RIP, Kevin O’Donnell, Jr – “ORA:CLE” and why you should read this book

This already got covered on Boing-Boing but Kevin O’Donnell, Jr died last week.

He wrote a book which I found particularly formative and frankly until I read Snow Crash I did not encounter a peer for it in terms of writing that resonated with how I thought The Net – which is what we called it back then – would become.

It’s still right up there – he was describing social-media-like networks of communication, peer-to-peer communications, agent-based software and dynamic code, services which answer questions for pay not unlike Amazon Mechanical Turk, greenhouse gases, an sentient AI Google-alike, skinny wispy-bearded hackers who can only sleep in cupboards, an urgent threat to liberty (in this case terror from an invasion of alien big-game hunters) and political reaction trying to lead to censorship of the net… and a happy ending.

All written in 1983. Older, better, and more plausible than Neuromancer cyber-trash.

ORA:CLE – Opinions Research Advice : Computer Linked Experts

#Many thanks, Kevin#

2 thoughts on “RIP, Kevin O’Donnell, Jr – “ORA:CLE” and why you should read this book

  1. Guido David Núñez-Mujica

    Thanks a lot for this post. I am younger, my background and career are quite different to yours, from what I can see, yet, I feel exactly the way you do about ORA:CLE (And about Neuromancer).
    I found this book around 2003-2004, but I had looked for it for years, and I just loved it when I read it. It really blew my mind how accurate he got things (even more these days), but also how he managed to create an interesting plot in such a limited environment.

    Also: The happy ending was a realistic one, where intelligence and collective wisdom save the day, but at a price, with consequences.

    Reply

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