December 24, 2008

Geeks Bearing Gifts: New from Ted Nelson!

by Noah Wardrip-Fruin · , 12:25 pm
Cover of Geeks Bearing Gifts

After a last-minute gift? I’m looking forward to receiving a copy of Ted Nelson’s brand-new book, Geeks Bearing Gifts: How the computer world got this way.

To my knowledge, this is the first new volume in years from the author of the original personal computer book (Computer Lib / Dream Machines) and developer of key concepts in digital media (most famously, hypertext), who remains one of the field’s consistently engaging thinkers.

In this new book, as outlined in the online chapter summaries, Nelson argues: “The system of conventions called ‘Computer Literacy’ make little sense and can only be understood historically.” He stars with ancient beginnings like hierarchy, alphabets, and punctuation — and ends up with Google, mobile devices, and Web 2.0. Grab your copy while they’re fresh!

8 Responses to “Geeks Bearing Gifts: New from Ted Nelson!”


  1. r-oss Says:

    i’ve been wanting to read something by him for a while… dream machines / lib are like, $200 on amazon though. is it anywhere online? what’s his stance on reproducing it?

  2. Mark Bernstein Says:

    Eastgate stocks Nelson’s _Literary Machines_:

    http://www.eastgate.com/catalog/LiteraryMachines.html

    Amazon has some used Computer Lib copies starting at $49.48. Ted sometimes has copies to sell, too. For scans, see http://www.digibarn.com/collections/books/computer-lib/

  3. Ian Bogost Says:

    Which leads to the inevitable question:

    Noah, what’s the status of the reissue of computer lib/dream machines you and Jill were working on so many years ago?

  4. Noah Wardrip-Fruin Says:

    Jill’s been on leave, but the project is slated to spring back into action in 2009!

  5. Tom O'Neill Says:

    I got my copy a week ago and am loving it! His perspectives are as fresh and engaging as ever. Also can’t wait to see Computer Lib / Dream Machines back in print.

  6. Oleg K. Says:

    “this is the first new volume in years from the author of the original personal computer book (Computer Lib / Dream Machines) and developer of key concepts in digital media (most famously, hypertext), who remains one of the field’s consistently engaging thinkers.”

    Your missing “Literary Machines” which came out in three editions, the latest (93.1) available from Eastgate Systems.

  7. Nick Montfort Says:

    We’re not.

  8. Noah Wardrip-Fruin Says:

    Generally, I think the timespan between 1993 and 2008 should count as “years.”

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