Who first described the world wide web? There have been various suggestions, but I would like to nominate the author C. S. Lewis, who wrote the following in That Hideous Strength, published in 1945. He describes what I see as hyperlinks, without any reference to computers themselves...

  "I agree with James," said Curry, who had been waiting somewhat impatiently to speak. The N.I.C.E. marks the beginning of a new era-the really scientific era. Up to now, everything has been haphazard. This is going to put science itself on a scientific basis. There are to be forty interlocking committees sitting every day and they've got a wonderful gadget - I was shown the model last time I was in town - by which the findings of each committee print themselves off in their own little compartment on the Analytical Notice-Board every half hour. Then, that report slides itself into the right position where it's connected up by little arrows with all the relevant parts of the other reports. A glance at the Board shows you the policy of the whole Institute actually taking shape under your own eyes. There'll be a staff of at least twenty experts at the top of the building working this Notice-Board in a room rather like the Tube control rooms. It's a marvellous gadget. The different kinds of business all come out in the Board in different coloured lights. It must have cost half a million. They call it a Pragmatometer."

  "And there," said Busby, "you see again what the Institute is already doing for the country. Pragmatometry is going to be a big thing. Hundreds of people are going in for it. Why, this Analytical Notice-Board will probably be out of date before the building is finished!"

Back to Links
Back to Home Page