We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.co.uk/access.
Electronic Dreams Audiobook

Electronic Dreams: How 1980s Britain Learned to Love the Computer

Regular Price:£24.19
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • £7.99/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Remember the ZX Spectrum? Ever have a go at programming with its stretchy rubber keys? Did you marvel at the immense galaxies of Elite on the BBC Micro or lose yourself in the surreal caverns of Manic Miner on the ZX Spectrum? For anyone who was a kid in the 1980s, these iconic computer brands are the stuff of legend.

In Electronic Dreams, Tom Lean tells the story of how computers invaded British homes for the first time, as people set aside their worries of electronic brains and Big Brother and embraced the wonder technology of the 1980s. This book charts the history of the rise and fall of the home computer, the family of futuristic and quirky machines that took computing from the realm of science and science fiction to being a user-friendly domestic technology. It is a tale of unexpected consequences, when the machines that parents bought to help their kids with homework ended up giving birth to the video games industry, and of unrealized ambitions, like the ahead-of-its-time Prestel network that first put the British home online but failed to change the world. Ultimately, it's the story of the people who made the boom happen, the inventors and entrepreneurs, like Clive Sinclair and Alan Sugar, seeking new markets, bedroom programmers and computer hackers and the millions of everyday folk who bought in to the electronic dream and let the computer into their lives.

©2016 Tom Lean (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (92 )
5 star
 (56)
4 star
 (32)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Overall
4.6 (86 )
5 star
 (54)
4 star
 (28)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.6 (87 )
5 star
 (57)
4 star
 (27)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Ash Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom 18/05/2016
    Ash Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom 18/05/2016 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    117
    24
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Full of nostalgic enthusiasm."

    If you grew up through the personal computer revolution you'll get a lot of nostalgic kicks and some great information, if you're new to the history this book is written (and read) with such enthusiasm that you'll get a taste of what it was like it be there.

    Truly an inspiring tale and the best thing is - it's all true!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Richard Long 29/09/2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "That's my history"

    I started on ICL mainframes, but as soon as personal computers appeared, I had to have one (many). The commercial machines that I worked on changed as did the personal ones now I have 4 models of Raspberry Pi. This book tells the story of my progression and I suspect, many other enthusiasts I recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    "geordiemoozy" 28/06/2017
    "geordiemoozy" 28/06/2017 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    25
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "So so treatment, misses a trick"

    This is a part of 'history' that, as a child of the time, I find fascinating and so I was keen to listen. Everything is covered in detail but I did think it was a bit of a labour at times. I would have liked more about the games, which is promised in the early part of the book but then seemed to be skimmed over later. The story of the hardware is just not that interesting in the end, but if the hardware story is what you are after try and get the video 'Triumph of the Nerds' which covers similar things in a more engaging way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A P Smith 24/02/2017
    A P Smith 24/02/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    37
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Comprehensive and enjoyable nostalgia trip"

    Incredibly thorough history of the home computer in Britain. While listening a couple of times I thought 'hold why hasn't he mentioned X'? Then the next chapter would cover that very topic in detail!

    Makes the point that whilst home computers were originally conceive primary as educational and 'tinkerers' devices it was gaming that proved to be the 'killer app'.

    Anyone who nostalgically remembers owning the mighty ZX Spectrum (or even one of its inferior competitors) will find this walk down memory lane a compelling listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jdb 11/01/2017
    jdb 11/01/2017 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good history of the British Microcomputer revolution"

    The book is a good summary of the key events and people involved in the British Microcomputer revolution of the 70's and 80's. It is a must listen for anyone with nostalgia of the beginnings of personal computers and anyone who played Granny's Garden on a BBC at school.

    The performance is fairly dry and can be a little repetitive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. J. I. Mahoney home 14/12/2016
    Mr. J. I. Mahoney home 14/12/2016 Member Since 2017
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow burner"

    The first half of the book is very slow but the second half really ramps up as it centres more on the sectors move to gaming.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Jarrett 05/12/2016
    Peter Jarrett 05/12/2016 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great book, very well written, superbly read!"

    This book brought back a great number of fantastic memories of growing up with the BBC Micro in the 1980s - not to mention the war with Amiga and spectrum owners!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J Welch 06/11/2016
    J Welch 06/11/2016 Listener Since 2007
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "If you grew up in the 80s"

    If like me you grew up in the 80s this was just bringing back memory after memory. Really fascinating to find out what was going on behind the scene

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Johnny
    FAYETTEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, United States
    28/09/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Awesome outline of electronic history"

    I love this book. The content is excellent, offering a very clean and easy to follow timeline of the development of computers both from a technological perspective and an economic one, without getting dry or boring at all. The narrator is easy to listen to and really lets you focus on the story without any distraction. I enjoy the history of computers as a subject and out of the books I've read and listened to this is my favorite one in both regards.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.