Archive for July, 2014

The “Good Ol’ Days” …

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

(1.) He had dreamed and talked about owning a word processor for years, and when Lina’s laughter became too sarcastic to bear, he had talked about it to Jon.  “I could write faster, rewrite faster, and submit more,” he remembered telling Jon last summer — the boy had looked at him seriously, his light blue eyes, intelligent but always so carefully wary, magnified behind his glasses. “It would be great . . . really great.” ¶
“Then why don’t you get one, Uncle Rich?” ¶ “They don’t exactly give them away,” Richard had said, smiling.  “The Radio Shack model starts at around three grand.  From there you can work yourself into the eighteen-thousand-dollar range.”

—Stephen King, in his “Word Processor of the Gods” (1983; orig. pub. in Playboy as, simply, “The Word Processor“)
(2.) This is the first book that I wrote on a word processor.  My first two novels were written on manual typewriters.  They were the best books I could do at the time, and they had quite a lot of rebellious kicking and thrashing in them, but they couldn’t be classed with SCHISMATRIX. ¶ It was a revelation when I first saw my text become electric vapor on the screen of a computer.  I realized that I’d become part of a new generation in science fiction, a generation that had profound, genuine, “technical” advantages over all our predecessors.  This freed me almost overnight from any sense that I still dwelt in the long shadows of Verne, Wells, or Stapledon.  Those writers were titans of the imagination, but they were one and all confined to analog technologies of ink and woodpulp.  Now I could do what I liked with words — bend them, break them, jam them together, pick them apart again.  It was like patiently studying blues guitar and suddenly finding a fire-engine-red Fender Stratocaster.

—”Bruce Sterling— ¶Austin, Texas: 29-11-’95” in his “Introduction” to SCHISMATRIX Plus (1996)
(3.) His fingers moved swiftly over the keys.  He looked at the screen and saw those letters floating green on the surface of the screen: ¶ MY BROTHER WAS A WORTHLESS DRUNK. ¶ They floated there and Richard suddenly thought of a toy he had had when he was a kid.  It was called a Magic Eight-Ball.  You asked it a question that could be answered yes or no and then you turned the Magic Eight-Ball over to see what it had to say on the subject — its phony yet somehow entrancingly mysterious responses included such things as IT IS ALMOST CERTAIN, I WOULD NOT PLAN ON IT, and ASK AGAIN LATER.

—King, op. cit.
(4.) “Boy, Michael, you’re so loyal.  Anyway, what were we talking about?” ¶ “Computers.” ¶ It drove him nuts that I didn’t use one.  This was 1983, pre-laptop.  There were five computers in this room alone, all running, and he’d move from station to station to feed and manipulate data while we talked. ¶ “Michael, listen to me: It’s only a very limited, arbitrary, and simple series of commands that you just don’t know yet.  I mean, how hard can it be?  The police use them.” ¶ “I know, Stanley, but . . .” ¶ “Michael, I’m telling you, blah blah blah,” and “Michael, I swear to God blah blah blah.  At lest for screenplays” (a lesser form) “you’re crazy not to use them.” ¶ He gave a demonstration to soften my Luddite heart and show me that I was only making more work for myself by resisting.  He went to the computer that he was using to write the script.  He typed, marked, cut, moved, pasted, while I faked interest.  When he was finished with the routine, Christiane [Kubrick] phoned to say that dinner was ready.  As we left, I reminded him that he hadn’t turned the computers off. ¶ “They like to be left on,” he said ironically, factually, tenderly.”

—Herr, in-and-on Kubrick

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