512 pages, 8.19 × 5.46 × 1.08 in
July 26, 2011
Random House Publishing Group
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0440423627
ISBN - 13: 9780440423621
About the Book
In 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.
Read from the Book
First IterationThe Angel of GoliadComposite image, optically encoded by escort-craft of the trans-Channel airship Lord Brunel: aerial view of suburban Cherbourg, October 14, 1905.A villa, a garden, a balcony.Erase the balcony’s wrought-iron curves, exposing a bath-chair and its occupant. Reflected sunset glints from the nickel-plate of the chair’s wheel-spokes.The occupant, owner of the villa, rests her arthritic hands upon fabric woven by a Jacquard loom.These hands consist of tendons, tissue, jointed bone. Through quiet processes of time and information, threads within the human cells have woven themselves into a woman.Her name is Sybil Gerard.Below her, in a neglected formal garden, leafless vines lace wooden trellises on whitewashed, flaking walls. From the open windows of her sickroom, a warm draft stirs the loose white hair at her neck, bringing scents of coal-smoke, jasmine, opium.Her attention is fixed upon the sky, upon a silhouette of vast and irresistible grace--metal, in her lifetime, having taught itself to fly. In advance of that magnificence, tiny unmanned aeroplanes dip and skirl against the red horizon.Like starlings, Sybil thinks.The airship’s lights, square golden windows, hint at human warmth. Effortlessly, with the incomparable grace of organic function, she imagines a distant music there, the music of London: the passengers promenade, they drink, they flirt, perhaps they dance.Thoughts come unbidden, the mind weaving its perspectives, assembling meaning
From the Publisher
The 20th anniversary edition of the classic steampunk novel
With new commentary by the authors
1855: The Industrial Revolution is in full swing, powered by steam-driven cybernetic Engines. Charles Babbage perfects his Analytical Engine, and the computer age arrives a century ahead of its time. Three extraordinary characters race toward a rendezvous with the future: Sybil Gerard—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 took the science fiction community by storm when it was first published twenty years ago. This special anniversary edition features an Introduction by Cory Doctorow and a collaborative essay from the authors looking back on their creation. Provocative, compelling, intensely imagined, this novel is poised to impress a whole new generation.
About the Author
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.
“Breathtaking.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Smartly plotted, wonderfully crafted, and written with sly literary wit . . . spins marvelously and runs like a dream.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Splendid . . . highly imaginative.”—Chicago Tribune
“A ripping adventure yarn.”—Los Angeles Times
“[A] tour-de-force.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer