Wishart, Adam 1968-

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Wishart, Adam 1968-

PERSONAL: Born 1968. Education: University of Manchester, B.A. (first-class honors), 1990.

ADDRESSES: Home— London, England. E-mail— [email protected]

CAREER: Writer. Director of films for BBC science department.

AWARDS, HONORS: Best Feature, Royal Television Society, 1998, for “Back to the Floor.”

WRITINGS

NONFICTION

(With Regula Bochsler) Leaving Reality Behind: The Battle for the Soul of the Internet, Fourth Estate (London, England), 2002, published as Leaving Reality Behind: Etoy vs. eToys.com & Other Battles to Control Cyberspace, Ecco (New York, NY), 2003.

One in Three: A Son’s Journey into the History and Science of Cancer, Grove Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including the Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, and the London Times.

SIDELIGHTS: In Leaving Reality Behind: The Battle for the Soul of the Internet, British writer and director Adam Wishart tells the story of a conflict between a radical group of artists and a rising star of the new Internet economy. The tale, as Wishart and his coauthor Regula Bochsler tell it, is (on the surface) a classic David-and-Goliath story, pitting a retail giant against a group of independent artists. The online store eToys. com wanted to sell toys online; the artists wanted to spoof capitalist culture through “an online gallery and virtual workspace,” according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, taking advantage of the freedom of the new medium of the Internet. The name the artists chose for their satirical Web site was etoy.com. “In September 1999,” explained Michael Stern in American Lawyer, “online toy retailer eToys.com sued the Swiss art collective etoy Corporation over the group’s use of the etoy.com domain name, alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, and interference with prospective economic advantage.” “The authors track the story of both sites as they explore the seamy world of domain-name control,” wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor, and “deliver an astute history of search engines.”

Although the public perceived the conflict between eToys.com and etoy.com as a good-versus-evil story, Wishart and Bochsler point out that the real story is much more complicated. “Wishart and Bochsler,” wrote the Publishers Weekly contributor, “reveal how the dot-com boom warped the perceptions of artist and corporate executive alike.” The artists of etoy.com were willing to use pornography, drug abuse, and violence on their Web site to express their critique of middle-class values. The internet toy retailer, on the other hand, was anxious to protect its family-friendly reputation, fearing that children and their parents might mistake the artists’ site for its own. The struggle over the domain identity, however, ruined both Web identities. Today, Stern concluded, “eToys is long gone. It disappeared after the bubble burst in the spring of 2000. The company lost 189 million dollars on revenues of 151 million dollars in 1999; the coup de grace was a poor Christmas quarter in 2000.” For its part, the etoy.com group “sold out”—members of the group could not resist the chance to win easy money by prolonging the lawsuit in hopes of a huge settlement. Over time, “the etoy website (www.etoy.com) [sank] into obscurity,” Tristan Quinn wrote in the New Statesman.

The title of Wishart’s second book, One in Three: A Son’s Journey into the History and Science of Cancer, is derived from statistics: over thirty percent of people alive today “will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives,” explained Guardian contributor P.D. Smith. One of them was the author’s own father, whose prostate cancer metastasized throughout his body, killing him within a year of his initial diagnosis. “Wishart seamlessly weaves together the personal, the historical and the scientific threads of his narrative to tell the story of cancer from the perspective of his father’s illness,” Smith continued. “The result is both moving and informative, a book that tries to answer the questions Wishart’s father asked when he was first diagnosed.” “Although one in three of us will develop cancer,” declared a reviewer for the Telegraph, “Wishart explains how science is gradually developing a deeper understanding of its causes, and thus offers hope for the future. The complex interaction of chemicals, genetics, ageing and diet is slowly making sense, and this book helps elucidate that scientific story.” The book, concluded a Kirkus Reviews contributor, is “a loving portrait of one man and an accessible account of what cancer is, where research and treatment are now and how they got there.”

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES

BOOKS

Wishart, Adam, One in Three: A Son’s Journey into the History and Science of Cancer, Grove Press (New York, NY), 2006.

PERIODICALS

American Lawyer, March, 2003, Michael Stern, review of Leaving Reality Behind: Etoy vs. eToys.com & Other Battles to Control Cyberspace, p. 57.

Booklist, January 1, 2003, Mary Whaley, review of Leaving Reality Behind, p. 819.

Guardian, September 9, 2006, P.D. Smith, “The Hidden Assassin.”

Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2002, review of Leaving Reality Behind, p. 1759; November 15, 2006, review of One in Three, p. 1169.

New Statesman, July 1, 2002, Tristan Quinn, “Toy Story,” p. 53.

Publishers Weekly, January 13, 2003, review of Leaving Reality Behind, p. 49; October 16, 2006, review of One in Three, p. 42.

Sunday Times, June 25, 2006, John Cornwell, “A Voyage through the Topic of Cancer.”

Telegraph, July 9, 2006, “A History of Cancer and a Touching Personal Memoir.”*