In a recent seminar about word processors, I suggested to my students that developing clear ideas about electronics might be as difficult for us as it would have been for Europeans in the 1490s to predict the consequences of movable type. The analogy is imperfect, but if computers prove as transformative as they seem, we have hardly begun to glimpse their effects. For this reason, perhaps, these four books do not squabble over well-covered territory but open less familiar questions about language and technology. Together these authors investigate the new kinds of figural thinking that electronics occasion—how they alter the meanings of terms like writing or network. Regardless of their basis in technical fact, these emerging technological figures profoundly influence literary production, reading habits, and social life. These books avoid either reducing such figural complexities to media-theoretical truisms or surrendering them...

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