by a Judith Krantz mini-series.

8 IRC love [Internet Relay Chat]

Love goes wrong for a young single bloke.

9 Adultery

Confessions of Internet widows, and a Southern Belle ex-beauty queen contestant writes a lusty story of online love.

10 Cybergrrls

Cybersex expert Lisa Palac explains how to give an online blow job.

Bodyshop founder Anita Roddick [died 2007] struggles to overcome technophobia.

Feminist Dale Spender says women worry about becoming impersonal robotic tech-heads with “nothing but alt.binaries.sex for personal gratification”.

11 X-rated: Adults only

Meet the British men who create rude sites (girl-next-door types wearing M&S knickers are most popular); a search for women’s erotica (beware the “angle of the dangle”) and a guide to online masturbation.

12 Pedophiles online

Hackers declare war against pedophiles, who fight back and claim they have the right to “freedom of sexual expression”.  With your kids. And then discard them when they’re too old.

PART FOUR – Bad influences and wicked behaviour

13 Bizarre emails

Unsolicited messages from around the world.

14 Crime

How to get away with the perfect murder, make thermonuclear bombs in your kitchen and sell drugs to schoolchildren.

15 Hate sites

Everyone hates in different ways, but they all claim they’re related to Jesus, can only breed with people who share the same beliefs, and the Government has it in for them.

16 Satanist harassed by online stalker

A prominent Satanist is harassed by an anonymous stalker and noone wants to help him.

17 Revenge of the hackers

What if you’re individually attacked by a hacker? How much damage can they do? Three victims share their experiences.


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1: Experience preferred

Cyberspace is a thrilling dimension where we all wear clothing embedded with computer screens, silicon chip implants in our brains and have virtual sex with movie stars while wearing sensor-studded body suits. We upload our minds onto the Internet, become gods in a suspended world of voltage and pump our bodies full of smart drugs. Well, that’s what I thought when I took the job as features editor at .net magazine. I moved to Bath, on the west coast of England, three hours’ drive from London.

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2: Quiick! Find a tape, I’m on TV!

It’s easy to become on overnight celebrity when you’re at the oldest Internet mag in the country and everyone wants to interview you for a quick comment. Many journalists seem to suspiciously view the Net as an omnipotent, hypnotic force, inexorably sucking people into its black hole-ish vortex and compelling them to do things against their will.

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3: Luddites and info overload

Luddites unite!

Techno-realist and best-selling author of The Cuckoo’s Egg, Internet legend Clifford Stoll, has been online for over 15 years and knows the Net backwards. He built his first computer himself and was wired into Arpanet (precursor to the Internet) in the 1970s. He also writes code, has seven computers and six different online accounts. After exposing high-tech hacker hijinks in spy novel The Cuckoo’s Egg, Stoll has turned about face in his latest book, Silicon Snake Oil, and says it’s time to examine our “love affair” with computers.

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4 Cyberculturalists

RU Sirius, Howard Rheingold, Robert Anton Wilson

These three philosophers have steadfastly clung to their youthful ideals, and keep infecting society with unease, prodding our consciousness and asking “Why?” Despite their clear vision of society’s shortcomings, they’re all so enamoured of life, and endeavour to deliver their jibes with a dose of humour.

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5: Futurists

My favourite interviewees were two of the most zealous futurists – world renowned head of British Telecom’s Research Laboratories Peter Cochrane, and Max More, the president of a group that dabbles in transhumanism, cryogenics and plans to colonise the universe. I’m excited and challenged by their seemingly outrageous, cheeky and optimistically confident notions. They realise their visionary insights into new technology, life and the future may be completely wrong, but they’re not going to sit around and wait for it to happen. Onwards, and to hell with the consequences.

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6: Millionaires and the bloke who ‘missed out’

When millionaires party, the world watches with envy and begs for the leftovers.

The Internet can offer you a gilt-edged invite and if you turn up early you can leave with a huge party pack of squillions. Amazingly, though, the man who invented the revolutionary software for the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, explained to me why he never made a cent out of his creation. Also, the four self-made Net millionaires I interviewed claimed they’d never planned to amass a fortune. And it seems they’ve still never learnt how to become shopaholics, choose a personal trainer, psychic and tennis coach. They never want Nigel Dempster to tell the world about their every playful smirk, glance and scowl. They never rate a mention in Jennifer’s Diary in Harper’s & Queen. I’d expected to spend a couple of days following each of them around on luxury yachts and Sony jets, but they just sit around in offices all day, frantically answering emails.

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