In an extract from Lara’s Book, author

argues that the future of mankind rests in the hands of a virtual heroine.

PERHAPS THE BEST WAY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT HUMAN beings are going to be making in the not too distant future is to look into the recent past and see what the young people were fixating on. For example . . .

In the year 1900 young people read the stories of Jules Verne and fantasized about building airships and ultra fast vehicles. And so when they grew older, what did they build, of course, but airplanes and cars.

In the 19305 and 19405, many young people were obsessed with science fiction tales about space travel and rockets. So naturally when these young people grew up, they built NASA’s space program, TV satellites and jumbo jets.

In the 19505 and 19605, young people read about robots, government conspiracies, James Bond-ish miniature spying devices and mutant creatures. And so right now we inhabit a world of robots, clones, encryption devices andrmicrochips.

And so what are the kids into these days? Exactly what is it that kids are obsessed with? Is it one particular character? A particular type of situation this character is engaged in? A treasure hunt? A young British woman engaged in.a nonstop, dragout, gorefest hunt for ancient treasure?


It makes me think.

It makes me think about what kind of creation this next wave of enthusiastic dreamers is going to produce. Whatever it may be, it’s probably going to have an 'ON' switch, and when this switch is activated, I have a hunch it's going to say, ’Hello, I'm Lara,’ and then promptly kick-box whoever pulled the switch right in the gut. And then it may well locate and kill a few bats at the same time.

So it's not just a resultless pastime to enter the world of Lara Croft. There are direct (and not too far off) consequences of entering her realm. I was probably the last person in my own universe to discover Tomb Raider II. A friend turned me on to the game, and once I realised how big the Lara cult was I said ’d'oh!‘ I felt like I did years after leaving high school when I learned that just about everybody at school was having major sex.


' Electronics Boutique, priced

And as with any sort of large revelation, once perceived, Lara became evident everywhere almost total cultural saturation. And soon enough she was always on my mind.

And here’s something else: I like computer games, but I stink at them. My preference remains for slower, doddering mathematical and geometric games like Solitaire and Tetris; should I ever be in command of the launch-sticks for a Stealth bomber, I have little faith my missiles would ever reach their intended target. Having said this, I was in Texas recently, and played PacMan on a beautifully restored arcade game and in the intervening years since say, 1983, l was amazed at how gaming is like bike riding. It all came back in a flash.

Before I go I want to quickly mention a 19705 TV movie which became a huge cultural touchstone. It was called The Stepford Wives. In it, actress Katherine Ross portrayed a suburban Connecticut housewife who can’t help but notice the strangely submissive, robot-like nature of the neighbourhood's women, all of them also wives of husbands in high-tech industries. In the course of the movie, Ross became paranoid and-at the movie’s end, we learn that she had every right to be paranoid. I won't spoil it completely for you.

Suffice it to say that many people who have grown up since seeing The Stepford Wives have developed a real phobia for using high-tech for evil and Stepfordian gains. Lara Croft is the opposite of a mechanical Stepford wife. She is a resolutely strong, adventurous clear thinker who won't be taken advantage of. She has colonized our brains. S She is always ahead of us. She is always just that much more ahead of us, seeing the

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Lara’s Book, published by Prima, is available from


When you buy a copy of the greatest game ever at Electronics Boutique, Edinburgh & Glasgow stores. For details of your nearest store call freephone (0800) 317 778

3. This voucher cannot be used in conjunction with any other voucher

4. This offer is valid 19 Nov—2 Dec 1998.

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14 TIIE lIST 19 Nov 3 Dec 1998