I’ve now completed the first two chapters of my new book and have almost finished the first draft of Chapter 3. The working title is The Story of the Robot: A Short History of Automation and Robotics. As the title indicates, this will be a shorter book than The Story of the Computer, with 8 chapters planned instead of 13 and a relatively svelte estimated word count of around 80,000 words in contrast to the massive 235,000 words of my first book.
There are a couple of reasons for this:-
- The only real criticism of The Story of the Computer concerned its length which appears to have daunted some readers and scared off at least one potential publisher. The book had to be long in order to cover the multiple development paths and competing technologies adequately, and would have been even longer if I had not decided to omit planned chapters on supercomputers and portable computing. Fortunately, the subject of the new book is less convoluted and can be covered in a much more straightforward way.
- With over 500 pages of text in The Story of the Computer, I could only include a relatively small number of illustrations otherwise the total number of pages would have become unmanageable. This was frustrating, as certain sections of the book would have benefitted from the addition of some carefully chosen images. Having less text in the new book affords me the luxury of including as many illustrations as I like without worrying about the overall number of pages, although it will be a challenge to find sufficient good quality images in a subject area that is much less well represented online than the history of the computer.
Progress with the new book has been steady but slower than I’d have liked (due mainly to a lack of discipline on my part!). Nevertheless, Chapter 3 should be finished by the end of this month and I’ll aim to increase the pace in the New Year to get back on track for completion of the book before the end of 2021.