Electronic Dreams: How 1980s Britain Learned to Love the Computer

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en Limba Engleză Paperback – 25 Jan 2018
How did computers invade the homes and cultural life of 1980s Britain?Remember the ZX Spectrum? Ever have a go at programming with its stretchy rubber keys? How about the BBC Micro, Acorn Electron, or Commodore 64? Did you marvel at the immense galaxies of Elite, master digital kung-fu in Way of the Exploding Fist or lose yourself in the surreal caverns of Manic Miner?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 in to the electronic dream and let the computer into their lives.
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ISBN-13: 9781472918345
ISBN-10: 1472918347
Pagini: 288
Ilustrații: 8pp colour section
Dimensiuni: 129 x 198 mm
Editura: Bloomsbury Publishing
Colecția Bloomsbury Sigma
Locul publicării: London, United Kingdom


Written by a well-respected historian of computer technology

Notă biografică

Tom Lean is a historian of science currently based at the British Library, where he works on Oral History of British Science, a major project concerned with collecting and archiving life-story interviews with 100 figures from the recent history of science and technology. His fascination with computer technology is long-standing, culminating in his doctorate at the University of Manchester on popular computing in 1980s Britain.@reggitsti


Introduction1: Electronic Brains2: Hobbyists Create Microcomputers3: Computers for the Man in the Street4: Computer Literacy5: The Boom6: Two Information Revolutions That Weren't7: The Maturing of the Computer Game8: The Unmaking of the MicroEpilogue: Back to the Future?Further ReadingPrices and Other NumbersAcknowledgementsIndex


Lean has spoken to all the major players, as well as lesser-known ones, and packed his pages with nuggety info to write the first good book on the subject.
Tom Lean's detailed history of the 1980s revolution will be a joy to anyone who grew up in the period ... full of revealing interviews with the basement electronics-tinkerers who invented whole new computers in a week.
Lean's account ... takes us from the launch of the pioneering Sinclair ZX80 through Acorn's iconic BBC Micro to the later ZX81, ZX Spectrum and Acorn Electron ... and includes an amusing retrospective of various early computer games.
Lean manages to convey the wonder of the technology that changed the world.
A welcome addition to the field.
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.
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.