Whole Earth Review

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Whole Earth Review
Wholeearthreview 44.jpeg
Whole Earth Review issue 44 cover
Format Print
Editor Stewart Brand
Publisher Point Foundation
Origin Sausalito, CA, USA
Language English
Frequency Quarterly
Active January 1985 - Spring 2003
Topics Environment, Science, Politics, Cyberculture, technology
Number of Issues 67 (+1 Unreleased)
Follows CoEvolution Quarterly (Issue 43), Whole Earth Software Review
Precedes NA
Associated Publications NA
Website wholeearth.com

The Whole Earth Review (Whole Earth after 1997) was a magazine which was founded in January 1985 after the merger of the Whole Earth Software Review (a supplement to the Whole Earth Software Catalog) and the CoEvolution Quarterly. All of these periodicals are descendants of Stewart Brand's Whole Earth Catalog.

The last published hard copy issue of the magazine was the Winter 2002 issue. The next issue (Spring, 2003) was planned but never published in hard copy format. Bruce Sterling attempted to solicit funds for this issue by writing that "friends at Whole Earth Magazine have experienced a funding crunch so severe that the Spring 2003 special issue (#111) on Technological Singularity, edited by Alex Steffen of the Viridian curia, hasn't been printed and distributed. Whole Earth is soliciting donations to get the issue printed, and has put some of the content online." Eventually, elements of the 2003 issue appeared only in digital format on the Whole Earth website.


Fred Turner discusses the creation of the Whole Earth Review in From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. Turner notes that in 1983, The Whole Earth Software Catalog was proposed by John Brockman as a magazine which "would do for computing what the original Whole Earth Catalog had done for the counterculture: identify and recommend the best tools as they emerged." The first issue was released in the Fall of 1984. The Whole Earth Software Catalog was a business failure, however, and was only published twice, with only three of The Whole Earth Software Review supplements published . At the same time, another Brand publication, CoEvolution Quarterly evolved out of the original Whole Earth Supplement in 1974. In 1985, Brand merged CoEvolution Quarterly with The Whole Earth Software Review to create the Whole Earth Review.

This is also indicated in the issues themselves. Fall 1984, Issue No. 43 is titled The Last CoEvolution Quarterly.The cover also states, "Next issue is 'Whole Earth Review': livelier snake, new skin." In January 1985, Issue No. 44 was titled Whole Earth Review: Tools and Ideas for the Computer Age. The cover also reads "The continuation of CoEvolution Quarterly and Whole Earth Software Review." In an article titled "Whole Earth Software Catalog Version 1.1," Stewart Brand states that there are three intended audiences for the new Whole Earth Review: a) The audience of The Whole Earth Software Catalog, b) The audience of The Whole Earth Software Review and c) The audience of CoEvolution Quarterly. The office of Whole Earth Review was next door to The WELL, another project that Stewart Brand and associates co-founded.

Whole Earth had a special role in promoting alternative technology or appropriate technology. In deciding to publish full-length articles on specific topics in natural sciences, invention, arts, etc., Whole Earth (like its predecessor, CoEvolution Quarterly) was a journal aimed primarily at the educated layperson. The industrial designer and educator J. Baldwin served as the technology editor. Tool and book reviews were in abundance, and ecological and technology topics were interspersed with articles treating social and community subjects. One of the journal's recurring themes was “the commons” (a thing, institution or geographic space of, or having to do with, the community as a whole), and the related “tragedy of the commons”.

Stewart Brand and the later editors invited reviews of books and tools from experts in specific fields, to be approached as though they were writing a letter to a friend.

Whole Earth editors Kevin Kelly and Howard Rheingold both went on to become influential figures in technology. Besides having a social focus and interest in the computer revolution, Whole Earth always made efforts to be at the forefront of technological innovation, being the first to publish articles about speculations on space colonization, molecular nanotechnology and the technological singularity.


Issue User Link Notes
Issue 44 (January 1985) Acquired
Issue 45 (March 1985) Acquired
Issue 46 (May 1985) Acquired
Issue 47 (July 1985) Acquired
Issue 48 (Fall 1985) Acquired
Issue 49 (Winter 1985) Acquired
Issue 50 (Spring 1986) Acquired
Issue 51 (Summer 1986) Acquired
Issue 52 (Fall 1986) Acquired
Issue 53 (Winter 1986) Acquired
Issue 54 (Spring 1987) Acquired
Issue 55 (Summer 1987) Acquired
Issue 56 (Fall 1987) Acquired
Issue 57 (Winter 1987) Acquired
Issue 58 (Spring 1988) Acquired
Issue 59 (Summer 1988) Acquired
Issue 60 (Fall 1988) Acquired
Issue 61 (Winter 1988) Acquired
Issue 62 (Spring 1989) Acquired
Issue 63 (Summer 1989) Acquired
Issue 64 (Fall 1989) Acquired
Issue 65 (Winter 1989) Acquired
Issue 66 (Spring 1990) Acquired
Issue 67 (Summer 1990) Acquired
Issue 68 (Fall 1990) Acquired
Issue 69 (Winter 1990) Acquired
Issue 70 (Spring 1991) Acquired
Issue 71 (Summer 1991) Acquired
Issue 72 (Fall 1991) Acquired
Issue 73 (Winter 1991) Acquired
Issue 74 (Spring 1992) Acquired
Issue 75 (Summer 1992) Acquired
Issue 76 (Fall 1992) Acquired
Issue 77 (Winter 1992) Acquired
Issue 78 (Spring 1993) Acquired
Issue 79 (Summer 1993) Acquired
Issue 80 (Fall 1993) Acquired
Issue 81 (Winter 1993) Acquired
Issue 82 (Spring 1994) Acquired
Issue 83 (Summer 1994) Acquired
Issue 84 (Winter 1994) Acquired
Issue 85 (Spring 1995) Acquired
Issue 86 (Summer 1995) Acquired
Issue 87 (Fall 1995) Acquired
Issue 88 (Winter 1995) Acquired
Issue 89 (Spring 1996) Acquired
Issue 90 (Summer 1997) Acquired
Issue 91 (Winter 1997) Acquired
Issue 92 (Spring 1998) Acquired
Issue 93 (Summer 1998) Acquired
Issue 94 (Fall 1998) Acquired
Issue 95 (Winter 1998)
Issue 96 (Spring 1999) Acquired
Issue 97 (Summer 1999) Acquired
Issue 98 (Fall 1999) Acquired
Issue 99 (Winter 1999) Acquired
Issue 100 (Spring 2000) Acquired
Issue 101 (Summer 2000) Acquired
Issue 102 (Fall 2000) Acquired
Issue 103 (Winter 2000) Acquired
Issue 104 (Spring 2001) Acquired
Issue 105 (Summer 2001) Acquired
Issue 106 (Winter 2001) Acquired
Issue 107 (Spring 2002) Acquired
Issue 108 (Summer 2002) Acquired
Issue 109 (Fall 2002) Acquired
Issue 110 (Winter 2002) Acquired
Issue 111 (Spring 2003) [Unreleased] Digital excerpts only

External Links

Official Site