The Difference Engine by William Gibson

The Difference Engine

byWilliam Gibson, Bruce Sterling

Kobo ebook | July 26, 2011

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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—a fallen woman, politician’s tart, daughter of a Luddite agitator
Edward “Leviathan” Mallory—explorer and paleontologist
Laurence Oliphant—diplomat, mystic, and spy.
Their adventure begins with the discovery of a box of punched Engine cards of unknown origin and purpose.  Cards someone wants badly enough to kill for….
Part detective story, part historical thriller, The Difference Engine is the collaborative masterpiece by two of the most acclaimed science fiction authors writing today.  Provocative, compelling, intensely imagined, it is a startling extension of Gibson’s and Sterling’s unique visions—and the beginning of movement we know today as “steampunk!”

From the Paperback edition.
Bruce Sterling is a recent winner of the Nebula Award and the author of the nonfiction book "The Hacker Crackdown" as well as novels and short story collections. He co-authored, with William Gibson, the critically acclaimed novel "The Difference Engine." He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and daughter.

by William Gibson


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Title:The Difference EngineFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:July 26, 2011Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345532589

ISBN - 13:9780345532589

Customer Reviews of The Difference Engine


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not For Me DNF. I stopped about halfway through. I just can't do it. I get that this is an iconic steampunk novel and I get that it was meant to reflect the cultures of its time period and I get that it's written by two highly respected authors over an extensive period of time. That's why I'm giving it three stars, because I understand what it means to parts of the literary world. But I can't keep going. Maybe I'm being too liberal, since I can't tolerate the blatant racism and sexism from characters with virtually no redeeming qualities, but I'm also bored out of my mind. I'm not seeing a grand sweeping epic of steampunk, adventure, and excitement. If you asked me what the central plot was, all I would do was give you a blank look. There was potential for it in the first chapter, and I could have happily kept going with that. Sybil had so much potential, but then I got stuck with Mallory and it went downhill for me from there. To be clear, I'm not calling this a bad book. The language flows beautifully and the history and research is extremely well done, and the technology I saw was surprising. I liked some of the visuals and settings as well, which for a moment, transported me into a new world. But... I just can't get past the parts I didn't enjoy. I can only handle so much racism and sexism, even if I know it's part of history and being used as an element to immerse the reader in a time period. So this isn't for me, but it could be for other steampunk readers. There's a reason it's widely and generally respected, and if you think it's for you, then give it a chance.
Date published: 2017-03-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Confusing If you are a fan of Detective Fiction and SciFi, you may enjoy the Difference Engine more than I did. I found the structure of the narrative very confusing, and I don't really understand why things happen in the novel.
Date published: 2016-11-02