Electronic Dreams: How 1980s Britain Learned to Love the Computer by Tom Lean
Synopsis: Remember the ZX Spectrum? Ever have a go at programming with its stretchy rubber keys? Did you marvel at the immense galaxies of Elite on the BBC Micro, or lose yourself in the surreal caverns of Manic Miner on the ZX Spectrum?
For anyone who was a kid in the 1980s, these iconic computer brands are the stuff of legend. In Electronic Dreams, Tom Lean tells the story of how computers invaded British homes for the first time, as people set aside their worries of electronic brains and Big Brother and embraced the wonder technology of the 1980s.
This book charts the history of the rise and fall of the home computer, the family of futuristic and quirky machines that took computing from the realm of science and science fiction to being a user-friendly domestic technology. It is a tale of unexpected consequences, when the machines that parents bought to help their kids with homework ended up giving birth to the video games industry, and of unrealised ambitions, like the ahead-of-its-time Prestel network that first put the British home online but failed to change the world.
Ultimately, it’s the story of the people who made the boom happen, the inventors and entrepreneurs like Clive Sinclair and Alan Sugar seeking new markets, bedroom programmers and computer hackers, and the millions of everyday folk who bought into the electronic dream and let the computer into their lives.
Published: February 2016 | ISBN: 9781472918338
Discount Code for Science Book a Day Readers: Enter SBAD30 at the checkout on bloomsbury.com
Mini-bio: Tom Lean is an historian of science and technology. He fell into history of computing by accident after studying both as an undergraduate, and now holds a PhD in History of Science, Technology, and Medicine from the University of Manchester. – Dianne Banks Associates
Author’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/reggitsti
“A great read, with many wonderful details about the growth of the computer industry, and those involved in it. It gets across the amateur nature of its early stages very well especially.” – David Braben, co-creator of Elite, founder and CEO of Frontier Developments, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
“Tom has done a very thorough job of researching and understanding the 1980s UK home computer scene. This book brought back many memories while reminding me of the great excitement and innovative spirit of that decade, which changed the world irreversibly by putting the power of computers into everyone’s hands.” – Steve Furber, principal designer of the BBC Micro and Professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Manchester
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