Blanche Howard's Dreaming in a Digital World (2010)

Dreaming in a Digital World - Blanche Howard

It’s the 1980’s and Genevieve Varley is a computer scientist looking back on a critical period in her life.


Having found herself out of work, she listed the following as essential technological elements for her success: “a cacheable 32MB main memory and a 256KB cache memory, (that was a lot, back then) as well as a few MBs of expanded memory, pentium chip preferably, but at least the Intel 80486”.


But what she needed just as much was the support of another working woman, who recognized that women belonged in the digital age as much as men.


Much like the list of hardware, the novel feels one step removed and while the story takes a fable-like turn (which I liked), it might have found a wider readership if it had drawn parallels with the digital world today (which hasn’t changed as much as Genevieve would have hoped).


Nonetheless, those who first “met” the author via her writing with Carol Shields (their novel and letters), will be pleased to learn that she was still publishing in her 80s.


This review first appeared on BuriedInPrint.