News about the LiSP book

These are comments on my book gleaned from the news. Thanks to all the contributors.

From: (Paul Wilson)
Newsgroups: comp.lang.scheme
Subject: Re: Your opinion of Queinnec's _Lisp in Small Pieces_ ?
Date: 14 Nov 1996 13:32:58 -0600
Organization: CS Dept, University of Texas at Austin
Lines: 38
References: <56fgmg$>
Ident-User: wilson

In article <56fgmg$>,
M. Thomas <> wrote:
>Would anyone care to give an opinion/mini-review of this book, or
>point me to a review?  Looks very interesting, but I just perused it
>briefly.  It seems to be a useful compendium of techniques and
>insights for designers of interpreters and compilers (and hence for
>programmers as well).

I think it's quite good, though sometimes a little forbidding just
because of its thoroughness.  It has a high branching factor, showing
alternative language design choices and/or implementation strategies in
many places.  Newbies are likely to get a little dazed if they don't take
it slowly.

If you have any trouble with Queinnec's book---which gets pretty advanced
pretty fast---you might want to start with my online draft of (most of)
_Introduction_to_Scheme_and_its_Implementation_, and then graduate
to _Lisp_in_Small_Pieces_.  My _Intro_ has a gentle introduction to Scheme
and pictures of a bunch of the basic stuff, which should help if Queinnec's
text is too dense.  (See  for a pointer
to my intro. Be sure to start with the html version, which is more up to
date than the old ascii course notes.)

This is not in any way a criticism of _Lisp_in_Small_Pieces_, which
is something the world has very much needed since _Anatomy_of_Lisp_
became obsolete a very long time ago.  (It's authoritative and thorough,
where my intro tries to get across the basics as accessibly as

In all, I'd say that Queinnec's book is something that every advanced
Lisper/Schemer should own, especially anybody who implements programming
languages.  LOTS of good stuff there, and the working code for it.

| Paul R. Wilson, Comp. Sci. Dept., U of Texas @ Austin (
| Papers on memory allocators, garbage collection, memory hierarchies,
| persistence and  Scheme interpreters and compilers available via ftp from
|, in pub/garbage

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