The first book to be written on a word-processor?


The story behind Bomber is a kind of techno-thriller in its own right, a story about the emergence of a new kind of text, a technotext, mediated not by computer software but by a sophisticated electro-mechanical device for storing and manipulating written words. Yet just as Bomber broke new ground with its complicated portrayals of characters on both sides of the Channel, so too is the story behind the book one of more complex kinds of relationships. The historical coincidence with Steinhilper is one. Another is the role of Handley, the woman who actually operated the MTST as part of an intense collaborative system for producing, organizing, and revising the prose of the novel. The words of this groundbreaking technotext indisputably belong to its author, Len Deighton. But the hands on the high-tech machine that processed them—a true literary first for English literature—belonged to Ms. Ellenor Handley, she who had once “felt very much a part of the process and grew with the book.”

Source: The Slate.


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