Remote Relationships in a Small World. Samantha Holland, ed. New York, NY: Peter Lang, 2008. 296 pp.
One need only read collections of historic written correspondence (such as the letters exchanged between Abigail and John Adams around the time of the American Revolution) to realize that the phenomenon of “remote relationships” is by no means a product of the Internet age, or even the Industrial Age. Until the advent of relatively rapid transit in the twentieth century, many people around the world established and maintained relationships via letters (pen pals, letters from home, love letters, care packages, etc.) and, later, electronic communication such as the telephone, two-way radio, and even recorded messages on tape or video mailed to others. But there is no question that the Internet has dramatically expanded and enhanced remote relationships in the twenty-first century, and the advent of online virtual communities and social networking sites has made remote relationships nearly ubiquitous in the lives of many. And that is why Remote Relationships in a Small World offers a good starting point for scholars wanting to conduct research into online relationships.