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I believe this story was published in the late 1950s or early 1960s; it may have started as a short story and then been turned into a novel.

The basic plot was that the protagonist had created a tiny computer ("Manche") that approximated the capabilities of today's netbook, plus a degree of sentience; as the story progressed, he and Manche were fighting for Truth & Justice, etc., but were bested by the villain(ess, I think), who then stole Manche. Our hero then built a better/faster/smaller version, named Dimanche or Diamanche, and after a suitable battle, saves the day.

I don't recall anything else about the story -- not even, really, why I enjoyed it so much . . . but it was one of the pieces that spurred my love of electronics, computers, and the hybrid human/computer knowledge-retrieval made possible by sites like Stack Exchange. So it's kind of amusing that Google has been so little help finding this story! :*)

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    Google turns up one reference: a story from Galaxy circa 1953 (Simak? Don't think so...) about a computer engineer who builds AI machines small enough to slip under the skin behind his ear: they talk to him through his skull, and he "subvocalizes" his end of the conversations. I remember the computers' names were Dimanche and Manche. Unfortunately that person was looking for the author and title too. – user56 May 31 '11 at 7:22
  • @Mithrandir What's wrong with "implantable" and what's wrong with the computers tag? – user14111 Feb 17 '16 at 3:41
  • @user14111 It's not a computers question. Check the tag wiki. And implantable sounds like it can't be planted. Perhaps i'll edit that again, and add it in a again, phrased differently. – Mithrandir Feb 17 '16 at 3:44
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    @Mithrandir "Implantable" is a standard English word, and its one and only meaning is "capable of being implanted (in the body)", like a pacemaker. Nobody would think it meant "incapable of being planted". Also I note that you changed the OP's meaning slightly by removing the question mark after "sentient"/ – user14111 Feb 17 '16 at 3:55
  • @Mithrandir I checked the computers tag wiki: "for questions specifically involving (usually non-robotic) computers in a science-fiction work." Fits this question to a T as far as I can tell. – user14111 Feb 17 '16 at 4:01
11

The story is “Delay in Transit” by F.L. Wallace. It appeared in Galaxy, September 1952. You can read it at the Internet Archive. It was collected in Neglected Visions, amongst others.

The first computer is called Dimanche and the replacement is called Manche. The protagonist isn't actually fighting for Good, just trying to go on his life. The main theme in the story isn't exactly information retrieval, it's the difficulty of travelling in a galaxy with billions of stars and only point-to-point ship travel: the problem initially faced by the protagonist is being stranded on an intermediate step in his interstellar journey.

  • I confirm (I have it in an anthology). – user56 Jun 10 '11 at 19:39
  • Thanks for the additional info, Gilles. On the topic of hybrid human/computer knowledge-retrieval, just wanted to add that I found the story by OCR and grepping a bunch of Galaxy magazine scans. Only read a couple pages to confirm the identity but it looked interesting, may go back and finish at some point. – so12311 Jun 11 '11 at 0:03
  • That is exactly correct! Thank you SO much for your time & effort in finding this -- not only the story itself, but, it turns out, the anthology in which I'd actually read it (along with a number of other stories I enjoyed); I've found a used copy and ordered it. :*) – Tracy O. Logan Jun 15 '11 at 1:26
  • This was also present in the anthology: Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories, 14 (ISBN: 0886771064), which is actually where I remembered it from. – user64668 Apr 12 '16 at 22:03
0

The story you are talking about was published in a book of 4 short stories.
the book title is "Bodyguards and Four Other Short Stories" edited by H. L. Gold. Published in the early 1950's. The stories were from Galaxy magazine.

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    Welcome, unfortunately the Orginal Poster had already confirmed the other story was correct, however a good attempt! – Edlothiad Jan 23 '17 at 0:04
  • If you click on the first link in the accepted answer, you will see that Bodyguard and Four Other Short Novels from Galaxy was one of the anthologies in which the story "Delay in Transit" appeared. – user14111 Jan 23 '17 at 0:30

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