In 1998, when I was 9 and on a family vacation, I spent six hours in the San Juan airport with nothing to keep me entertained but a single paperback. I only hazily remember the plot: a team of computer-savvy teens from around the world working together to save the space shuttle from cyberterrorists. I read it four or five times in a row, and though I lost the book years ago, its cover—lime green, with a space shuttle surrounded by various “computery” visuals—was permanently etched into my brain.

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A memorable email book series “Cyber.kdz” spurs the author of this article to wax nostalgic about the Internet that was in the late 90’s…