Computer Lib / Dream Machines

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Computer Lib / Dream Machines
Computer lib.png
Computer Lib / Dream Machines cover
Format Print (Paperback)
Author Ted Nelson
Publisher Self-published (1st ed.), Tempus Books/Microsoft Press (2nd ed.)
Origin USA
Language English
Publication Date 1974 (1st ed.), 1987 (2nd ed.)
Topics Computers, Personal computers
Follows NA
Precedes NA
Associated Publications Literary Machines, Whole Earth Catalog
Website NA

Computer Lib is a 1974 book by Ted Nelson, originally published by Nelson himself, and packaged with Dream Machines, another book by Nelson. The book had two front covers to indicate its intertwined nature, and was republished with a foreword by Stewart Brand in 1987 by Microsoft Press, Computer Lib, subtitled "You can and must understand computers NOW," was influenced by Brand's Whole Earth Catalog.

Nelson's book is a spirited manifesto that inspired a generation of DIY computer-lovers. In his book Tools for Thought, Howard Rheingold calls Computer Lib "the best-selling underground manifesto of the microcomputer revolution." Published prior to the release of the Altair 8800, Computer Lib is considered the first book about the personal computer.


Nelson writes passionately about the need for people to understand computers deeply, more deeply than was generally promoted as computer literacy, which he considers a superficial kind of familiarity with particular hardware and software. His rallying cry "Down with Cybercrud" is against the centralization of computers such as that performed by IBM at the time, as well as against what he sees as the intentional untruths that "computer people" tell to non-computer people to keep them from understanding computers. In Dream Machines, Nelson covers the flexible media potential of the computer, which was shockingly new at the time.


Both the 1974 and 1987 editions have an unconventional layout, with two front covers (one for Computer Lib and the other for Dream Machines) and the division between the two books marked by text (for the other side) rotated 180°. The text itself is broken up into many sections, with simulated pull-quotes, comics, side bars, etc., similar to a magazine layout.


Book User Link Notes
Computer Lib / Dream Machines (First Edition, 1974) N/A
Computer Lib / Dream Machines (First Edition, 1974) Famicoman (DARK) Rescan, done 2014-06-05
Computer Lib / Dream Machines (First Edition, 1974) Famicoman (DARK) Two scans of this edition included
Computer Lib / Dream Machines (Second Edition, 1987)

External Links

DigiBarn - Computer Lib / Dream Machines