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"I am first of all not a science fiction writer I write, I suppose, what the Latin Americans call magic realism."
- Harlan Ellison

Reading Plaque  
  A tablet-sized display for reading.  

When you get right down to it, the only part of a CRT that people really need is the screen.

Spivey regarded him for a long interval. Finally, he opened a slim briefcase and pulled out a large-format reading plaque. "I'd appreciate it if you'd leaf through this, Mr. Eng..."

He took the plaque... he put his thumb on the page-turn button and began skimming...

[Spivey said] "You haven't seen the actual recording yet... Allow me." The man expertly dialed the correct data page. "This was taken by a high-altitude reconnaissance blimp..."

From Earth, by David Brin.
Published by Bantam in 1990
Additional resources -

This was a pretty good prediction for its time; I remember purchasing a 16-lb "laptop" with an orange gas plasma display in about 1988. The display was still three quarters of an inch thick.

If you want to see a pretty good picture of a real-world plaque, see the A4-Sized Color E-Paper Unrolled By Philips.

This idea has a number of sfnal predecessors. Larry Niven wrote about the poster tv in a 1976 story. Philip K. Dick wrote about a battery-powered 3D comic book in his 1965 classic The Zap Gun. Stanislaw Lem thought about an electronic book as one with but a single page between the covers - see the entry for opton - in 1961.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Earth
  More Ideas and Technology by David Brin
  Tech news articles related to Earth
  Tech news articles related to works by David Brin

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