Claire L. Evans, Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet (Penguin Random House)
f music fans find the author’s name familiar, it’s most likely because Evans is the lead singer of Yacht, the Portland dance-pop band whose most recent full-length album was called I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler
. Evans obviously would think that, having written extensively about technology and served as Futures Editor for Vice’s tech site Motherboard
. Here, over the course of a few hundred well-researched pages, she uncovers a hidden history of female tech pioneers that dates back to 1842, when Lord Byron’s daughter Ada Lovelace created the first program for a mechanical computer. Other standout pioneers include Jaime Levy, the author, professor and self-proclaimed “biggest bitch in Silicon Valley” who created the floppy-disc magazine Word
and earned an online following with her posts under the pseudonym “Kurt’s Brain” (a nihilist reference to the suicide of her rock idol and fellow latchkey kid Kurt Cobain). For fans of technology, feminism and/or good writing, Broad Band
is a useful history of a past that, unlike the future, couldn’t be cooler.