J.I.'s Reviews > The Difference Engine

The Difference Engine by William Gibson
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's review
Dec 21, 2010

bookshelves: read-2010
Read in November, 2010

If you absolutely love William Gibson, you're going to want to avoid this novel. Oh yeah, the idea has Gibson written all over it, and the technical details and types of characters is also him. The writing, however, is all Sterling, and it is lacking. The book meanders, the characters, while interesting as characters, are poorly written in the shallowest sense and the prose lays flat and dying on the page. It is a brilliant idea made maudlin as some of the worst of genre fiction does (the best of genre fiction, even when generic, makes the idea sparkle, even amid bad prose. Here the idea doesn't even have a chance).

My advice: skip this. Read about the real difference engine, read about the real Ada Byron, the real Edward Mallory and then read Mona Lisa Overdrive or Neuromancer or Pattern Recognition, but don't read this.

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