People I've Met From the Internet (Ricochet Editions)
Stephen van Dyck's People I've Met From The Internet is a queer reimagining of the coming-of-age narrative set at the dawn of the internet era. In 1997, AOL is first entering suburban homes just as thirteen-year-old Stephen is coming into his sexuality, constructing selves and cruising in the fantasyscape of the internet. Through strange, intimate, and sometimes perilous physical encounters with the hundreds of men he finds there, Stephen explores the pleasures and pains of growing up, contends with his mother's homophobia and early death, and ultimately searches for a way of being in the world. Spanning twelve years, the book takes the form of a very long annotated list, tracking Stephen's journey and the men he meets from adolescence in New Mexico to post-recession adulthood in Los Angeles, creating a multi-dimensional panorama of gay men's lives as he searches for glimpses of utopia in the available world.
Praise for People I've Met From the Internet
“Unputdownable. Young gay sex and super mundane details—two things I love, together.”—Miranda July, author of The First Bad Man
“Stephen van Dyck’s meticulous sexual records reveal the true recent histories of America, the Internet, the nearly-defunct nuclear family and the author himself. Surprisingly touching, People I’ve Met From the Internet is a brilliantly written, taxonomic account of growing up queer in turn-of-the-millennium Albuquerque, Los Angeles, and beyond.”—Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick
“It is as if Holden Caulfield has returned at age 13 (into his 20s) to guide us through a new landscape, a cyber world of chat rooms (used mainly for casual sex encounters) occupied by denizens identified by names such as ‘Sexy-Boy’ or ‘Neutron 2.’ This is an impressive work, modern, relevant, powerfully startling in its effect.”—John Rechy, author of City of Night
“Bold, brave, sexy. . . This annotated bibliography of encounters bridging the virtual and real worlds of desire feels like a nineteenth-century erotic novel transposed onto the present, filled with salacious stories and characters. A truly remarkable adventure.”—D. A. Powell, author of Cocktails
“A brilliant, deadpan account of sexualized youth. . . If it wasn’t so effortlessly funny and wry, People I’ve Met From the Internet would horrify; as it stands, every sentence—every checked-off box of kissing? oral? anal?—brings on the warm flush a real writer gives you.”—Dodie Bellamy, author of When the Sick Rule the World
"As the internet transformed the gay world from a limited number of gay spaces to a virtually unlimited homotopia, things were gained and things were lost, but van Dyck was one of its argonauts. There’s a new kind of queer text here, one needed for a new queer age.”—Matias Viegener, author of 2500 Random Things About Me Too
Stephen van Dyck, a writer, artist, and educator, is the author of People I've Met From the Internet, out August 2019 from Ricochet Editions. Van Dyck's work has appeared in Zyzzyva, Yes Femmes, The Gay & Lesbian Review, and Entropy. An MFA graduate of Integrated Media, Critical Studies and Experimental Sound Practices at CalArts, van Dyck has performed and presented work all around Los Angeles, including LACE, MOCA, LACMA and Human Resources. Since 2008, van Dyck has curated the Los Angeles Road Concerts, all-day arts events where over 300 LA artists and locals have re-imagined unused outdoor public space along the entire lengths of LA's very long streets.
Matias Viegener is a writer, artist and critic who lives in LA and teaches at CalArts. He’s the author of 2500 Random Things About Me and The Assassination of Kathy Acker, and editor of I'm Very Into You, the correspondence of Kathy Acker and McKenzie Wark, and co-editor of Séance in Experimental Writing and The Noulipian Analects. He has published fiction and criticism in Afterimage, American Book Review, Artforum, Art Issues, ArtUS, Artweek, Black Clock, Bomb, Cabinet, Critical Quarterly, Fiction International, Framework, The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest, Mirage, Paragraph, Suspect Thoughts, and X-tra. His work has been written about in The New Yorker, salon.com, The New York Times, Art in America, Frieze, Art:21, The Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic, and The Huffington Post.