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The difference engine
Gibson, William
Adult Fiction GIBSON

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In a surprising departure from the traditional view of cyberpunk's bleak future, Gibson ( Mona Lisa Overdrive ) and Sterling ( Islands in the Net ) render with elan and colorful detail a scientifically advanced London, circa 1855, where computers (``Engines'') have been developed. Fierce summer heat and pollution have driven out the ruling class, and ensuing anarchy allows the subversive, technology-hating Luddites to surface and battle the intellectual elite. Much of the problem centers on a set of perforated cards, once in the possession of an executed Luddite leader's daughter, later in the hands of ``Queen of Engines'' Ada Byron (daughter of prime minister Lord Byron), finally given to Edward Mallory, a scientist. Mallory, who knows the cards are a gambling device that can be read with a specialized Engine, is soon threatened and libeled by the Luddites, and he and his associates confront the scoundrels in a violent showdown. A sometimes listless pace and limp conclusions that defy the plot's complexity flaw an otherwise visionary, handsomely written, unsentimental tale that convincingly revises the 19th-century Western world. 75,000 first printing; $75,000 ad/promo. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In a Victorian England run by steam-powered computing engines and governed by an intellectual elite led by Prime Minister Byron, an ambitious young paleontologist comes into possession of a dangerous set of program cards and begins running for his life. This first collaboration between cyberpunk legends Gibson ( Neuroman cer , Ace, 1984) and Sterling ( Islands in the Net, LJ 6/15/88) represents an ingenious (though not entirely successful) tour-de-force, as cyberpunk and the Victorian adventure novel meet with a vengeance. Recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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