A novel set in the medium-flung future, with a plot that hinges on the theft of a kind of super-book. A super-book that is engrossing, interactive, networked; with pages that change before your eyes; that knows more or less everything. A science-fictional object that served as the lodestone for Amazon’s efforts, in the early 2000s, to develop an e-reader.
In his chronicle of the company, Brad Stone writes: “The early [Kindle] engineers thought of the fictitious textbook in the novel as a template for what they were creating.” A palimpsest of influence, visible to all Amazon customers who log in to manage their super-book stolen from the pages of science fiction. The Kindle isn’t the only piece of technology with these roots, of course—far from it.