All the signs are that the coming peripheral is the speech synthesis card. Certainly a lot of work has been done on this subject, and several large companies offer chips or systems.

Electronically Speaking: Computer Speech Generation by John P. Cater is one of these rare books which courts disaster by dealing with a very fast-moving subject, but which arrives at the precise time when there is a slight lull in activity.

As a result, it doesn't just cover a selection of speech boards and chips, it covers *all* the currently available products.

As a bonus there are several appendices, including a dictionary of related teminology, a bibliography of advanced reading, and a selection of speech-synthesis circuits.

The book doesn't just limit itself to actually making sounds which are intelligle - it also examines such subjects as the history of speech-synthesis (did you know that research started in the 1700s?), the physiology of human speech, the mechanics of speech generation, and most important of all, the actual *reasons* for wanting to make a computer talk at all.

Any book which addresses a complex subject such as artificial speech stands a better than evens change of being completely unreadable. Thankfully, this book is not one of these. It's written with a light touch, has plenty of (appropriate) humour, and some very useful tables.