David Ahl's name was everywhere during the hobbyist era of personal computers in the late '70s and early '80s. He edited Creative Computing and wrote more than a dozen computer books, including the million-selling Basic Computer Games.
He's also a great source of information. For years, I've been looking for a book called People's Book of Computer Games that supposedly contains Star Traders, a BASIC game considered to be the first version of TradeWars, one of the most popular BBS games.
When I asked Ahl about this book and Star Traders, he responded:
As far as I know, the game Star Traders originally appeared in People's Computer Company (a newspaper/magazine) published by P.C.C. (an alternative education computer center) in Menlo Park, CA. (It's a bit confusing that the physical storefront computer center and the newspaper both had the same name.) The game also appeared in What to Do After You Hit Return subtitled "PCC's first book of computer games." PCC was a rather egalitarian organization, hence credit was only rarely given to the authors of the various games they published and there is no author credit affixed to Star Traders. So it could have been written by any one of the 40-50 people cited in the acknowledgements of the book. The game, written in "standard" HP Basic, is a monster and, unusual for the time (1973) has both a set-up module and a main playing module. Also unusual for the time, it had the capability of saving the playing data (1) from one session to the next and (2) for different users who logged onto other nodes of the timesharing system. It was this that allowed it to be a multi-player game with games often lasting a matter of weeks or months. The book had some interesting suggestions and ideas for extending and modifying the game to make it more interesting and longer lasting; I believe that over the years many (or most) of these have been implemented.
Ahl also had a copy of the book for sale, which I bought. I'll be publishing an article here about Star Traders for the benefit of the old-school BBS geeks who share my interest in TradeWars history.