Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

Opton  
  Very early description of an electronic book, with storage media.  

This is a very early description of what we would call an electronic book.

I spent the afternoon in a bookstore. There were no books in it. None had been printed for nearly half a century. And how I have looked forward to them, after the micro films that made up the library of the Prometheus! No such luck. No longer was it possible to browse among shelves, to weigh volumes in hand, to feel their heft, the promise of ponderous reading. The bookstore resembled, instead, an electronic laboratory. The books were crystals with recorded contents. They can be read the aid of an opton, which was similar to a book but had only one page between the covers. At a touch, successive pages of the text appeared on it. But optons were little used, the sales-robot told me. The public preferred lectons - like lectons read out loud, they could be set to any voice, tempo, and modulation. Only scientific publications having a very limited distribution were still printed, on a plastic imitation paper. Thus all my purchases fitted into one pocket, though there must have been almost three hundred titles. My handful of crystal corn - my books. I selected a number of works on history and sociology, a few on statistics and demography, and what the girl from Adapt had recommended on psychology. A couple of the larger mathematical textbooks - larger, of course, in the sense of their content, not of their physical science. The robot that served me was itself an encyclopedia, in that - as it told me - it was linked directly, through electronic catalogs, to templates of every book on earth. As a rule, a bookstore had only single "copies" of books, and when someone needed a particular book, the contents of the work was recorded in a crystal.

The originals - Crystomatrices - were not to be seen; they were kept behind pale blue enamel the steel plates. So a book was printed, as it were, every time someone needed it. The question of printings, of their quantity, of their running out, had ceased to exist. Actually, a great achievement, and yet I regretted the passing of books.

From Return from the Stars, by Stanislaw Lem.
Published by Not known in 1961
Additional resources -

I can't think of an earlier description of an electronic book. Note that it anticipates the use of small storage media that are inserted into the book for reading.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Return from the Stars
  More Ideas and Technology by Stanislaw Lem
  Tech news articles related to Return from the Stars
  Tech news articles related to works by Stanislaw Lem

Opton-related news articles:
  - Kindle E-Book Reader From Amazon
  - iRex Iliad E-Book Reader AND Writer
  - iRex DR800SG E-Reader Has Unlimited 3G Data
  - Time Inc. Digital Magazine Video
  - Amazon Sells More Ebooks Than Hardcovers
  - Amazon Sells More E-Books Than Books
  - Smart E-Book System Outperforms Apple iBooks
  - 75 Percent Of Americans Prefer Paper Books!

Articles related to Computer
NailO Thumb-Mounted Mouse Needs John Varley's Help
Vint Cerf's 'Digital Dark Age' Vs. George Orwell's
Data Mining Computers Detect Your Emotions
Lizard Squad, Nihilistic Technofetishists For Hire

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

NASA's Robotic Mining Competition
''Dave,'[Powell] said. 'You're a stable, rock-bottom mining robot...'

Should Humanity Switch To Robotic Pets?
'What about an exact electric duplicate of your cat?'

L'Oreal To 3D Print Human Skin
'...She helped the doctor spray on surrogate skin.'

LG Display Creates OLED Wallpaper
'A television that unrolled like a poster...'

Cool Foldable Mini-Quadcopter
'Eddie pocketed the bee cam...'

NASA's Subvocal Speech System
'She took a subvocal input device from its rack...'

Cicada UAV Dropped In Swarms
'We... dropped roughly a thousand eyes on Beta Hydri IV.'

AI's Now Being Taught Anger
Actually the Prime Radiant was just a display device.

Cicret Interactive Skin Display Prototype
'A strip of readout skin on my wrist...'

Lily Camera Video Sport Selfie Drone
'He set his camera to follow him, and it hovered behind him like a large tame bee.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.