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Stories that "Predicted" eBooks and Flash Drives
Some additional stories or predictive books that I've heard of or encountered over the years that touch on this - in no particular order:

2081 by Gerard K. O'Neil (of O'Neil colony fame, written/published in 1981) - There are a number of vignettes in the second part of the book illustrating life in the author's conception of 2081. This includes mention of a tablet/e-reader like device about the size of a sheet of paper that plugs into a base unit to download content. O'Neil describes it as being able to hold up to 100,000 words of material. IIRC, when I read this as a child I was pretty awed by the concept. Now of course, 100,000 words counts as barely a fraction of what any standard tablet or e-reader can contain as a matter of course (I think my Kindle is stated to have capacity for something like 3000 standard size books).

IIRC Arthur C. Clarke's novel Imperial Earth (pub 1975) has mention of some kind of tablet like device used for reading newspapers and such (called an 'Autosec'? Might be confusing this with 2001). The story is set in 2276.

The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (pub 1974) is set in 3017AD. Multiple passing mentions are made to characters using a 'pocket computer' that is both what we would call solid state and contains information and come computing functions. I don't remember if it is also wireless. They do impact the plot in that characters tend to not fall into the trope of forgetting important facts for the purpose of advancing the plot. There is a scene where a character forgets something, but then looks it up on their pocket computer within moments, for example.

When I was in college (1987-1993) there was actually a novel that came out about the invention of the first ebook and the massive efforts of the publishing industry to suppress the technology (up to and including murder or attempted murder apparently). I remember reading a review of the book in Analog magazine and later seeing it in my university book store, but never actually bought it so can't say much more about it.

Of course Star Trek: TNG introduced the concept of ebooks/tablet computers to a huge audience and likely inspired people to develop the tech in the form we use in RL. That said, ST:TOS also has some kind of clipboard/tablet computer thing that was occasionally shown - usually in the context of Captain Kirk being handed it by a female crew member to read or sign. Details of what it looked like, whether or not it was anything more than a thick clipboard, or how it supposedly worked were never provided AFAIK.


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RE: Stories that "Predicted" eBooks and Flash Drives - by Drashner1 - 05-16-2021, 11:39 PM

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