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The Difference Engine (Spectra special…
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The Difference Engine (Spectra special editions) (edició 1992)

de William Gibson (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
5,277811,494 (3.3)165
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!"… (més)
Membre:huntnb
Títol:The Difference Engine (Spectra special editions)
Autors:William Gibson (Autor)
Informació:Bantam USA (1992), Edition: Reissue, 429 pages
Col·leccions:Shelved
Valoració:
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

Detalls de l'obra

The Difference Engine de William Gibson

  1. 00
    The Light Ages de Ian R. MacLeod (CaptainPea)
  2. 03
    Criatures extraordinàries de Tracy Chevalier (Cecilturtle)
    Cecilturtle: also set in late XIXth century with challenged scientific views.
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Anglès (77)  Francès (1)  Romanès (1)  Italià (1)  Neerlandès (1)  Totes les llengües (81)
Es mostren 1-5 de 81 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Around the time this book was published and the term “Steam Punk” was being bandied about, and people were modding computers with Victorian facades, a university friend of mine mentioned the words to me, “The difference engine”. I never read the book but I used the term freely over the years to express the À rebours aesthetic taking place with new technologies. The concept overall, quite interesting, albeit twenty years later, I actually got round to reading the book. I couldn’t have felt flatter. It felt like Gibson and Sterling had over-researched the era and decided to throw in as much of this research as possible in order to either authenticate the world within or just let the reader know they had done their homework.

Consistency was lost through-out. Even some of the main character dialogue shifted from cockney brogue to received pronunciation without seemingly intending to do so, as if the two authors were getting muddled. At points, as if trapped in a corner, the authors would spring a further development to keep the plot moving, although this at times felt jarring and inconclusive.

There were parts in which I can honestly say I was deeply drawn into the narrative (author having a good day) and other parts of which the diplomatic intrigue dragged on unbearably (author needing to meet a word-count deadline). In some respects, the underlying story arc was no more than a Western set in a speculative alternative history and then moments would arrive where I was expecting Sherlock Holmes to crop up. The ending literally a Spaghetti Western shootout.

All the main characters seemed to have an almost superhuman endurance, especially Mallory, who at times, I wondered if he ever rested. The catastrophe was well deployed but the underlying alternative technology was almost an aside to the alternative political and scientific background.

The addendum highly unnecessary and almost seemed like the authors wanted to include their backstory notes to fill any holes the narrative might have had throughout. Overall, an innovative concept poorly executed with decent writing peppered by moments of superb writing. For me it is not ranked as a remarkably influential book by nature of its story as a whole, but you will find parts that, if had been condensed into a shorter book, and certain concepts teased out to weave those parts together, would have made a far greater impact ... at least to me. ( )
  RupertOwen | Apr 27, 2021 |
After having done a total 180 on Gibson and reading everything else he's written, I thought it was only fair to give The Difference Engine a second chance. It's about as good as I remember - there are glimmers of something really great here and there (I love every scene where characters go shopping in this book), but basically none of the characters feel really likable or memorable, and most of the book is taken up with events that don't really feel like they mattered by the end. Easily my least favorite thing that good ol' WG has done. (I haven't read enough Bruce Sterling to form a judgment on him) ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
This book is even better than I had realised as I started reading it - I feel the need to go back and re-read it to fully appreciate it.
The concept is an "alternative history" in which Babbage and his "difference engine" had successfully initiated a technology era in Victorian era England - leading to an alternate history of the period. Essentially it is a cross between sci-fi, fantasy and history.
There is much to enjoy if you know a little history of politics, science and literature of the era. Many familiar names, some in different roles - Disraeli is a full-time writer, Byron is PM. There are also many creative touches - for example, with plays on modern words where the card- and mechanical-based tech types are "clackers" instead of hackers, and so on.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book as a whole, and on the many different levels embedded in it. The characters are interesting and believable, the alternative history is thought provoking, and the science/technology is interesting.
There is one section where the plot development becomes quite florid, but I was happy to go along for the ride.
Great stuff! ( )
  mbmackay | Sep 18, 2020 |
A procession of unlikeable characters move through settings so minutely detailed that one suspects they are the entire point of the book. Momentous events are taking place just out of sight, but the reader is limited to a street-level perspective in which none of the characters understand any what's going on until around page 330, and so the reader never manages to give a damn. ( )
  RJ_Stevenson | Aug 19, 2020 |
if computer age started 100 yrs earlier where would we be now
  ritaer | Jul 28, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 81 (següent | mostra-les totes)
In de vorige eeuw werd door Charles Babbage een mechanische computer ontworpen, die echter bij gebrek aan technologische kennis en de juiste materialen niet gebouwd kon worden. Deze roman speelt zich af in een Engeland waar dat wel kon, met als gevolg dat al rond 1850 de maatschappij diepgaand veranderd is door computertechnologie. Ook andere zaken zijn in die wereld anders dan de onze: zo is de dichter Byron premier van Engeland geworden en de Verenigde Staten zijn nooit verenigd. De plot betreft een politieke intrige, draaiend om een stel computerponskaarten die een blauwdruk vormen voor een nieuwe generatie computers: niet langer mechanisch maar elektrisch. De auteurs zijn coryfeeën van de 'cyberpunk': science fiction die gaat over de toekomstige ontwikkelingen van de informatica. Hier hebben ze een roman geschreven zoals een 19e-eeuws auteur van cyberpunk die had kunnen schrijven. In dit opzicht is het een tour-de-force. Bovendien is het spannend en goed geschreven. Enige kennis van het 19e-eeuwse Engeland maakt de lezing van het boek nog aardiger, want het bevat talloze toespelingen op kunst en politiek uit de 19e eeuw.
afegit per karnoefel | editaNBD / Biblion
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (7 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Gibson, Williamautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Sterling, Bruceautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat
Brumm, WalterTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Miller, IanAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Randazzo, TonyAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Schütz, NeleAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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No n'hi ha cap

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!"

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Mitjana: (3.3)
0.5 4
1 50
1.5 17
2 129
2.5 37
3 331
3.5 79
4 282
4.5 17
5 127

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