Realspace: The Fate of Physical Presence in the Digital Age, on and Off Planet
Paul Levinson. Routledge, $34.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-415-27743-3
Levinson follows his much-praised The Soft Edge and Digital McLuhan with another exploration of communication, cyberspace and""real space."" This volume differs, however, says the author: it's a critique of the digital age (""it looks at fundamental aspects of human life that cannot be satisfied"" in cyberspace--such as touching and face-to-face conversation); and aside from stressing the importance of our real physical world, it is a""call to action"" for humans to return to outer space. Levinson, who heads Fordham University's communication and media studies department, wonders whether democracy is""the best launch pad to space""; considers the importance of naming new worlds with labels that will""coax us off this planet and out into space"" (HD 209458 doesn't); and looks at the importance of the fact that the September 11 attacks took place in""real space."" Fans of Levinson's previous works, as well as those interested in the relations between cyberspace,""real space"" and outer space, should relish this challenging and mind-opening read.
Reviewed on: 05/01/2003