Trivia

Hard

The Kindle’s Codename Was Drawn From What Work Of Fiction?

Neuromancer
Fahrenheit 451
The Diamond Age
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The cover of the novel The Diamond Age.
Bantam Spectra/Penguin Random House

Answer: The Diamond Age

It’s only fitting that Amazon engineers would select a literary-based codename for the Kindle, and a clever one at that. Long before the world knew of Amazon’s influential e-reader, insiders were already referring to the device as Fiona.

Why Fiona? Fiona Hackworth is a character in Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi novel The Diamond Age. The novel hinges on the theft of a technologically-advanced book that is networked, interactive, contains the sum of human knowledge, and has pages that shift and change right in front of you. The image and idea of such a book was a very strong influence on the designers of the Kindle. Amazon’s engineers treated the capacity of the book in the novel as their endgame goal: a portable electronic book that the reader could interact with and use to call upon vast amounts of knowledge.

Despite the rebranding of the device as the Amazon Kindle, the codename lives on in a little Easter egg tucked away on the Amazon servers. If you go to the URL https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/manage, it takes you to the management page for your Kindle (while the top level URL has changed over the years, they’ve kept the old address).

If you’ve ever wondered how a woman’s name found itself inserted into that unassuming URL, wonder no more (and pick up a copy of The Diamond Age for your Kindle to meet her).

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