The Difference Engine

Steampunk Muse

Difference One of the texts recommended for anyone exploring Steampunk fiction is William Gibson & Bruce Sterling’s The Difference Engine (1990). It is set in London, 1855. Although it is a London that is recognisably Victorian, it has been expertly subverted by the authors. Charles Babbage has introduced the computer a century ahead of its time, the Industrial Radicals and the Scientists run the country and the authors have re-written various global, political and historical timelines. I was astounded by the temerity of the authors in populating the book with historical figures, then altering their past. For example, Ada Lovelace as the Queen of Engines, daughter of Lord Byron who is Prime Minister and leader of the Industrial Radical Party. Benjamin Disraeli as the journalist and publicist who knows all the backstage intrigues in the Commons. John Keats as the expert in Kinotropy, which is the use of mechanical pixelated screens…

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Posted on March 27, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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