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The Difference Engine

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  16,482 Ratings  ·  939 Reviews
1855: 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. And three extraordinary characters race toward a rendezvous with history - and the future: Sybil Gerard - dishonored woman and daughter of a Luddite agitator; Ed ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published November 6th 2010 by Brilliance Audio (first published September 1990)
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David Stuckey I suppose he meant that delving into someone's past, you also find all the problems, feelings and attitudes they had during that time. . . . much the…moreI suppose he meant that delving into someone's past, you also find all the problems, feelings and attitudes they had during that time. . . . much the way that SF from the 1940s is considered unreadable by some due to modern sensibilities being offended by previous attitudes, and probably much the same way that our descendants will find our thinking archaic and disturbing. (less)
David Stuckey K W Jeter's "Infernal devices" is always mentioned in this context.
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mark monday
STEAMPUNK SALAD

3 (5-ounce) cans solid Victorian Era packed in water
1/2 cup minced Bruce Sterling
1/2 cup minced William Gibson
1/4 cup Technological Speculation
1 hard-boiled Spy Thriller, chopped in large pieces
1 soft-boiled Detective Tale, finely minced
3 Major Characters, lukewarm
1 Mysterious Box of Computer Punch Cards
Salt and Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Ambition

STEP 1
Place Victorian Era in fine-mesh strainer and press dry with paper towels. Transfer to medium bowl and mash with fork until finely flaked.
...more
J.G. Keely
My Shakespeare professor was ravishing: clever and ebullient, and never to be found without knee-high leather heels. I drew playbill covers while she lectured, and gave them to her at the end of class. One day I went to her office hours and there they were, all arrayed upon the wall above her desk. Life is the better for beautiful, passionate people.

One day, at the end of class, she beckoned me over: "Are you going to turn your next paper in on time?"

Of course, I answered, non-chalant, with a cr
...more
Scott
Nov 03, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Ach, I wish I could recommend this book more highly, but I was very disappointed in it.

Perhaps my expectations were too high, given how much I loved Gibson's "Neuromancer." However, "The Difference Engine" was over-long. The plot threaded together slowly. The character development of central characters was fragmentary and tended toward the superficial. The writing of the action scenes was unbelievably bad - the reader could barely piece together what was happening, and it almost made no sense. T
...more
Kat  Hooper
May 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, two major SciFi powerhouses, joined forces to produce The Difference Engine, a classic steampunk novel which was nominated for the 1990 British Science Fiction Award, the 1991 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the 1992 John W. Campbell Memorial Award and Prix Aurora Award. I listened to Brilliance Audio’s version which was produced in 2010 and read by the always-wonderful Simon Vance.

The Difference Engine takes place in a
...more
Eli
Jul 24, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people looking for an entry point into steampunk
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk, ya, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mina Villalobos
Jan 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like history, technology, math and good story telling
Shelves: steam-punk
This book is pure brilliance. As all the other Gibson books I have read, the ending kind of.. dissolves into mist, leaving you with questions and giving you a lot of room to imagine and pursue ideas -this being a very positive thing, actually. I think Sterling's style gave Gibson a grounding tug, so the whole ending chapter is about closure, something Gibson doesn't always work well with, but this one made me go back and forth to refresh character, and I had wikipedia open to read the biographie ...more
Ian
I give this two stars because I quite enjoyed the first 50 pages or so. Then it was crap from there on out. (Well, I assume the rest was crap, as I only read another 50 pages of pointless drivel before deciding not to waste any more of my precious time.) It was odd. The first 50 pages formed a reasonably complete, self-contained, and satisfying short story. I don't think those pages were intended to be that way, but they were. Then another chapter started with totally different characters that h ...more
Wanda
As many others have pointed out, this book is one of the first in what we now know as the Steampunk genre. It explores the question of what would happen if the Industrial Revolution and the development of the computer had coincided—what would Victorian society have looked like?

It’s a complex novel, with a lot of layers. I read most of it in airports and on planes and didn’t have the best circumstances to be able to concentrate on those details. On the other hand, if it had been really riveting,
...more
Joe
Dec 17, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
To find the story of The Difference Engine, first dig through a layer of Victorian-Era British slang, followed by a layer of alternate-history jargon. Next, carefully remove a rocky patch of shifting perspectives and unclear motivations. After that, you'll be faced with a bloated stratum of physical description so detailed and uninteresting you'll be tempted to speed through it, barely glancing at the muddy mixture while you shovel it out. I suggest you give in to this temptation.

And what's you
...more
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  • The Steampunk Trilogy
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  • The Warlord of the Air (Oswald Bastable, #1)
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  • Helliconia Trilogy
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

William Ford Gibson is an American-Canadian writer who has been called the father of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, having coined the term cyberspace in 1982 and popularized it in his first novel, Neuromancer(1984), which has sold more than 6.5 million copies wor
...more
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“When you raise the dead, they bring their baggage.” 1 likes
“You can’t get clever men to fight such a system, as it makes too much sense to ’em.” 0 likes
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