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Electronic Dreams


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How did computers invade the homes and cultural life of 1980s Britain?

Table of Contents

Introduction 1: Electronic Brains 2: Hobbyists Create Microcomputers 3: Computers for the Man in the Street 4: Computer Literacy 5: The Boom 6: Two Information Revolutions That Weren't 7: The Maturing of the Computer Game 8: The Unmaking of the Micro Epilogue: Back to the Future? Further Reading Prices and Other Numbers Acknowledgements Index

About the Author

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


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. * Esquire *
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. * Spectator *
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. * Times Literary Supplement *
Lean manages to convey the wonder of the technology that changed the world. * How it Works *
A welcome addition to the field. -- Brian Clegg * Popular Science *
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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