P. Atkinson, Computer
Reaktion Books (Objekt series), 2010.
256 pages, 143 illustrations, 52 in colour
ISBN 978-1-86189-664-3 click to hear to a BBC Radio5 live interview
from 19 July 2010 about the book 'Computer'
The computer has in many respects become so common that it largely disappears from view. Originally a room-sized, esoteric, carefully-tended machine, breeding fear, awe and respect, over the years it has decreased in size, and become a prosaic appliance little-more noted than a toaster or vacuum-cleaner. Computer shows how changes in attitudes have been reflected in the physical design of the computer, and the ways in which the computer has been represented and promoted in advertising.
Computer also considers the role of the computer as a cultural touchstone, as evidenced by its regular appearance in popular media: "Dan Dare" and the iconography of the space age, "2001: A Space Odyssey's" Hal, James Bond's bespoke gadgetry, "Stars War and Trek", and a myriad more besides.
Computer covers many issues ignored by other histories of computing, which have focused largely on technology and the economics involved in their production, but rarely on their physical design or their reception, consumption and representation. The book will appeal to professionals, students, and the lay reader in the fields of design, technology and computing, as well as social, cultural and economic history.
Reviews and more inormation about this book can be seen on Reaktion's Website.