January 22, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Extra Life: Coming of Age in Cyberspace

Current Status
In Season
David S. Bennahum
Memoir, Science and Technology, Nonfiction
We gave it a B-

Good news for parents anxious about the time little Junior spends surfing the Internet and playing Carmageddon. This slim memoir asserts that computers saved its 30-year-old author from a wasted youth of petty crime and pot smoking. The now-ancient Atari 800 that David S. Bennahum requested as his bar mitzvah gift was a young hacker’s dream at a time when ”geeking out” on computers was not for adults, girls, or guys who weren’t nerds. While Extra Life: Coming of Age in Cyberspace does plumb a fascinating sliver of early cyberhistory, the smug account makes the rest of us grateful to have cut our teeth on a Macintosh. B-

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