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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » 1977/84 "The Nets", 2005 "The Internet"

Author Topic: 1977/84 "The Nets", 2005 "The Internet"
Kaylo Epsilon
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The first few times I read Ender's Game, I never paid much attention to when the short or the novel were actually written. Only recently have I made the connection that Fidonet wasn't even developed until 1984. My, the things I take for granted now.

Looking at the 1977 short, I don't see much to do with The Nets, while it's very relevant to Peter and Valentine's activities in the 1985 novel. I infer that the concepts were added in sometime in that span, and probably not right at the beginning.

What I'd really like to know is, at the time of the introduction of The Nets to Ender's Game (with all their internet-like anonymity, lack of anonymity (speeling erurs), blogging, and pervasiveness) what was the state of real-world networking? And more specifically, OSC's familiarity therewith.

(Or, in other words, it it cool how OSC extrapolated from the things he was seeing at the time to how people could come to deal with them, or is it really cool how he imagined what the technology could do without even being familiar with it, and done the above cool extrapolation?)

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Eric Palmatier
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Let's see...

ARPANET (early Internet) had e-mail (at least, an early variation of it) by '77. The Usenet came up in '79, and Usenet newsgroups would have been the biggest thing in message forums by '85. BITNET was up and running in the early 80s, so that would have been around and available in some educational outlets. FidoNet had a couple dozen or more nodes by the end of '84, but was very awkward and fairly small when compared to the educational and governmental systems of the day. There would have been some buzz about networking as it was known in those days, but mostly within computing circles. My own parents were working for IBM at that time and knew nothing of the networks except that there were networks out there.

I've wondered for some time about OSC's involvement with Compute, as well as his knowledge of early computer systems. I've never quite figured out what he was going to be doing for the magazine. Obviously, I can assume he was writing or editing, but I wonder how much of the computer industry he was familiar with at that time, and if that could be where he found the idea for the Nets introduced in Ender's Game.

If anything, I find it quite a coincidence (or a damned good prediction) that OSC had the Nets with such importance in EG. Look at us right now, regular people the lot of us, posting messages on the Internet in discussion forums. You have to remember, in those days, only engineers, scientists, educators, and computer enthousiasts (all the founding fathers of computer geekdom) were involved in any of this. It was assumed, at least up until about '95 in most of the circles I frequented, that this stuff would always be in the hands of "computer geeks." Sure, there we some "regular people" who found their way into computing all the time, but now there are more "regular people" than "computer geeks" in the computing world. A remote idea in the 60s, 70s, and 80s - even the early 90s.

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Definitely a good point. I just think OSC is psychic [Wink]
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