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Announcing Head First Scheme

We're proud to announce that the next book in the successful Head First series will cover the incredibly exciting programming language known as Scheme, described by some folks at MIT as "... a statically scoped and properly tail-recursive dialect of the Lisp programming language". Wow! If that doesn't work up your passion for programming, you shouldn't be coding.

The four of us have spent the last 3 months secretly writing Head First Scheme, and while the tragically-underappreciated language may not have taken over the world yet, it should and it will. Sure, Java's cool and all, but seriously--can you really trust your mission-critical apps to a language named for a hot beverage?

Once again, Tim O'Reilly has proved his savvy (and bravery) in allowing us to do the book we wanted--market size be damned.

Preorders will start on Amazon beginning April 1! Order yours now, and await all the tail recursion, closures and Y-combinators you'd ever want. As we've subtitled this book, it is a "brain-based guide to programming nirvana." And we think it's the perfect language for just about anything: teaching, enterprise backends, mobile devices (we even have a tutorial on The Little Toaster--with a Scheme interpreter running on a variety of kitchen appliances), and of course any kind of Web Service.

Have fun!

Posted by Eric Freeman on April 1, 2005 | Permalink


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April 1st?
Hmmm... :)

Posted by: Bill Mietelski | Apr 1, 2005 1:41:47 PM

*Sigh*, if only it were so. I'd far rather read about scheme than java.

Posted by: pat eyler | Apr 1, 2005 1:51:27 PM


I LOVE your writing in the Head First series, but I despise Java. I've muddled through with the crippled beverage language only because I enjoy your insights into the learning process and your presentation techniques. I've been hoping against hope that you would choose to write a book about Common Lisp...and then you MOCK me with an April Fool's joke about another Lisp family member? Oh, the humanity.

The Lisp market is actually MUCH larger than you would ever suspect...and Tim O'Reilly IS leaving money on the table and talented programmers out in the cold. Apress is apparently one of the only publishers that has a clue...

For your atonement, you should write a Head First Common Lisp book ;-) I mean it, dammit, get started!

Posted by: Christian Phillips | Apr 1, 2005 1:53:53 PM

Now you've gone and made me sad. Well, a little sad. I'd love to see this book in the real world.

Posted by: Brian Wisti | Apr 1, 2005 1:56:25 PM

I'll admit it, I fell for it. I haven't been here long enough. Maybe Fortran would have tipped the "hmm meter" for me.

Posted by: Keith Handy | Apr 1, 2005 3:48:07 PM

Too bad it's a joke. I'd buy!

Posted by: Miles Clark | Apr 1, 2005 5:48:34 PM

Cool cover, reminds me of Bill Nye the Science guy look. I would have bought it :)

Posted by: John Blue | Apr 1, 2005 6:16:04 PM

Well ya never know, keep the pressure on and we may just have to do this book. ;) Keep cons/car/cdr'ing!


Posted by: Eric Freeman | Apr 1, 2005 7:21:59 PM

Yea, it wasn't really funny, just annoying to find out that there's not going to be a book.

Posted by: Anon | Apr 1, 2005 8:57:59 PM

have to agree, just pissed me off. More java trash, I guess.

Posted by: anon | Apr 2, 2005 8:11:04 AM

I wish it was a real book, too.

Posted by: Anonymous Coward | Apr 2, 2005 12:25:16 PM

I happen to know that this is the book Eric and Beth would pretty much KILL to write... but unfortunately, Java is what's kept us alive so far. The market for Java books is much greater than with any other language, and even Java book sales are a mere fraction of what they used to be. This is a very tough way to pay the rent, but we love it. It does mean we're tied to doing things on subjects that have enough people who'd be willing to buy the book. The moment someone can come up with the numbers that suggest there's a large enough market to justify the months that Eric and Beth would be working on it, you can bet they'll be on Tim O'Reilly's doorstep with a proposal!

We didn't mean to piss anybody off though : )

And actually all of the next books we have planned are *not* on Java, but they're still on things that are likely to at least break even. The four of us wish we could all win the lottery and write (and publish) the books an *all* the topics we REALLY want to do... *sigh*

Posted by: Kathy Sierra | Apr 2, 2005 3:12:13 PM

Pity it's a joke! I'd buy this book. =)

Posted by: Sacha Chua | Apr 2, 2005 7:29:49 PM

Oh, it is bad that it is only a Joke, I was trying to find where to buy it until I've came back to this place again and noticed it was just joke.
Very very disaponting :(
The joker deserves an A indeed.

Posted by: Pupeno | Apr 2, 2005 8:48:28 PM

It is a real pity that this book does
not exist. My husband is a man in love
Lisp and an eternal student of Scheme.
Since we met, I have been listening
all about the virtues of functional
programming. He used to be a happy guy
programming in common lisp. But now...
after the dot com bubble he is trapped
programming in java and C sharp and has
lost part of his joyous spirit. I would
buy him this book.

Posted by: Lisp Widow | Apr 2, 2005 10:54:30 PM

I only read this today, its the 3rd over here now, and my immediate reaction was.

Damm did a book without me being involved with the review process. I was not impressed.

Luckily reading some of the comments made me realize it was all an April Fools joke.

I read it 2 days late but you guys can chalk me "gottha". Good one.

Posted by: Johannes de Jong | Apr 3, 2005 5:17:05 AM

Ditto what Kathy said, in fact, I should confess in another life I had the privilege of studying under Dan Friedman (Scheme master & author of such greats as the Little Lisper/Schemer) and hanging around the IU CS department with all the great Schemers there (Dybvig, Springer, etc.). So Scheme is in my blood.

You know, it's a long shot, but I could see a Scheme/Intro programming book being written in the Head First style. If you've got a good feel for the Head First philosophy (read the books and read Kathy's posts!), feel free to send us a few pages of Head First Scheme (a little known fact: all Head First authors have to go through an "audition"). Who knows, maybe O'Reilly would be interested, especially if it made sense in the academic market. (But remember, I'm don't speak for O'Reilly ;))

Posted by: Eric Freeman | Apr 3, 2005 10:03:40 AM

What the hell! I actually checked on Amazon for the pre-order info? So cruel of you! Why can't you just make it real for us. Please.....

Posted by: sameer borate | Apr 3, 2005 11:28:21 PM

I would love to buy this book. This is the cruelest April Fools joke I've seen this year.

Posted by: Another Schemer Who Wishes It Was Real | Apr 4, 2005 2:45:20 AM

It's a real pity that the Head First Scheme book won't see the market. I believe it can have a future as a teaching book in schools and universities.

Anyway, Kathy, could you give a hint about which books are coming out next?

Posted by: Bert Rodiers | Apr 4, 2005 7:04:13 AM

At least I spotted the date :-) Ah well. Pity. I'd buy a copy ;-)

Posted by: Adrian Howard | Apr 4, 2005 7:49:39 AM

Why oh why oh why, was this not real!

Posted by: mae | Apr 4, 2005 10:28:14 AM

These comments are actually even funnier than the post. ;-)

Excellent job!

Posted by: zonker | Apr 4, 2005 10:54:04 AM

I decided over the weekend to buy this book, and was desperately searching the oreilly and amazon sites.

what a disappointing way to start the week

Posted by: Scott Parish | Apr 4, 2005 12:15:11 PM

I put this on my (pen-and-paper) book wishlist before I realized it was an April Fool's joke. Good joke, but I would've bought the book. Looking back I guess putting the Y-combinator on the cover should've tipped me off.

Posted by: Dethe Elza | Apr 4, 2005 3:34:20 PM

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