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Toywar Page-turner

By Rhizome

What do a Devo-esque, fame-hungry group of Swiss artists with little more than vague dreams and impressive discipline have in common with dot com entrepreneurs trying to outdo Toys R Us? More than one might think. 'Leaving Reality Behind' is an extremely well-researched book on the domain name dispute between Etoy.com and Etoys.com (Etoys.com, the dot com, wanted to buy the artists' domain Etoy.com. The artists didn't want to sell, and consequently their site was shut down by a California judge). Authors Adam Wishart and Regula Bochsler interviewed everyone from the Rtmark facilitators who led grassroots campaigns to defend Etoy to the Internet stock analysts and investment bankers who aided Etoys' venture to build *the* online destination for kids. The book ably describes the artistic arc of Etoy, the day traders who wanted them offline, and the intense networks of net art communities who came to their aid. If you missed 'Toywar' -- a decentralized online campaign to slow the Etoys.com site, and quash the lawsuits filed against the artists -- 'Leaving Reality Behind' is a page-turner that should top your summer reading list. -- Rachel Greene

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