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Many years ago, at least 35, I read a story about an astronaut who bought a 'typewriter' for his daughter/niece. From what I remember, he was going to a space station and he bought an automatic typewriter for his daughter so that she could dictate letters to him. There was a module that would 'spell-check' and 'grammar-check' the letters. Over time the letters from the daughter got better and better. He thought the improvement was from improved technology, not realizing his daughter was maturing.

It was the first time I read about a word processor, many years before I ever saw one.

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Some of the details don't jive (frex it's not a short story) but in part II of Asimov's Second Foundation Toban Darell has given his daughter Arcadia an automatic typewriter (called a "transcriber") as a birthday present. She is trying to use it to write an essay on Seldon's Plan.

  • It has been about 20 years since I last read the Foundation series. I'll have to go back and read it again. Thanks for the heads up! – rcjohnson Jan 18 '14 at 14:31
  • There's definitely an Asimov story that includes a dictophone type automatic typewriter - however the one I remember has no spell-check modules, etc. In fact at one point when the girl made a mistake she had to throw away the entire page because there was no facility for correcting mistakes. – Eborbob Jul 13 '15 at 13:23
  • I believe that I read part of the beginning of The Dragon in the Sea by Frank Herbert in which a secretary dictated a letter or something to her automatic typewriter which wrote it, but she had to put each sheet of paper in manually since it didn't have a sheet feeder. – M. A. Golding Jan 1 at 20:23

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