Picks and Pans Review: Electronic Life: How to Think About Computers

updated 11/07/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/07/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Michael Crichton

Crichton threatens to give computer nerds a bad name with this nonfiction book. The author of The Terminal Man has written a treatise on terminals of the computer variety, filling it with opinions nobody asked for. For example, he complains about the term "computer literacy," suggesting "computer competence" should be used instead. Just what the world needs: faction fights over computer jargon. The book is organized oddly; Crichton uses alphabetical headings but has to stretch to fit them, writing his sermonettes under such titles as "Anatomy, Computer" and "Dog, Feeding the" (a computer can't). Even Crichton, who has used computers for 20 years but has no formal training on the subject, eventually runs out of opinions, so he fills out the book with lists of computer programs (not exciting reading) and an incomplete glossary. If you're thinking about buying a computer, try a book by Peter A. McWilliams. This one, instead of being informing and comforting, is only confusing. (Knopf, $13.95)

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