Praise for POSSIPLEX, Ted Nelson’s New Book

Ted T. Nelson (2010), POSSIPLEX: Movies, Intellect, Creative Control, My Computer Life and the Fight for Civilization

Ted Nelson at the OII

A number of events are being held to launch Ted Nelson’s new book. One is at The San Jose Tech Museum on 6 October 2010, and at the Internet Archive on Oct 8. Please use the comments to add other events, and I’ll post them.

Early praise for the book, includes:

“It is a rip roaring read.” — Wendy Hall, most recent president of the ACM

“It is compelling reading.” Maurice G. Eldridge, vice president, Swarthmore College

“I read it in one non-stop surge because I couldn’t put it down. Like its author, it’s fascinating, brilliant, and crazy. … The book will be a winner. And Xanadu will come.” — James Burke, author/presenter of “Connections” and “The Day the Universe Changed”

“I love the way it’s formatted and the tasty anecdotes and memory flashes.” — Rudy Rucker, author of The Ware Tetralogy

“This is a wonderful roundup of [Nelson’s] life and work – it pulls together and extends the innovative ideas [Nelson has] been developing over the decades. … Brilliant.” — William Dutton, Director, Oxford Internet Institute

“Ted Nelson needs to set the record straight because the record is absurdly bent. This is not the 21st Century I signed up for. … The future of computing has been short-changed by the short-sighted. This is the story of the man who tried to prevent it. … The “eppur si muove”* of the Internet Era.* … This is an uncommonly rare autobiography: as much about the future as the past. If you feel like someone pulled the Web over your eyes — read this book! … A commendable story and a great read — I laughed aloud at many points (to the consternation of my fellow passengers).” — Daniel de Segovia Gross *Eppur si muove, and yet it turns — Galileo’s (apocryphal) remark after being forced to renounce heliocentrism by the Inquisition.

“This is [Nelson’s] story, warts and all. It explains what he foresaw, what he wanted to do, what mistakes he made, and what mistakes he didn’t make. He sets the record straight, saying what he did when and what he didn’t do when. … He writes about not suffering fools gladly. He recounts how his anger led him to burn bridges he might have crossed, so that he missed out on many potential opportunities. … The book is a fascinating read, like a wonderful novel that one cannot put down, but it is fact, not fiction!” –Gilbert Harman, Department of Philosophy, Princeton University


“A truly first-class mind … one of the dozen or so most brilliant people I’ve met in a lifetime of hanging out with geniuses and the highly gifted” Eric Raymond, Open Software Initiative

“Tesla:Electricity = Nelson:Digital. … All of the web is in essence a pale shadow of just one of Ted Nelson’s dreams. Now do I have your attention?…” — Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus

“Nelson is a lovable genius and a wonderful writer. … He has been a man of the hour mistaken for a man ahead of his time. … For over 50 years Nelson has been making brilliant discoveries, largely unknown except to a few. Ted Nelson is increasingly recognized as a creative genius, with truly original important ideas … He has been a mad genius; “mad” meaning angry rather than insane.” –Gilbert Harman, Department of Philosophy, Princeton University

“The word “visionary” gets thrown around quite a bit when one talks about computers and the Internet: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos … all visionaries. And then you read [Computer Lib], which originally appeared in the 1970s, based on ideas Nelson developed in the 1960s, and you discover what visionary really means.” — John Harris Stevenson (“tranquileye”), Ottawa, on Amazon

“Ted Nelson is the Bucky Fuller of software.” — Bill Duvall, PARC veteran and veteran of the Engelbart group

“Ted Nelson is the Thomas Paine of the Information Revolution.” — Stewart Brand, creator of the Whole Earth Catalog

“A thoughtful, brilliant rebel.” — Tom Bradley

“About three weeks ago… I landed on some work by Mr. Nelson. I was astounded by the brilliance of his work. … In some of Mr. Nelson’s ideas, I see a far better world than the one I live in today.” — Kenneth Stein

“Ted Nelson is the One True Prophet, unencumbered, riding a unicycle with a clipboard in one hand, leading us to the biggest of Big Tents. There’s still time, brother!” –Rudy Rucker, author of The Ware Tetralogy.

“I can’t help but think that his conceptions for organizing information… has much to do with … his need to attempt to gain some measure of control of his hyperawareness.” — Mark Federman

“Nelson had a singular, coherent vision, wherein the method used to link and interconnect digital information was a natural extension of the way that digital information was stored. His attempts to realize this vision have been quixotic. His defense of his point of view has been impassioned, righteous and aggressive. In short, the delivery of the ideas was not optimized for the marketplace. But its failure in the marketplace doesn’t make the idea any less elegant, nor any less right. … Xanadu would offer systemic, structural protections against the misuse of intellectual property; against the loss of knowledge; and against certain “Orwellian” manipulations of historical data.” — Daniel de Segovia Gross

“Nelson’s work is monumental, giving hope and confidence to a generation of developers and entrepreneurs who made a huge difference.” — Dave Winer

ABOUT ‘COMPUTER LIB’ (Nelson’s 1974 book, often called a “classic”):
“Computer Lib literally changed my life, made me feel like I was not crazy to be more interested in computers for what they could do with text and documents than record keeping, and set me in the direction my professional life followed.” — Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus

“Ted Nelson has given us a vision. The vision, and this book itself describe a paradox: quaint and futuristic at the same time. … it’s easy to pick up and read at any point. Bring it back in print so more can enjoy it! This author coined the term “hypertext”, and describes a universe slightly parallel to ours, where the WorldWideWeb is known as Xanadu, where electronic documents are linked and not embedded; where authors could receive monetary credit for citations or purchases. … I still fondle it often. It’s one of those books that get stolen from your bookshelf, or you leave on the table for months. I find the author can explain computer science and computer graphics in simple, fun terms. This book is a classic computer book, and it explains the wonder and the pleasure that some people get from computers in a wildly creative way. It’s a love story, it’s a “punk hacker” story, it’s a tragedy. … Not everyone will agree with Ted Nelson, but I think this is a great book.”
— “A Customer” at Amazon

— Theodor Holm Nelson PhD Founder of computer hypertext, 1960 Fifty years fighting for a better world of rich parallel documents, visibly connected. . Visiting Professor of Electronics and Computer Science University of Southampton, UK.

2 thoughts on “Praise for POSSIPLEX, Ted Nelson’s New Book

  1. Hi Bill,
    How does Ted Nelson define OII’s and your ‘Fifth Estate’?
    What is his vision of it?
    How does he describe where The Fifth Estate is today?
    Oxford Internet Institute’s decade brings us to a grounding of collaborative network organizations, a sharing of free and paid content on a sometimes level playing field and in a sometimes social accountability way for entities.
    To our page:
    can we add a focused Fifth Estate blog or contained links to Fifth Estate related content such as Unesco freedom of expression research. Over the past 2 years, I have done some of this gathering and am happy to contribute.
    Best Regards,
    June Klein, CEO Technology & Marketing Ventures, Inc.

    • June, I think your idea of adding a blog to the 5th Estate page is great. It should have more capability to capture reactions to our work. Thanks for your continued support, Bill

Comments are most welcome