Charlton D. McIlwain: Black Software: The Internet and Racial Justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter (2020)

14 November 2019, dusan

“Activists, pundits, politicians, and the press frequently proclaim today’s digitally mediated racial justice activism the new civil rights movement. As Charlton D. McIlwain shows in this book, the story of racial justice movement organizing online is much longer and varied than most people know. In fact, it spans nearly five decades and involves a varied group of engineers, entrepreneurs, hobbyists, journalists, and activists. But this is a history that is virtually unknown even in our current age of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Black Lives Matter.

Beginning with the simultaneous rise of civil rights and computer revolutions in the 1960s, McIlwain, for the first time, chronicles the long relationship between African Americans, computing technology, and the Internet. In turn, he argues that the forgotten figures who worked to make black politics central to the Internet’s birth and evolution paved the way for today’s explosion of racial justice activism. From the 1960s to present, the book examines how computing technology has been used to neutralize the threat that black people pose to the existing racial order, but also how black people seized these new computing tools to build community, wealth, and wage a war for racial justice.

Through archival sources and the voices of many of those who lived and made this history, Black Software centralizes African Americans’ role in the Internet’s creation and evolution, illuminating both the limits and possibilities for using digital technology to push for racial justice in the United States and across the globe.”

Publisher Oxford University Press, 2020
ISBN 9780190863845, 0190863846
xi+296 pages

Video interview with author (Morning Joe, MSNBC, 2019)
Podcast interview with author (The Human and the Machine, 2019)

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (7 MB)

Richard W. Bailey (ed.): Computer Poems (1973)

14 October 2019, dusan

A collection of early computer-generated poetry gathered by Richard W. Bailey.

“At the beginning of this century, Stephane Mallarmé published a slogan for modernism: A throw of the dice will never abolish chance. Chance is not abolished by the computer’s randomizing power but is re-created in different terms. The poet-programmer finds this power a tool to create a new set of dice, multi-faceted and marked with elements of his own choosing.

Yet the new battle to free language is fought on familiar battlefields: concrete poetry is reflected with a computer mirror in the poems of Leslie Mezei and Greta Monarch; pure poetry of sound in the verbal orchestrations of Archie Donald and Noreen Greeno; imagistic poetry in the juxtaposition of the unfamiliar by Charles Forbes, James Runner, and Robin Shirley; syllabic organization in the haiku of Margaret Chisman, Robert Gaskins, and John Morris; and the imposition of order on disorder in the poems of Marie Borroff, Pete Kilgannon, and Louis Milic. From all of these varied efforts a new convention has already arisen that allows poets like Edwin Morgan the scope to simulate computer poetry without recourse to the machine.

The Potagannissing Press takes pleasure in the publication of the following collection of poems, an edition of computer-assisted literary works executed in Britain, Canada, and the United States.

The occasion for its publication was a symposium on the computer in the arts held at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in May 1973, an event sponsored by the Academy, the Bloomfield Art Association, Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Michigan, with the support of the Michigan Council for the Arts.” (from the preface)

Publisher Potagannissing Press, Drummond Island, MI, 1973
53 pages
via xfoml

Commentary: Matteo D’Ambrosio (Matlit, 2018).

WorldCat

PDF (7 MB, page warble is due to the book copy’s poor condition)
Internet Archive

Gary Westfahl: William Gibson (2013)

14 February 2019, dusan

“The leading figure in the development of cyberpunk, William Gibson (born in 1948) crafted works in which isolated humans explored near-future worlds of ubiquitous and intrusive computer technology and cybernetics. This volume is the first comprehensive examination of the author of the seminal novel Neuromancer (and the other books in the Sprawl trilogy, Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive), as well as other acclaimed novels including Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, and Zero History. Gary Westfahl draws upon extensive research to provide a compelling account of Gibson’s writing career and his lasting influence in the science fiction world.

Delving into numerous science fiction fanzines that the young Gibson contributed to and edited, Westfahl delivers new information about Gibson’s childhood and adolescence. He describes for the first time more than eighty virtually unknown Gibson publications from his early years, including articles, reviews, poems, cartoons, letters, and a collaborative story. The book also documents the poems, articles, and introductions that Gibson has written for various books, and its discussions are enriched by illuminating comments from various print and online interviews. The works that made Gibson famous are also featured, as Westfahl performs extended analyses of Gibson’s ten novels and nineteen short stories. Lastly, the book presents a new interview with Gibson in which the author discusses his correspondence with author Fritz Leiber, his relationship with the late scholar Susan Wood, his attitudes toward critics, his overall impact on the field of science fiction, and his recently completed screenplay and forthcoming novel.”

Publisher University of Illinois Press, Urbana, IL 2013
Modern Masters of Science Fiction series
ISBN 9780252037801, 0252037804
xi+210 pages
via jl

Reviews: Benjamin Gabriel (Strange Horizons, 2013), D. Harlan Wilson (Extrapolation, 2013), Michael M. Levy (Science Fiction Studies, 2014), Lars Schmeink (Journal for the Fantastic in the Arts, 2014).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (43 MB)