The Diamond Age, or A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer

by Neal Stephenson

Since junior high school, science fiction has been my "pleasure" reading (actually, I enjoy reading in general).  This book envisions a future with a tribal social structure layered on much anarchy and chaos, but infused with unbelievable wealth created by nanotechnology.  The interesting part, from an education standpoint, however, is its development of the idea of personalized, computer-assisted instruction (aided by the central premise of the book, the power of nanotechnology).  The story ends up supporting the radical power of general education in society, and its power for individual liberty.  Further, even in this nano-enhanced world, the human element of teaching and learning proves extraordinarily powerful.  For more discussion of this book, and an introduction to the wiki group software tool, see http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?TheDiamondAge.