My Tiny Life: classic book about online games, now free

Julian Dibbell's released the text of his ground-breaking "My Tiny Life" as a free download through
Part memoir and part ethnography, My Tiny Life is about the social life of the online, text-based virtual world LambdaMOO and my own brief encounter with it in the early '90s. Andrew Leonard, in Salon, called it “the best book yet on the meaning of online life.”
Link (via Terra Nova)


  1. I was always more of a DikuMUD guy.

    And yeah, almost nothing has changed between then and now in terms of how people are towards each other from the text based / imagination intensive words of then to the graphics heavy / imagination limiting worlds of warcraft.

  2. This book has been on my “Must Read” list for years, but for some reason or another, I’ve never managed to actually grab a copy.

    Can’t wait to read it now that it’s easily accessible, and I’ll pick up the dead-trees version if I like it (which I expect to, thoroughly!)

    I know it’s often counterintuitive for authors/artists, but giving things away free will often stimulate sales (at least amongst people like me).

    Hats off to Mr. Dibbell!

  3. Agreed, Wagglycocks. That cover (the best I could find among the templates offered by is teh suck. Problem is, I wrote the book, but I didn’t design the original cover, which you can get a look at right here. A person named Raquel Jaramillo did it, apparently, and I’m in no position to give her work away.

    Anyway, I’m hereby crowdsourcing the problem: If anybody knows how I can get in touch with Raquel Jaramillo for permission to use her cover, let me know.

    Alternatively, if anybody feels like making me a new one for fun and fame, please do.

  4. One additional clarification:

    A couple people have written to say how great it is I’m releasing My Tiny Life under a Creative Commons license. Alas, it’s not as great as that. If you follow the links back to my original announcement of the giveaway, you’ll learn that a minor but so far insurmountable legal obstacle prevents me from CC-licensing the book. In short, the best I can do for now is promise not to sue anybody who uses My Tiny Life in any way permitted by the CC by-nc-sa license.

    I would love someday put that promise on stronger legal footing, but to the best of my legal advice, that’s up to HarperCollins Ltd, who retain the UK/Australia rights and may or may not be willing to grant me the necessary waiver for a CC license. So far their responses to my inquiries have been, well, nonexistent.

  5. It’s too bad this book continues the myth that Richard Bartle invented the MUD. It’s just flat-out untrue.

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