January 15, 2008

My Tiny Life Freed (Almost)

by Noah Wardrip-Fruin · , 12:14 pm

As Julian Dibbell reports:

I am pleased to announce that my first book, the widely cited but long out-of-print MY TINY LIFE: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World (Being a True Account of the Case of the Infamous Mr. Bungle and the Author’s Journey, in Consequence Thereof, to the Heart of a Half-Real World Called LambdaMOO), can now be downloaded in its entirety in a handsomely formatted PDF edition, completely free of charge. Or, if you prefer, the fine folks at Lulu will package up a perfect-bound paperback version for you . . .

I am pleased to announce this, yes, but I’ll be honest with you: I’m not nearly as pleased as I was hoping I’d be.

I was hoping, actually, to make a rather grander announcement, one that I’ve been looking forward to through years of anxious and improbably complicated preparation but now, at last, should probably just hand-deliver straight to the shitcan of my broken dreams. I was going to announce today that MY TINY LIFE had been liberated — not merely launched anew but born again under a Creative Commons “copyleft” license and thus set loose for any passing amateur to upload, remix, mashup, and otherwise repurpose in all the many fruitful ways that copyright, precisely, fails to permit.

Except it hasn’t.

Read on for the rest of the story…

3 Responses to “My Tiny Life Freed (Almost)”


  1. Jason Scott Says:

    Too bad Dibbell’s work has generally been exploitative dander, bringing a sense of filth and decay to the MU* world as his articles that Tiny Life is based on were distributed; having a front page story on the voice called “A Rape in Cyberspace” (which it wasn’t) did nothing but rain down criticism and disaster for games that were, especially in the context of today, truly and utterly harmless.

    Every dollar of that book should have gone to a real rape crisis center, just for that small tidbit.

  2. noah Says:

    Jason, I agree with you that the title of “A Rape in Cyberspace” may conjure visions of the MOO/MU* world that are as misguided as the image of D&D that came from stories of those committing antisocial acts while drawing on its tropes. But none of those stories about RPGs, that I can remember, focused on how the community of those involved in the activity came together to think and talk through some difficult issues in response, which I’ve always taken to be the interesting core of Dibbell’s piece. Inspired by your comment, however, I did a little looking around and found a link to something I hope to read soon: My Dinner with Catharine MacKinnon: And Other Hazards of Theorizing Virtual Rape. If you have a chance to look, I’d be very curious to hear what you think.

  3. Jason Scott Says:

    Thanks for the link, Noah. Of course, I hadn’t heard this speech from Dibbell as regarding the outcome of “Rape in Cyberspace”.

    It took me a while to paw through that speech, which I found self-serving and overly dramatic. It shouldn’t be a surprise that someone who throws the term “rape” around so easily would use the terms “paralysis” to describe not speaking much at a dinner. And I am disinclined to believe he is characterizing his time with McKinnon as anything resembling accuracy, instead going for the approach of a snicker-into-his-sleeve narrative and how he’s sorry Your Humble Writer was unable to live up to the expections people have for him.

    I really don’t like this guy, if it’s not clear. The online world needs less of his type to speak as a de facto representative.

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