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A collaborative novel from the premier cyberpunk authors, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. Part detective story, part historical thriller, The Difference Engine takes us not forward but back, to an imagined 1885: the Industrial Revolution is in full and inexorable swing, powered by steam-driven, cybernetic engines. Charles Babbage perfects his Analytical Engine, and the computer age arrives a century ahead of its time. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
In a surprising departure from the traditional view of cyberpunk's bleak future, Gibson ( Mona Lisa Overdrive ) and Sterling ( Islands in the Net ) render with elan and colorful detail a scientifically advanced London, circa 1855, where computers ("Engines") have been developed. Fierce summer heat and pollution have driven out the ruling class, and ensuing anarchy allows the subversive, technology-hating Luddites to surface and battle the intellectual elite. Much of the problem centers on a set of perforated cards, once in the possession of an executed Luddite leader's daughter, later in the hands of "Queen of Engines" Ada Byron (daughter of prime minister Lord Byron), finally given to Edward Mallory, a scientist. Mallory, who knows the cards are a gambling device that can be read with a specialized Engine, is soon threatened and libeled by the Luddites, and he and his associates confront the scoundrels in a violent showdown. A sometimes listless pace and limp conclusions that defy the plot's complexity flaw an otherwise visionary, handsomely written, unsentimental tale that convincingly revises the 19th-century Western world. 75,000 first printing; $75,000 ad/promo.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
the writing was god in sections; however, the structure of this collaboration did not hold together well. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Lynn M Jones
I am a fan of William Gibson, I read a lot of good book written by him and find that he is a very interesting author. Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2005 by Claude Mally
The idea of the invention of Steampowered computers in the nineteenth century is interesting but the author makes several unetanable claims of what would happen in the new... Read morePublished on May 24 2004 by Sean Mulligan
This isn't a bad novel, and I don't think it "drags" as some would have it--there is enough motive force behind the novel (action, plot development) to keep you there,... Read morePublished on Dec 2 2003 by Eric Hines
In contrast to most of the negative reviews, I thought the suprise ending was powerful and not entirely unexpected. Read morePublished on June 30 2003 by JFBeilman
This book takes a little while to get started (about 30 pages--not too long), but once it does, wow. What a world! Read morePublished on March 26 2003 by L. Hall
Okay, right now I'm on a cyberpunk kick and I picked this book up at the library because the premise sounded interesting: what if the computer ("Engine" in the book... Read morePublished on Feb. 5 2003 by wysewomon
It was such a great premise for a book-- what if the Babbage had realized his analytical engine and successfully created computer much earlier in our history? Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2003 by frumiousb