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People I've Met from the Internet

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  20 reviews
"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,
Paperback, 155 pages
Published July 1st 2019 by Ricochet Editions
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Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This postconceptual memoir is made up of the titular list and its annotations: notes on each person and scenario that accumulate to form a personal narrative through brief encounters. Van Dyck meets people from, from Craigslist, MySpace, etc., often to hook up (in a variety of ways including "massaged my butt, slept over" and "sat on his very hairy lap"), sometimes to buy or sell furniture, occasionally to go river tubing or talk all night about the universe. In archiving new modes of qu ...more
Ryan Wolf
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
People I’ve Met from the Internet is honest and brave and sweet, and it’s very hard to be all three of those at once. Stephen van Dyck gets at the feeling of sweaty omniscience that comes from growing up online, that I feel so strongly and yet don’t see reflected in media. This book makes me want to call my dad and dig up my xanga.
I'm blown away by how Van Dyk's unassuming diary-like vignettes can cover so much emotional and sexual terrain. It's like a memoir in list form and it beautifully/hilariously/awkwardly documents his early adulthood through the people he's met on the Internet. There's a lot of sweetness throughout, as if the author is still in love (or still boyfriends) with many of the men and women described. His descriptions of the early AOL chatrooms and era are like sly glimpses into a secret world. ...more
Joe Milazzo
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
[Full disclosure: the author of this book was a classmate of mine at CalArts (2006 - 2008), and I was a member of an editorial team that published some of his work in a literary journal in 2010.] As my friend/mentor Joseph McElroy once said, "memory is an artist." He did not gloss this observation, really, but he meant (I think) that memory is simultaneously selective and comprehensive. That it operates according to principles of association and condensation — or, if you prefer, metonymy and met ...more
Stephen van Dyck
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Some reviews of PIMFTI:

"Delight in the Details," Julia Matthews, Zyzzyva Magazine:

"Memoir Log In," James Chapin, Atticus Review:

"4 books I read recently and loved," Dennis Cooper on his blog:

"Grindr World," by Chris Freeman, The Gay & Lesbian Review:

"Trending Again," Allison OKeefe at Full Stop Magazine:
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stephen van Dyck’s novel evocatively tells unique and lovely vignettes of intimacy in the transition to the Information Age.

Stephen van Dyck takes the reader on a journey of a singularly American experience of the late 90’s and early 2000’s coming of age. People I’ve Met on The Internet brilliantly captures a generation’s youth and development. It's a time capsule of how a whole generation discovered themselves, their sexuality, and defining experiences through a uniquely defining device - inter
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
<3 <3
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I grew up in the same city as the author during the same time. It was fascinating to become involved in a world that I have no experience with and, at the time, had no idea existed.
Coming of age at the beginning of the millennium has its own unique quirks as our generation embraced the Internet to communicate very quickly. The LGBTQ+ community of this age had the need to utilize it even more. As the straight, naïve friend, I was only privy to the song lyric inspired AIM names.This book made me
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of the strangest things I have ever read, yet utterly fascinating! Simultaneously hilarious and horrifying, this project brings back a flood of memories from the late high school/early college years.
Bruno Trautzer
Apr 25, 2021 rated it liked it
I picked it up and didn't put it down until I was finished. It felt like reading someones diary without them knowing and this was thrilling. It wasn't quite what I imagined it would be but I enjoyed it nonetheless. ...more
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great fragmented / experimental form memoir about coming of age as a gay youth from the dawn of home internet through the 00's. ...more
I read the reviews that said a lot of smart things about this book. So yes, this is an interesting book. Also, it is fun to read. The writing is crisp and clean, and at the same time warm and welcoming. It gave me a feeling of closeness. All the gifts of reality tv done up in Lit. It made me think of Megan Boyle's LiveBlog. This was the first book, since hers, that I had that sensation of completely inhabiting another life. Experienced as real time. It is such strange effect. Totally wonderful. ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have no idea where to start and while that's not unusual for a review for me, it's also a bit daunting given I know - or perhaps more specifically used to know - the author. (It begs the question of if you can still know someone you haven't really spoken to in like 20 years. You knew who they were and they knew who you were, but neither of you are those people anymore. Do you really still know them or just some shadow of who they once were?) In any case it makes it difficult to know how to rea ...more
Levi Huxton
May 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This queer memoir charts a dozen or so years in the life of American writer and artist Stephen van Dyck as he charts, chronologically, dispassionately, all of the people he's met on the internet from age 13 onwards. Many are hook-ups. All are described anecdotally in a formal, factual prose seemingly devoid of feeling or judgement.

It's not for everyone. It certainly took me a while to get into it. As an art project, if felt facile and self-indulgent. The parade of names, faces and body parts se
Zach Krohn
May 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
I like this book the most when I think of it as an art project. This collection of people the author met from the start of the internet, is a weird/lovely/touching collection of stories. Though most of the people are unrelated, its oddly sweet that some of the characters end up featured across multiple stories.

I YouTube’d one of the art projects the author made in his CalArts days (which he talks about in the book). It’s very strange and trying to be “Art” with a capital A... but it made me appr
A.M. Sandoval
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had the privilege of hearing the author read from the book a few times while it was still in development. It’s great to finally read the book and see it come to fruition. Anyone who has dated in the internet age will be able to relate to these hilarious, sometimes cringe-inducing but always fascinating collection of stories about all the strange little worlds we encounter when we open ourselves up to meeting strangers online.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
People I've Met From The Internet is a nostalgic guided tour through a bygone era of online intimacy, an arresting and vulnerable portrait of isolation with a yearning to connect, and a deeply hilarious read. With an occasionally devastating matter-of-fact approach, Stephen van Dyck somehow manages to imbue this book with humanity and warmth. A modern queer classic. ...more
Mills College Library
306.7662 V247 2019
Glen Helfand
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book multi-tasks in the same way that we all do when online. It's a coming of age scenario, a narrative that develops from the author's first searches for gay connection in an AOL chat room in 1998 and concluding a decade later when that the impulse for sex, friendship (and the occasional need for a computer repair person) become part of an art project. That is, life and art converge. It is an archive, with interactions charted and notated. Screen names, real names, frequency of encounters, ...more
May 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
I actually give this 1.5 stars because I love the idea but, for something with so much sex, it was SO. FREAKING. BORING. Reading a financial ledger would be more fun.
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