Update: Just remembered I said I'd post a link to some LambdaMOO resources. Here they are.
This June the redoubtable and energetic Luke Robert Mason has revived Virtual Futures, a series of ground-breaking conferences held at Warwick University in 1994, 1995 and 1996. I was invited to be a plenary speaker, which I was delighted to do since, like many others, my writing and research completely changed direction as a result of attending VF1995.
The text-based virtual world of LambdaMOO was set up in 1990 by Pavel Curtis, a software architect at Xerox PARC. It began as a technical experiment but soon became a social experiment preoccupied with questions of community management in an online society where privacy and freedom were considered equally paramount. Anonymity was fiercely protected, along with one’s right to take any form or identity – an apparent contradiction but just one part of the heady anthropological mix to be found there. And unlike the richly-featured graphic worlds like Second Life, LambdaMOO was confined to plain text, making it a digital heaven for anyone who enjoys spinning words to create new environments and personas. My own first encounter with LambdaMOO was at a workshop run by Australian cyberfeminist and performance artist Francesca da Rimini (aka Gashgirl) at Virtual Futures 1995. It inspired my cyber-travelogue ‘Hello World: Travels in Virtuality’ (Raw Nerve, 2004) and I’ve been returning there recently to collect landscapes for my forthcoming book ‘Nature and Cyberspace: Stories, Memes and Metaphors’. Visit it yourself by pasting this into your browser telnet://lambda.moo.mud.org:8888 and following the onscreen instructions. (Telnet is a special protocol – you may need to get help to enable it on your machine.)