William Gibson's 'Neurotyper'

Hermes 2000 typewriter

William Gibson, according to his blog, wrote Neuromancer, the first of his ‘Sprawl Trlogy’ on a hand-me-down Hermes 2000 typewriter like the one pictured above. Gibson had never owned a computer at the time he wrote the first of his seminal cyberpunk novels. My classmate Sandy Frazier, another very capable writer, has famously never owned a computer – he continues to use typewriters, mainly used Olympias (as I recall).

Gibson also points to the Steampunk Typewriter, which looks like someting out of The Difference Engine, which he co-wrote with Bruce Sterling. I remember reading that Gibson saw an Apple IIc ad on a billboard while waiting for a bus in San Francisco. The very concept, a portable computer, was all he needed to project the whole world of Neuromancer, Mona Lisa Overdrive and Count Zero


About Chris Gulker

Chris Gulker, a self-described Infuential Blogger, lived in Menlo Park, California with spouse Linda. He passed away in late October 2010.
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4 Responses to William Gibson's 'Neurotyper'

  1. pauldwaite says:

    I saw an old-fashioned typewriter for £5 in a charity shop just outside Edinburgh. Unfortunately, the shop was closed. Given that there are guys who can turn an old rotary phone into a cell phone (http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=286), I wondered whether something like this could be made into a keyboard. Might have some issues figuring out how to simulate the Apple key though.

  2. cg says:

    Apparently, the steampunk machine actually works… I had an experience 10 years ago when I was lecturing a computer graphics class at Cal Poly: I started by saying ‘Remember the typewriter?’ I got 40 blank stares for a response…

  3. gfbird says:

    Ah, the hauntings of nostalgia . . .

    On the other hand (as opposed to hands and fingers slamming short-stroke hard-bottom keys), there is the issue of repetitive stain injury, which I don’t recall being associated with these mechanical systems.

    For typewriter aficionados, we have an Olivetti-Underwood Studio 44 with beautiful italicized type that I haven’t seen on TrueType – and a son who used it to submit some college applications. How’s that for contrarian!

  4. gfbird says:

    Once again, gulker.com seems ahead of some of the news:


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