I just finished Hamlet Au’s awesome new book The Making of Second Life. In some ways, it reads like the "greatest hits" of his influential blog "New World Notes," including some of his most popular stories such as the griefer war against the French Fronte Nationale party, the Copybot scandal, and the prim tax revolt of 2003.
But the sum is greater than the parts as Hamlet weaves a broader tale about how user-created content and tech-enabled sub-cultures are changing and subverting our conceptions of business, politics and media. Hamlet traces three integral concepts through all of his chapters: "Bebop Reality," the "Impression Society" and "Mirrored Flourishing."
I particularly liked the sections on the company Linden Lab and the somewhat haphazard way that Second Life was created by Philip Rosendale and his motley crew. And the final section where Philip reveals his views on where the technology is going in the long run are just… well, just trippy.
For someone new to SL, or curious about virtual worlds, you will not find a better guide and chronicler about the multi-faceted phenomenon of Second Life than Hamlet Au. Great stuff.