Margot Mifflin
June 14, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Smart, thoughtful, and of the moment, this collection of essays is a refreshing departure from other women-oriented cyberbooks that tiptoe around the tangled sexual politics of virtual worlds. When it sticks to the subject (three pieces have little to do with gender), it tackles important online issues, from sexual harassment and gendered communication styles to Wired magazine’s boys-club mentality and the 1994 cybercensorship flap at Carnegie Mellon (where feminists helped overturn a policy designed to protect women from porn). Lori Kendall’s examination of MUDs (text-based role-playing environments) is a no-nonsense anthropological adventure, and Ellen Ullman writes engagingly about technophilia and her online romance. The only static in Wired Women: Gender and New Realities in Cyberspace is the occasional hint of sanctimony and a bit of less-than-professional writing. Otherwise, there’s plenty here to educate and entertain. B+

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