The New Media Reader

News & Reviews

What People Are Saying

Ravi Srinivas Krishna
South Centre, Geneva

"This Reader is a volume that has set new standards for similar Readers to emulate. It is a remarkable achievement and will be useful to the expert and the curious reader alike; it offers much food not just for thought but for the senses also. I hope it will get even better in the editions to come."
—From a review in Information, Communication & Society 8.2 (June 2005) 269-271.

David Kolb
author of Socrates in the Labyrinth and Sprawling Places

"Imagine a book which illuminates creative practice, and enlarges the study of that practice by making space for it to include more history, more ideas, more vision than are current in today's productions and research programs. The New Media Reader from MIT Press is such a book. This is a source book in every sense of the word. It provides material that will be a source of ideas and inspiration for practitioners and students alike, and it chronicles the sources and development of new media practice and thinking over the last 50 years."
—From a review in Computers and the Humanities 38.3 (August 2004) 339-341.

Michael Truscello
University of Waterloo

"The new media reader succeeds on several fronts: it offers the most comprehensive selection of texts from the history of new media; it frames these texts with introductions from two of the best contemporary new media theorists, Janet H. Murray and Lev Manovich; it provides commentary that suggests fruitful connections between seemingly disparate texts; and it offers a CD-ROM with some rare new media artifacts. ... MIT's The new media reader has set the standard for new media anthologies."
—From a review in Technical Communication 51.2 (May 2004).

Mykola Polyuha
University of Western Ontario

"Generally, the anthology is a valuable source for anybody who studies new media. The book appears to be the best source to date for writings on the digital medium and, undoubtedly, the volume will be of great use for professors and students involved in teaching or studying the range of new media and, to an extent, cybercultures."
—From a review in Comparative Literature Studies 41.3 (2004) 446-449.

Brian Kim Stefans
poet and author of Fashionable Noise: On Digital Poetics

"The delight of brainy duo Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort — their other collaborations liberally speckle space — comes through not just in the longish preambles to each of the book's fifty-four chapters and the reams of text on the CD itself, but in every additional 8-bit Atari game, forgotten manifesto, 'Aristotelian' comic strip, and chunky piece of Deleuze and Guattari they found a way to cram into the collection. ... The New Media Reader is so generous in its witty, jargonless editorial commentary, rich bibliographies, informative sidebars, as well as in the content itself ... that it almost seems as if the editors, hip to the new politics of information and intellectual property rights, struggled to make it seem free by going several extra yards, down to having it printed in small but very legible typeface (Michael Crumton's elegant, interactive design made this possible)."
—From a review in Free Space Comix: The Blog, 12 January 2004, a longer version of a review in the newsletter of the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Axel Bruns
Creative Industries Faculty, Queensland University of Technology

"This book is a magnificent achievement; possibly the first of its kind, it sets a benchmark that will be difficult to surpass. The New Media Reader is a physically as well as intellectually impressive anthology of foundational texts in the field of what we now refer to as new media and new media arts . . . The New Media Reader makes evident that the field is built on the shoulders of giants, and it remains for their present-day successors to honour and extend those visions."
—From "The Shoulders of Giants: The New Media Reader" in Fine Art Forum, Vol. 17, No. 11, November 2003.

Trace Reddell
Digital Media Studies graduate director and professor, University of Denver

"I can't envision a better resource than Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort's The New Media Reader. It should hold out indefinitely as the compendium of digital media's history up until the advent of HTML and the World Wide Web. . . . Most importantly, the NMR continually points to the possibilities of what else needs to be done, and the collection suggests so many compelling areas of study and production. The book is very much about the processes, styles, and strategies of what is clearly a massive, ongoing research project jumping across disciplinary and institutional boundaries at a rapid pace.
—From An Article on the DMS site, University of Denver.

Michael Swaine
co-author of Fire in the Valley

"This is a really fantastic assemblage of seminal papers by big thinkers such as Vannevar Bush, Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, J.C.R. Licklider, Alan Kay, Seymour Papert, and Tim Berners-Lee. On top of that, there's a CD with historic video including Engelbart's famous 1968 Mouther of All Demos. Plus some executable programs. Although [other] books are worth having if you are interested in the history of this field, The New Media Reader, with its many highly readable and genuinely historic essays, is my if-you-can-only-take-one pick for a computer history vacation suitcase-stuffer."
—From "Summer Reading" in Dr. Dobb's Journal, September 2003.

Jan Baetens
University of Maastricht, University of Leuven

"First of all, this book dramatically redefines the very notion of new media . . . Secondly, The New Media Reader has succeeded in bringing together an impressive set of articles . . . Thirdly, the book has been carefully edited and no less carefully published. On the one hand, the editors have written very useful and well-informed presentations of all the essays included in the book (the further-reading tips for instance are most appropriately chosen) while at the same time taking well care of their material presentation (the original illustrations of the texts are maintained which should serve as an example to all future anthologists!). On the other hand, The New Media Reader is both a book and a CD-ROM, which complete each other in a model way. ... In short, The New Media Reader is really the book a lot of people (teachers, students, new media professionals, but also the interested "honnêtes hommes et femmes") have been waiting for since the boom of the field almost a decade ago."
—From Baetens's review in Image and Narrative

Jeremy Husinger
Centre for Digital Discourse and Culture, Virginia Tech

"The New Media Reader is an excellent book for a broad audience. It would be great as a course text but is also of great service as a reader . . . that can provide a reference text for a broad array of interests and projects."
—From Husinger's review in Managing Information

Jonas Heide Smith
Game Research

"The New Media Reader is the impressively obvious choice for any university course on new media with or without a gaming perspective. It will not function as a computer game studies reader in any way, but will work to put that field into much-needed perspective. Any student of digital aesthetics and the-computer-as-medium will enjoy this collection of truly important and well-edited founding texts."
—From "Bits of Context - The New Media Reader," a review in Game Research

Dominik Landwehr
Neue Zuercher Zeitung

"Die über 800 Seiten starke Textsammlung erschliesst sich auch dem interessierten Laien dank der sorgfältigen Textauswahl und den erhellenden Einleitungen." [This more than 800-page thick collection of texts opens itself to the interested newcomer thanks to careful text selection and enlightening introductions.]
—From "Die lange Geschichte der neuen Medien," 27 June 2003, in the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Neural Magazine

"Mapping the history of new media is an essential task made very difficult by the sheer size of the work involved and the difficult choices which have to be made. The New Media Reader is trying to trace a possible time sequence . . . ideas and projects that have caught the means of communication by storm, completely revolutioning them, and that are now a solid base for contemporary aesthetics. . . . All in all, an essential book for those who want to understand the evolution of the contemporary and its deep and many roots."
—From the Italian magazine Neural: Hacktivism, E-Music, New Media Art

Jakob Nielsen
Nielsen Norman Group

"The most important part of this book may be the enclosed CD with Windows-compatible versions of early multimedia designs (many ported from pre-PC machines and running in emulator mode, but you can still try them out) as well as video clips of famous early demos (e.g., Doug Engelbart's public presentation of mouse-operated hypertext)."
—From "Recommended Books About Hypertext" at

Ann Light
research fellow, University of Sussex

"a new classic. The New Media Reader, edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort, is winning fans from those who glance at its contents list. If you don't know who Theodor H. Nelson is and the significance of 'A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing and the Indeterminate'; if you are not familiar with the contributions to computing of Bush, Turing, Wiener and Licklider, then this book is even more essential to you . . . Delightfully, it also deals with the other disciplines that have fed the development of new media: Laurel, and Boal on theatre; Borges and 'The Garden of Forking Paths'; Haraway, McLuhan, Turkle, and Winograd and Flores theorising about how people use media; Suchman on situated action; Bolter on writing; etc, etc. . . . It's like a party full of your best old friends."
—From "Two Books for Summer Shelves" in Usability News, June 2003

Jeff Parker
new media artist

"If there is a bound codex that writers of hypertext and new media artists have been waiting for, The New Media Reader is it.
In its 823 pages the editors sample the work of a stunning array of writers, designers, programmers, scientists, and artists. Italo Calvino and Robert Coover stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Jan L. Bordewjik and Ben van Kaam, authors of 'Towards a New Classification of Tele-Information Services' and, for less surprising but no less interesting company, video artists Bill Viola and Scott McCloud, whose comic essays on comics have made him the Aristotelian dramatist of the form."
—From Parker's review in Electronic Book Review, January 2003

Scott Rettberg
founder, the Electronic Literature Organization

"[U]ndoubtedly the most important publication in New Media Studies released this year . . . it offers this interdisciplinary field a core reading list, a set of common referents that might serve as a kind of Rosetta Stone."
—From Rettberg's introduction to the new media special section of American Book Review, March 2003

"[B]oth the most comprehensive volume produced in the field to date, and also intelligently edited and designed (as a 'print hypertext' with glosses and highlights in the margins and intertextual 'links' within the text). It should benefit the curricula of many programs in electronic literature and new media studies worldwide."
—From Rettberg's weblog

Matthew G. Kirschenbaum
assistant professor of English and Digital Studies, University of Maryland

"In 1993 Simon During edited the Cultural Studies Reader for Routledge, a volume that helped consolidate the then-emerging field (and Routledge's place in it). The New Media Reader, majestically edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort for the MIT Press, will represent an achievement of equal or greater import for the rapidly accreting field of new media and digital studies. . . I have no doubt that this collection will quickly become the default text in a variety of curricular settings."
—From Kirschenbaum's review in American Book Review, March 2003

Janet H. Murray
author of Hamlet on the Holodeck

"Here for the first time within a single volume we can trace the cultural helix, the echoing and opposing strands that form the DNA for cyberspace itself."
—From Murray's introduction to The New Media Reader

Lev Manovich
author of The Language of New Media

"[I]n my view this book is not just an anthology of new media but also the first example of a radically new history of modern culture—a view from the future when more people will recognize that the true cultural innovators of the last decades of the twentieth century were interface designers, computer game designers, and DJs."
—From Manovich's introduction to The New Media Reader

[Emphasis was added. All quotations from reviews can be read in context if the review is online; all such reviews are linked above. The translation of the German review extract is by Gunther Schmidl.]


Interview, June 2003

Noah was interviewed by The Guardian regarding The New Media Reader and related topics.

Article, Spring 2003

Nick was the subject of an article in Boston University Arts & Sciences that dealt with new media and The New Media Reader.

Events, March-April 2003

The editors spoke at the following events:

University of Pennsylvania
March 6

New Media: The Birth of the Reader
Thursday, March 6, 5:00 pm
Rosenwald Gallery, 6th Floor, Van Pelt Library
Sponsored by Penn Special Collections

Brown University
March 11

Reading New Media
with Robert Coover, David Durand, and Bill Seaman
Tuesday, March 11, 6-7:30pm
Graduate Center, Tower E, Ground Floor
92 Thayer Street between Charlesfield and Power

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
March 13

New Media: Can the Past Talk to the Future?
with Glorianna Davenport
Thursday, March 13, 5:00 pm
Room E52-175
A Comparative Media Studies Colloquium

New York University
March 19

New Media: Foundations and Futures
with Ken Perlin and Christiane Paul
Wednesday, March 19, 7:00 pm
at the NYU Center for Advanced Technology
719 Broadway, 12th floor

University of California Santa Barbara
April 3

The New Media Reader: Overview of Migration Strategies
Thursday, April 3, 4:30 pm
Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, 620 HSSB
Part of the e(X)literature Conference

Published, January 2003

The New Media Reader has been published.

The Web site for The New Media Reader (824 pp. + CD-ROM)
Edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort
Book design by Michael Crumpton