“Haunted Media is a remarkably well-written book. [Sconce’s] style is vibrant, verging on the poetic at times without losing clarity. He ranges across an impressive variety of historical ephemera from TV Guide sidebars to pulp magazine stories, and he does so without ever losing sight of the primary payoff of the book: the connections between the metaphors in these marginal works and the metaphors that govern our understandings of mass media. . . . Haunted Media finds central insights in unusual places, giving fresh context to time-honored media metaphors.” — Greg M. Smith , Rhetoric & Public Affairs
“Haunted Media is an intriguing and stimulating book, full of whimsy, fantasy, and interest . . . . Much of his raw material reads like McLuhanism gone mad, but Sconce skillfully exerts analytical rigour while preserving its sense of wonder and wackiness.” — Douglas Craig , Australasian Journal of American Studies
“[A] unique, readable, and engrossing account of the fantasies and mythology people embrace in coping with electronic media. . . . The writing is brilliant and author’s grasp of the social and cultural implications of electronic media is breathtaking. A must for all collections.” — R. Cathcart , Choice
“Like most works of cultural studies, Haunted Media unearths lots of B movies you’ve never seen and strange tales you’ve never read . . . Thankfully, Sconce supplements these readings with juicy accounts of paranormal folklore and weird science: radio signals emerging from household objects; ghosts haunting TV screens; voices discovered on tape recordings of ‘dead air.’ This sort of anthropological material is where the rubber of the cultural imagination really hits the road. . . This is fresh stuff.” — Erik Davis , Bookforum
“This is a wonderful book. Sconce writes so well, that the histories emerge with a freshness and clarity that few could replicate. The loopy inventiveness of this cult-oriented field of popular culture is really cleverly caught—without condescension, and with real relish. It is not only good history, it is first rate cultural theory as well. Sconce teases out the threads of the continuing discourse and their functions for their users, so that he provides a genuinely illuminating contribution to our understanding of the function of the electronic media over the last century.” — Graeme Turner , Intensities: The Journal of Cultural Media
"Haunted Media offers a history of one of the key metaphors used to understand electronic presence, that of it being in some ghost-like way 'alive', or connecting us to some alternative, and otherwise inaccessible, 'reality'. . . . [W]hat is surprising in Jeffrey Sconce's compelling account is that it is a metaphor that dates from the birth of electronic communication and, despite the absolute lack of evidence to support it, has proved remarkably resilient."
— Ian Saunders , Year's Work in Critical Cultural Theory
"[A] unique and important work. . . . Haunted Media is an important addition to the cultural history of communications and media technology. Sconce's work vividly captures the effect of communications technology on the popular imagination." — Andreas Kitzmann , Postmodern Culture
"[I]t is not often that one reads a book with such pleasure."
— Andrew Murphie , Theory and Event
"I really like what Sconce has done here. . . . [A] valuable contribution. . . . By offering his fresh take on current postmodern debates he surely risked making more than a few academic enemies. Nevertheless, it's a risk I am glad he took." — Dougie Bicket, Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies
“Death, desire and distance are Jeffrey Sconce's companions in this truly spooky journey through the ‘troubling afterlife of modernity.’ His brilliant and beautifully written history of the uncanny powers ascribed to the electronic media is a wonderful catalogue of popular fantasies. But more profoundly it is a symptomatology of media theory too. In fact and fiction alike we are caught up in wild imaginings that seek transcendance in transmission, from the ether to the Internet. Where redemption is sought from the ‘liveness’ of technology, Sconce advises caution. Or, as one of the quirky spirits he unearths implores via radio, ‘bring a halibut!’ ” — John Hartley, Queensland University of Technology
“Sconce offers an original and productive examination of the diverse social responses to 150 years of electronic communication. The result is an important and evocative book, notable for both its insights and its engaging style.” — William Boddy, author of Fifties Television: The Industry and Its Critics
“This is a powerful, compelling, and historically informed analysis of popular representations of electronic presence. Sconce has a rare ability to write about complex cultural phenomena in a poetic fashion, offering the reader a fascinating counterpart to existing scholarship in this area.” — Michael Curtin, author of Redeeming the Wasteland: Television Documentary and Cold War Politics