The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

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The novelist’s design

Oh this warms my heart:

That original Kindle, code-named “Fiona” after a character in Neal Stephenson’s futuristic novel The Diamond Age, was finally ready to go in the fall of 2007.

For the uninitiated: The Diamond Age is a novel premised on a world where books are transparently online and totally alive, redrawing words and images before your eyes. Imagine all the potency and fidelity of an iPad on every thin, crinkly page.

Anyway, I’m sure many writers would disagree, but for me, this is a serious reason to write futuristic fiction: sometimes, people actually make this stuff.

The blockquote is from this long, super-detailed Businessweek piece on Amazon’s Lab126 and the development of the Kindle from 2004 ’til today. It’s worth the read if you’re interested in this stuff.

Honestly, I think Amazon is such a great company. Not as austere as Apple, you know?—somehow still a gang of nerds reading science fiction, throwing stuff together, making it all work.


I was going to leave some sort of banal comment about Jules Verne and other inspirational but then I was totally discombobulated by the fact that the Snarkmatrix somehow automatically respelled my name in Bangla. Well played, Sloan, well played.


Sharat B. says…

To back your assertion up, I’d point to the Smithsonian Magazine blogs picking up Paleofuture. I only started paging back through the archives yesterday, but it looks like a wonderful study of retrofuturism. The Smithsonian certainly seems to care about how good our fiction was at predicting futures, or at least what we can learn from the assumptions underlying those predictions.

Funny, considering that Second Life is partly inspired by Stephenson’s “Snow Crash.” On a side note, living in Spain now, we can’t get enough of the Kindle. It feels especially weird to be reading Wilkie Collins on it (“No Name,” starts slow but then gets just as good as “The Moonstone” and “The Woman In White”), but then again it is a very Victorian device in some ways.

You and your Wilkie Collins!

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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