"What has allowed so many Psychopathic Personalities to rise so high in corporations and government, is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
||Electronic Book Store
||A place to pick up your electronic books.
|I spent the afternoon in a bookstore. There were no books in it. None had been printed for nearly half a century. And how I have looked forward to them, after the micro films that made up the library of the Prometheus! No such luck. No longer was it possible to browse among shelves, to weigh volumes in hand, to feel their heft, the promise of ponderous reading. The bookstore resembled, instead, an electronic laboratory. The books were crystals with recorded contents. They can be read the aid of an opton, which was similar to a book but had only one page between the covers. At a touch, successive pages of the text appeared on it. But optons were little used, the sales-robot told me. The public preferred lectons - like lectons read out loud, they could be set to any voice, tempo, and modulation. Only scientific publications having a very limited distribution were still printed, on a plastic imitation paper. Thus all my purchases fitted into one pocket, though there must have been almost three hundred titles. My handful of crystal corn - my books. I selected a number of works on history and sociology, a few on statistics and demography, and what the girl from Adapt had recommended on psychology. A couple of the larger mathematical textbooks - larger, of course, in the sense of their content, not of their physical science. The robot that served me was itself an encyclopedia, in that - as it told me - it was linked directly, through electronic catalogs, to templates of every book on earth. As a rule, a bookstore had only single "copies" of books, and when someone needed a particular book, the contents of the work was recorded in a crystal.
The originals - Crystomatrices - were not to be seen; they were kept behind pale blue enamel the steel plates. So a book was printed, as it were, every time someone needed it. The question of printings, of their quantity, of their running out, had ceased to exist. Actually, a great achievement, and yet I regretted the passing of books.
|From Return from the Stars,
by Stanislaw Lem.
Published by Not known in 1961
Additional resources -
Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |
and Technology from Return from the Stars
and Technology by Stanislaw Lem
Tech news articles related to Return from the Stars
Tech news articles related to works by Stanislaw Lem
Electronic Book Store-related
- Biggest Electronic Book Store On Earth
- Google Ebookstore - Great Expectations In The Cloud
- First Bookless Public Library?
Articles related to Culture
Want to Contribute an
Get the name of the item, a
quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add
More SF in the
More Beyond Technovelgy