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Hard, Soft & Wet: The Digital Generati/McGrath, Melan/Hardb/0002555867/S047-D1
Kids: the pioneers or the patsies of today's computer culture? This is the story of a love affair with youth and computer culture and America. It explores the desires of the digital age, and searches the on-line world and the techno scene for clues about the nature of the coming generation. Hard, Soft and Wet is an intimate diary of enchantment and disillusion, an outsider's voyage into an alien culture. Moving between London and San Francisco (with side trips to Wales, New York, Boston, Moscow, Singapore, Prague, Berlin and Reykjavik), McGrath pieces together a composite picture of a generation at play. She meets hackers, skip-raiders, e-mail junkies, road protestors, cybervisionaries, VR babies, virus writers, technomads, neo-Luddites, ambient DJs, arcade champs, sippies, slot freaks, software marketeers and swarms of self-styled geeks. McGrath is one of the best possible guides to this new territory. Amused, bemused and confused, at times scathingly funny, she strips down the culture into its constituent impulses, its code, and refashions it for us in surprising and refreshing bites. Acid-sharp and rave-fuelled, McGrath is open, engaged and curious, never distant or dismissive. This is one of the first books to move beyond hype and backlash, thesis and counter-claim, to give instead a wry and considered portrait of this new emerging landscape.