Neal Stephenson in front of Amazon's Fiona building
Shape of things to come

The Kindle’s wink to Fiona

Robin Sloan:

If you own one of Amazon’s e-readers, there’s a good chance you’ve accessed the “Manage Your Kindle” page at some point.

fiona in the Amazon URL

Do you notice anything strange about that URL? What’s fiona? An acronym, perhaps. Functional… Internet-Oriented… Native… Application? File I/O Network Access?

No. It’s not a what but a who.

Fiona Hackworth is character in The Diamond Age, a science fiction novel written by Neal Stephenson, published in 1992 with a plot that hinges on the theft of a kind of super-book.

A super-book that is engrossing, interactive, networked; with pages that change before your eyes; that knows more or less everything.

A science-fictional object that served as the lodestone for Amazon’s efforts, in the early 2000s, to develop an e-reader.

On Amazon’s campus in Seattle, many buildings are named for company concepts and codename. Neal Stephenson visited one.

The Kindle wink is a piece written by a collective publishing on Medium as The Message.


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