The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
Genres: Steampunk, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Fiction
Maturity Level: 2
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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 – dishonored woman and daughter of a Luddite agitator; Edward “Leviathan” Mallory – explorer and paleontologist; Laurence Oliphant – diplomat 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…
I didn’t understand this book at all, which is unusual for me. I’m not sure if that’s because it was somehow over my head, or if just wasn’t that great of the book. Aside from that, the characters weren’t especially interesting, it wasn’t very exciting (maybe even *gasp* dull), there was very little fascinating Steam Punk technologies, and the dialogue frequently reminded me of the Roaring Twenties rather than Victorian England. However, I did enjoy the element of alternate history the Difference Engine brought by keeping the same major political players, but putting them in a completely different world. Overall I was disappointed, and this definitely isn’t a book I would read again.