The adorable and witty Genevieve Varley greets the 1980s with a freshly minted Ph.D in computer science. To her joy, she has landed a job as a computer programmer in a mid-size west coast city. No geek, she has ambitions for both a career and love. The modules of her life – parents, lovers, mentors, girlfriends – make for a delightful romp that recalls the explosive era when computers were in their adolescence and the women’s movement was ripening—but not fast enough.
Virginal in the ways of office politics, Gen is shocked that her boss has taken credit for her work. She learns that her boyfriend Darryl has been leading a secret life. And Cupid’s arrow has pierced Gen’s heart when she falls for a married co-worker whom she has passed on the career ladder.
It is a sad, funny, poignant affair, which reduces Gen to spying on his wife and family. Aiding Gen is her best friend, the lovely Linda, a secretary at the company who is wise in office machinations and in the ways of men. A senior woman at the company is a cautionary role model, but in a surprise ending turns out to be as much fairy godmother as mentor. With encouragement from these allies, Gen pursues combining artificial intelligence with human emotions, of uniting rationality with feeling – in life and work.
Readers’ Reviews for Dreaming in a Digital World:
“This book was enjoyable and had a lot going for it. It felt modern and yet dated at the same time, showing the vast distance between the period when computers were new, and huge, and a 486 was top of the line and today, when we take this all for granted and expect the power from our smart phones that used to exist only in a computer that took up a whole floor of an office building.” – The Indextrious Reader Blog
“Once I began I couldn’t put it down! A fast paced story of romance, computers, deceit and office politics. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has been a female working with computers in an office environment during the 80’s! I could see glimpses of myself, past bosses and co-workers in this book.” – Bonnie Small
“Delightful, funny, deep — Dreaming in a Digital World is filled with unique insights, wisdom, humour, and passion of a surprising sort. How deeply should one become involved with one’s computer system? What happens when the “unconscious” decides to take over one’s life via the “unsocial networking” site of our dreams? All in all a delicious and fascinating adventure that leaves the reader wiser about many things.” – Barbara Lambert
“I devoured this book in a day and a half. Romance, drama and mystery are woven together in a story that explores computers, 1980s sexism, and dreaming (in its many forms). 30-somethings, especially women, may find hints of themselves in the characters and their situations. As humourous and disturbing as these moments were for me, by the end, I felt hopeful.” – S Loyer
Read or write a review for Dreaming in a Digital World on Goodreads here.
Praise for Penelope’s Way:
“A great read…Penelope’s Way moves along at quite a clip with its layered stories and curious characters; although it was most satisfying, I found it ended far too soon. So I’ll read it again. Soon.” The Globe and Mail
“This novel spirals in a beautiful whirl of both cosmic and earthly concerns. A whole world held up to the light – love, lust, family, friendship, Time, Chaos, potluck dinners – all the good stuff is there.” – Eliza Clark
“[S]upremely rewarding…Howard’s narrative literally takes off, vanquishing doom with one joyful, defiant blast of pure energy.” The Toronto Star
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