Books

The On-Line Handbook

The On-Line Handbook (1984)

The Internet was born in 1983 – the year that saw the adoption of TCP/IP, the communications protocol that defines the Internet to this day.

In the same year, Ray Hammond wrote The On-Line Handbook – the world’s first book to identify the coming importance of the Internet and to identify ‘search’ as the key driving force behind all future on-line advertising and digital commerce. It was published globally by Fontana Books in May 1984.

More...

“Once you’ve discovered on-line searching, you’ll realize that we’ve finally solved the problem that has been weighing us down for most of this century; how to access information.

Now, information , so long static and locked up in old papers, books, magazines and broadcast tapes, can be sorted, ordered, filed and retrieved so as to produce the right information, at the right time, in an instant.”

The On-Line Handbook, 1984

Digital Business

Digital Business (1996)

Digital Business: Surviving and Thriving In An On-Line World was an instant success when it was first published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1996. The hardback shot to the top of UK best-seller lists and the book was immediately translated for Japanese and Chinese editions (both authorised and pirated).

The book was a long-awaited follow-up to Ray Hammond’s 1984 volume, The On-Line Handbook, and it described how internet commerce had grown in the intervening twelve years, and how it was likely to grow in the future.

Download PDF version

More...

It is impossible to over-estimate how much the Net will alter life in the developed countries of the world. Every aspect of life will change for all but the most severely socially disadvantaged and within a decade, they too will start to feel its effect.

It is not enough to think about individuals or individual computers linking via the networks. Humans don’t have to be involved. Building will talk to building, conurbation to conurbation, dairy farm to milk silo, and video camera to police database.”

Digital Business, Hodder and Stoughton, 1996

Emergence

Emergence (2001)

Emergence is a futuristic thriller that explores the concept of the spontaneous emergence of strong artificial intelligence in the internet and connected networks.

Set in 2036, the thesis of the novel is that consciousness arises automatically when sufficient processing and analytical power is inter-connected. The question is, how would humankind cope with a distributed intelligence orders of magnitude greater than human cognition?

Published globally in hardback by Macmillan in 2001, a paperback edition was published in January 2002.

Download PDF version

More...

“After decades of continuous investment in virtual technologies, the world had become totally reliant on the vast web of fiber-optic cables, wireless networks and satellite chains which, each day, created an ever more dense matrix around the planet.  Almost every aspect of government, business and social life raced through the man-made digital cosmos at the speed of light. Everything sensitive, controversial or financial was scrambled by super-strong security techniques that were unbreakable even by the largest network of optical super-computers. It was a safe, trustworthy and instant domain.”

Emergence, 2001

The Cloud

The Cloud (2006)

The Cloud is a futuristic thriller set in 2050 which imagines how humanity might respond if firm contact were made with an alien life form.

The title of the novel refers to the physical shape taken by the newly-identified alien entity as it rushes through space on a collision course with Earth.

But, by 2050, planet Earth has highly sophisticated A.I. entities to protect the planet. Will the alien intelligence prove friendly, or will humankind need to protect itself? Published by Macmillan in 2006

Download PDF version

More...

“When it finally came, the alien contact was so weak, so minuscule among the noises of the great universe, that it was almost overlooked. Had it not been for the success of SETI’s ten-year fund-raising campaign to build a listening post on the far side of the moon, humankind might never have learned that other forms of intelligence exist in the cosmos.”

The Cloud, 2006

Forward 100

Forward 100 (1984)

Forward 100 Logo and Your Child, A New Way of Learning was written as a follow-up to his best-selling, multi-language, multi-edition book Computers and Your Child.

In the 1980’s, there was a strong feeling that children should be taught how to understand computers (rather than the other way around), and Forward 100 provides an historical insight into how this movement developed in the USA and the UK.

The title words “Forward 100” refer to a common instruction in the LOGO computer language, which was popularised for educational use by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Published by Viking/Penguin in 1984.

More...

“It is the astonishing spread of personal computing power that is causing the greatest separation of the West from the Soviet bloc. The imbalance of nuclear arms is the usual factor considered in the context of the balance of power, but either the Soviet Union has not seen the computer revolution coming or, more likely, the rulers have realized that the spread of personal computing power will make their territory ungovernable in the traditional sense.

“Whatever the reason, while the majority of Westerners buy computers and go on-line, creating an electronic matrix around the world, the majority of Soviet citizens have never seen a computer.”

Forward 100, 1984

The Musician and the Micro

The Musician and The Micro (1982)

Before personal computers became PCs, they were known as “Micros” and The Musician and The Micro became the world’s first book to explore how microcomputers were going to change how music was made, composed and recorded.

The book also accurately predicted the pirating of digital recordings and the demise of payments for recorded music.

The Musician and The Micro was also the first book in the UK to be directly typeset from an author’s own word-processed keystrokes. Published by the Blandford Press in 1982

Download PDF version

More...

“In some countries writers are still fighting lending libraries, record companies are still fighting the blank cassette tape, film companies are worried about illegal video-tape copying and so on. But logic would appear to suggest that there is now no protection for any single published piece of creation which is stored electronically and total reward must be sought before publication.”

The Musician and The Micro, 1982

The-World-In-2030

The World In 2030 (2008-2012)

International best-sellerThe World In 2030 has been regularly updated and republished in multiple editions and it serves as an on-going vision of how our lives and our businesses are likely to change between today and 2030.

Covering developments in energy, materials, medicine and digital technology, the book is serves as a primer for all those interested in the changes likely to occur as automation and A.I. disrupt our working lives. It was first published in multiple languages in April 2008 by Editions Yago.

Download PDF version (English)

Download PDF version (Spanish)

More...

“The speed of technological development is accelerating exponentially and, for this reason, by the year 2030 it will seem as if a whole century’s worth of progress has taken place in the first three decades of the 21st century. 

By 2030 it will appear as if a mass of dizzying scientific breakthroughs have suddenly been made simultaneously – in computing, in healthcare, in communications, in wealth generation, in materials performance, in travel and in robotics.”

The World In 2030, 2009-12

The Modern Frankenstein

The Modern Frankenstein (1986)

The Modern Frankenstein – Fiction Becomes Fact was written in 1986 as a companion volume to Ray Hammond’s BBC TV drama, The True Story of Frankenstein and his BBC4 radio play, The Making of Frankenstein (both broadcast November 1986).

Published by The Blandford Press, the book was an unusual mixture of futuristic thought (specifically about the future of human cloning and genetic modification) and a biography of Mary Shelly, the author of the original Gothic horror novel, Frankenstein.

More...

“We have become used to the word ‘computer’ and, indeed, have almost becomes blasé about clever machines. But there is a clear indication that these humble machines are the early manifestations of a new life form, one which is about to make an evolutionary leap. When this occurs it will offer the human race (itself a species undergoing transformation) vast benefits.

“The implication is that we will soon have to learn how to share this planet with a new type of higher intelligence; the thinking computer and its robot relation.”

The Modern Frankenstein, 1986

Extinction

Extinction (2005)

Extinction is a futuristic thriller which explores how climate change may affect the planet 50 years into the future.

Set in 2056, the novel’s story-line imagines that climate change has spiralled out of control and that the world’s rich nations are using geo-engineering techniques to manage their weather – at the cost of the poorest nations who are forced to suffer climate extremes.

First published by Macmillan in 2005, a paperback edition was published in 2006.

Download PDF version

More...

“Michael now had the opportunity to try and improve the lives of millions of the world’s poorest inhabitants – human detritus referred to by the more fortunate as ‘environmental refugees’ – people who had been forced to flee their former homes because of flood, drought or famine.  But the member states of the United Nations still refused to grant these masses any rights to asylum, rights from which so-called ‘political’ emigrants benefited automatically.  These refugees, all victims of extreme global warming, were the ‘unofficials’ that no nation was prepared to welcome onto its shores.”

Extinction, 2005

Computers and Your Child

Computers and Your Child (1983)

Computers and Your Child was the UK’s first book to analyse the role of computers in education, childhood cognitive development and pedagogic psychology.

The book argued the need for a computer on every desk – and in every home. A concept considered revolutionary in the early 1980s.

Published by Century in 1983, the book was an international bestseller and appeared in four separate editions that were translated into eleven languages.  In the USA Ticknor & Fields published a specially researched and revised edition which became a No.1 bestseller in the American non-fiction charts.

More...

“By the time our children are adults, computers will control many aspects of daily life. Few tasks will be undertaken without their assistance, and little that is worthwhile in industry, commerce, leisure and even art will be achieved by us alone.

“Because the impact of the computer threatens to be so far-reaching, it is impossible to predict what sort of society will develop. Some experts proclaim the dawning of a new slave-based society in which food and physical comforts are produced by cheap powerful computer slaves. They suggest that we will spend a lifespan of 200 years or so at leisure, in the comfort of a world in which all our needs are met by machines.”

Computers and Your Child, 1983

The Writer and the Word-Processor

The Writer and the Word Processor (1984)

The Writer and the Word Processor was the world’s first book to describe and explain word-processing for both professional and aspiring authors.

The book featured interviews with Iris Murdoch, Fay Weldon, Kingsley Amis, Dorothy Dunnet, Frederick Forsyth, Tom Sharpe, Ralph Steadman and many other well-known writers. The master story-teller Len Deighton – a pioneer of word-processing since the 1960s – was generous enough to provide both an interview and a foreword.  Published by Coronet in 1984.

More...

“With a computer each part of the writing process can be considered separately. One of the most frustrating parts of writing is trying to find the right opening sentence or paragraph and success of failure in this has a tremendous effect on what follows. Joseph Heller bases all his work on what flows from an opening sentence and Gore Vidal says that the opening sentence is ‘all important.”

The Writer and the Word-Processor, 1984

Book Excerpts

“It is not enough to think about individuals or individual computers linking via the networks. Humans don’t have to be involved. Building will talk to building, conurbation to conurbation, dairy farm to milk silo, and video camera to police database.”

Digital Business, 1996

“Once you’ve discovered on-line searching, you’ll realize that we’ve finally solved the problem that has been weighing us down for most of this century; how to access information.  Now, information , so long static and locked up in old papers, books, magazines and broadcast tapes, can be sorted, ordered, filed and retrieved so as to produce the right information, at the right time, in an instant. Out of selective information comes knowledge, and out of knowledge comes fulfilment and joy.”

The On-Line Handbook, 1984

“The new sciences of genetics and robotics are conspicuously pregnant: one of our deepest cultural neuroses (albeit unarticulated) is that our dominant position on this planet could be usurped.”

The Modern Frankenstein 1986

“By the time our children are adults, computers will control many aspects of daily life. Few tasks will be undertaken without their assistance, and little that is worthwhile in industry, commerce, leisure and even art will be achieved by us alone.”

Computers and Your Child, 1983

“At the end of 1981 home computers were in 500,000 homes across the USA. By the end of 1982 that figure had risen to 1.5 million. A similarly sustained future growth curve would put computers in every home by the end of 1986. Of course, that won’t quite happen, but as prices continue to drop, a high rate of growth will be sustained and the home computer will be as common as the TV set by the end of the decade.”

The Musician And The Micro 1982

The speed of technological development is accelerating exponentially and, for this reason, by the year 2030 it will seem as if a whole century’s worth of progress has taken place in the first three decades of the 21st century.  By 2030 it will appear as if a mass of dizzying scientific breakthroughs have suddenly been made simultaneously – in computing, in healthcare, in communications, in wealth generation, in materials performance (including smart plastics), in travel and in robotics.

The World In 2030, 2007

“In the future an increasing number of publications will be available in both electronic and printed forms.
The advantage the on-line version offers is that it can usually be accessed without taking a subscription to the publication, it can be accessed from the other side of the world, all back issues held on file can be searched for a particular topic instantly and the researcher doesn’t have to leave the comfort of the home or office.”

The On-Line Handbook, 1984

“It is impossible to over-estimate how much the Net (and its descendants and variants, whatever they are or will be called) will alter life in the developed countries of the world. Every aspect of life will change for all but the most severely socially disadvantaged and within a decade, they too will start to feel its effect.”

Digital Business, 1996

“We have become used to the word ‘computer’ and, indeed, have almost becomes blasé about clever machines. But there is a clear indication that these humble machines are the early manifestations of a new life form, one which is about to make an evolutionary leap.”

The Modern Frankenstein, 1986

“In the West, a major thrust of the computer revolution has taken place in tiny free-enterprise ventures, and this massive head start is likely to have very profound effects on the future balance between the world’s main ideologies.”

Forward 100, 1984

“It may seem an astonishing leap of imagination to suggest that our limited personal computers and programmable dishwashers are going to develop into a new species of life, but the information available from the Modern Frankenstein’s engaged in their race to develop the super-computer reveals that their aims are very similar to those of Victor Frankenstein.”

The Modern Frankenstein, 1986

Downloadable PDFs

Digital Driving cover image

Digital Health cover image

The World In 2030

Digital Business