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Difference Engine(MP3)Lib(Unabr.) MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged

2.8 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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MP3 CD, Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
CDN$ 103.35

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio; Library edition (Nov. 6 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441890769
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441890764
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.3 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 45 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews
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Product Description

From Amazon

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm puzzled by the complaint (made by several reviewers below) that the plot threads are never tied up (yes they are, in the final third of the novel) and that we never find out what the mysterious punch cards do (we most certainly do -- see pp. 387, 421, and 429, where we're told EXACTLY what their function is).
This is admittedly a novel that has to be read carefully; one can't just slurp it down like jello without doing any work. It's a serious novel, thank goodness -- not "light entertainment."
I'm also puzzled that nobody seems to have noticed what a highly *political* novel this is. This book is much more about political and cultural ideology than it is about alternative-history technology.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
i really like reading gibson. usually, it's kind of like running a marathon: it's harder than hell to get to the end, but ultimately rewarding. this one was both an easier read than i expect gibson to be (of course, he had help writing this one) and not as rewarding in the end.
set in victorian england, 'the difference engine' is an alternate history: what would have been changed had charles babbage's mechanical computer been a practical reality? i VERY STRONGLY reccomend that the person interested in reading this book do some research on the times and concepts before starting this book. you will get a lot more out of it if you know what's going on before you start. this is probably one of the worst failings of the book: while the background is richly detailed (there is a wealth of victorian slang, social moires, and lifestyle), the basic concept of what the hell a difference engine even is is never explained.
the story is apparently about a mysterious series of computer punch cards falling into the hands of a series of characters. the characters have only loose connections with each other, and once the story moves on to the next character, the plot threads are left dangling open for the previous one. just what exactly the punch cards do is never revealed, so the ending of the book feels rather anti-climactic.
the concepts and ideas are interesting, but basically the tale never goes anywhere. you keep reading, hoping that there is a point to be made, but the whole thing just kind of fizzles out. "steampunk" is a fun and original idea, it just doesn't completely work here.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but I think I have to reveal a little to counter the bad reviews. I hate to think that people who might enjoy this book as much as I did will miss out on it because of what they've read here. If you don't like SF books that aren't tightly character and plot-driven, this one isn't for you. But the book does have a plot, and I think those who say that it's muddled, or ends in mid-story just didn't get it. This book is about the genesis of the first AI in an alternate history, in which the historical leaps in computer technology take place in a post-Napoleonic Britain where meritocracy and rationalism have triumphed over aristocracy.
The authors were not trying to develop this idea by focusing on plot and character and indeed the AI itself is largely absent. The focus is instead on the alternate society from which the AI comes. The authors introduce a number of equally weighted plot elements, which are indeed low-key and inconclusive. But two of these meandering elements of the plot are, by the end, shown to be significant. One involves the invention of a computer system so complex that an unavoidable randomness is introduced into its calculation of data. The other involves the rationalist government's internal security technocrats, who, in the style of their twentieth century counterparts in actual history, base their philosophy on mass information - by trying to construct a database of the personal details of all their citizens.
Far from finishing in mid-story, the book reaches its natural conclusion when these two plot elements are brought together. That last chapter, with the "shadowy character", shows us a point in the future in which the result of their union finally comes to fruition.
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By A Customer on July 2 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Years ago, in the days of the starving artist, I guess, writers wrote whole books, sent the finished product to publishers who either published or didn't.
Unfortunately these days, writers send off a few chapters to the publishers and get a huge advance. After they get paid, they see the whole thing in an entirely different light to quote Groucho Marx in "Room Service". Often the end is NOT nearly as GOOD AS THE BEGINING! (Roger Zelazny was famous for starting books, getting advances and not finishing them).
Briefly, there IS a plot in Difference Engine! It's one of the most tantalizingly interesting (and frustrating) alternate history books I've ever read, as far as it goes.(did you know that 19th century English "dollymops" wore shoes with brass high-heels? presumeable to avoid round heels when walking the street??) BUT IT STOPS in the middle of the book, leaving plot lines and the ending completely unresolved. The authors just lost interest, introducing and blaming a shadowy character at the end who isn't really in the book at all.
Be forwarned.
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