Tuesday, May 3

The Difference Engine - William Gibson and Bruce Sterling (1990)

"This genre-transcending science fiction novel by the co-inventors of 'cyberpunk,' William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, is set in an alternative version of Victorian London, circa 1855, with many of its familiar historical features intact: pea-souper fogs pierced with the dim glow of the first gaslight lamps, a war being fought in the Crimea, ladies in crinolines, gents in top hats, prodigies both of squalor and of nouveau riche excess. But then, and it is quite an enormous 'but then,' the authors have decreed that one crucial datum of history shall be other than it was: sometime in the 1820's the mathematician Charles Babbage succeeded in constructing an operational Analytic Engine, a clockwork computer powered not by electricity but by steam engines. The historical, cultural and scientific repercussions are enormous, as they have been in our own time, and the resulting counter-Victorian era is elaborated with a Dickensian density of imaginative detail. ..."
NY Times: Queen Victoria's Computers
W - The Difference Engine
libcom: The difference engine - William Gibson and Bruce Sterling
NYPL: William Gibson 101:03

2010 September: Cyberpunk, 2010 October: Bruce Sterling, 2011 July: William Gibson, 2015 May: Mirrorshades: The Cyberpunk Anthology - edited by Bruce Sterling (1986), 2015 July: A Global Neuromancer