The Future Was Here: The Commodore Amiga

23 Apr

As has been something of an open secret for quite a while now, I wrote a book. It’s called The Future Was Here: The Commodore Amiga, it’s published by the MIT Press, and now it’s shipping at last.

As the name would imply, my book is a history of the Amiga, a computing platform that pioneered much of the digital world of today. Indeed, my central thesis is that the Amiga represents the world’s first true multimedia personal computer. Much of the book is devoted to working out the implications of that claim.

One thing I wanted to do with the book, as with this blog, was to not neglect the technology in writing technological history. To understand what allowed the Amiga to, say, pioneer the field of desktop video (something that has become so ubiquitous in this era of YouTube that, like “desktop publishing,” the term has ceased to be a useful signifier), one has to understand a bit about its design, even about how the Amiga got its picture to the screen and how this differed from other contemporary computers. So, and while I don’t neglect culture and sociology, I do delve quite deeply into the inner workings of the machine. At the same time, I keep the jargon to a minimum and, when I do indulge, make it a point to explain it carefully beforehand. I thoroughly believe that any patient and interested reader is capable of understanding this stuff if the author just shows a little bit of care, and that’s the assumption that guided me throughout the writing. In other words: no computer science degrees are required. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I think many of you who enjoy this blog will also enjoy the book — even if only one chapter deals directly with games. (Hey, at least it’s one of the longest ones…)

Again as I do on this blog, I wanted to encourage active reading, to encourage you to go out and explore some of this technology and art for yourselves. With that in mind, I’ve created a website for the book that hosts a fair amount of content. The book itself can of course be purchased from many fine bookstores, online or brick and mortar.

Oh, and sorry things have been a little quiet with the blog lately. I should have some more stuff for you within a day or three.



5 Responses to The Future Was Here: The Commodore Amiga

  1. Derek

    April 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    AWESOME. Congratulations on the release! I’ve been following this blog for a while but had no idea about the book. :-) I’m so pleased that someone who can write (i.e., _not_ Brian Bagnall) has taken on the task of writing a book about Commodore and the Amiga.

    Ordering now…

  2. Geoff

    April 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Excellent – just pre-ordered my copy for Kindle. I’ve read one other book in the Platform Studies series from MIT Press, and I’m sure this will be an excellent addition. Congratulations!

  3. Captain Rufus

    April 24, 2012 at 1:02 am

    If I can wishlist this from Amazon or get it at Books a Million I am SOOO on this book. Ill buy it ASAP! Love the Amiga and it will make a good companion book to “On the Edge”.

  4. gnome

    April 24, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Excellent! I’ll grab and review it immediately!

  5. alan e robinson

    June 9, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    This book is truly excellent. I’m sad the rest of the platform studies books didn’t live up this this standard. What I truly love about it is how deeply it delves into the technical details of why the amiga was both great and in the end fundamentally flawed. I’ve yet to see another book on any other computer that really has the excellent technical coverage that this book does while still being accessible.


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