Thursday, February 10, 2011

Five books about the World Wide Web

Lev Grossman is Time magazine's book critic as well as one of its lead technology writers. The New York Times says he's “among this country's smartest and most reliable critics.”

He spoke with Roland Chambers of FiveBooks about notable books on the World Wide Web.

Part of their dialogue:
[Chambers:] First, Marshall McLuhan’s book, The Medium is the Massage, which was originally published in 1967. Why is this book relevant to a discussion about the history and significance of the Internet?

[Grossman:] Well, in a bizarre way that I can’t explain through anything other than through McLuhan’s sort of freakish brilliance, he understood immediately before it had ever happened what the future history of the Net was going to be. How networks of the size we now have would behave, how they would affect us socially, and basically everybody who’s been trying to theorise the Net ever since has been playing catch-up to him. The language he employs is, of course, somewhat quaint, and his tone is basically Messianic but if you really want to look at what everybody else is building on, it’s really McLuhan's ideas. Yeah, it’s amusingly of its time, and it has that sort of 60s-era Utopianism, but it’s also amazingly up-to-date.
Read about another book on Grossman's list.

Marshall McLuhan is the godfather of The Page 69 Test.

--Marshal Zeringue