This cluster of reviews is intended to give its reader some sense of what we talk about when we talk about New Media Studies. Matthew Kirschenbaum reviews what is undoubtedly the most important publication in New Media Studies released this year, The New Media Reader, published by the MIT Press and edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort. The Reader is an 800-plus page tome (with CD-ROM) that aggregates articles, papers, and creative work developed in the formative years of the new media from the 1940s until the development of the World Wide Web. The Reader's publication is an important event, as it offers this interdisciplinary field a core reading list, a set of common referents that might serve as a kind of Rosetta Stone as New Media Studies develops across multiple disciplines. Raine Koskimaa reviews N. Katherine Hayles' Writing Machines, a publication in which the accomplished critic and vocal advocate of electronic literature takes her readers on a tour of her own journey towards an appreciation of the materiality of literature and the possibilities of technotexts. Chris Funkhouser surveys Stephanie Stricklands V: WaveSon.nets/Losing Luna. This work by the accomplished print and hypertext poet, author of True North (1997) and “The Ballad of Sand and Harry Soot,” marks another milestone the first time that a major commercial publisher (Penguin) has released a hybrid print-and-electronic work. Scott Hermanson offers a reading of literary critic Joseph Tabbis Cognitive Fictions, a work in which Tabbi situates autopoietic fictions within a contemporary media ecology. (This review appears only in the ABR print version – ed.) The study of digital culture is also within the purview of New Media Studies and, along those lines, I provide a reading of David Weinbergers Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web.
Finally, any treatment of New Media Studies would be lacking without some pointers towards works that are themselves published in the electronic media. Print poet Maureen Seaton offers (in the ABR print version) an omnibus review of several electronic poems that were featured in the Electronic Literature Organizations 2002 State of the Arts Symposium Gallery. Rob Wittig argues that Justin Halls links.net, arguably the first Web log, should be read as literature in the same vein as the correspondence of Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin.