Is planet earth the end of the line, or is space itself the next stop?
Cyberspace. It's incredible, taking us to any part of the planet we want to visit. But as Paul Levinson shows in his brilliant new book, when it comes to transport, we're still stuck in the past, preferring to take our bodies with us. Whether it's trains, yachts, scooters or pogo-sticks, we're compelled to keep moving, our movements curtailed only by the earth itself. In our imaginations however, we soar way past the limits of current technology.
With a lucid but reflective style that takes in everything from robots and science fiction to religion and philosophy, Paul Levinson asks why there is a deep seated human desire to know what's 'out there'. Why, after getting a man on the moon, did the US space program develop so slowly? In a world where space is constantly repackaged, how do we know what real space is? Is our desire to get into space natural, or a religious craving, and is it a modern phenomenon, or did our ancestors also dream of escaping the clutches of Mother Earth?
Jam-packed with exciting, innovative, even revolutionary thinking about our future, Realspace is essential reading for everyone who has ever sat at their desk, gazed into the distance and imagined boarding a space shuttle...
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.