- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Gateway; 1 edition (13 Jan. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0575099402
- ISBN-13: 978-0575099401
- Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 81 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Difference Engine (S.F. MASTERWORKS) Paperback – 13 Jan 2011
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'A visionary steam-powered heavy metal fantasy. Gibson and Sterling create a high-Victorian virtual reality of extraordinary richness and detail' Ridley Scott, creator of ALIEN
About the Author
William Gibson was born in South Carolina in 1948. Educated in the USA, he emigrated to Canada in 1968 and retains dual nationality. Gibson began writing in 1977 and burst upon the literary world with his acclaimed first novel, NEUROMANCER, the book that launched the cyberpunk generation, and the first novel to win the holy trinity of science fiction, the Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick Awards. Although best known for his early cyberpunk novels, Gibson's work has continued to evolve over the ensuing years, always casting an astute critical eye on modern societal trends. In 1999 The Guardian praised him as 'probably the most important novelist of the past two decades'. His most recent books include ZERO HISTORY and THE PERIPHERAL.
William Gibson's website is www.williamgibsonbooks.com and you can follow him on Twitter at @greatdismal
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"The Difference Engine" makes much use of a number of story telling devices - there's a McGuffin (the box), a Chekov's Gun, a Femme-Fatale and a Man-of Action, and a twist at the end. The plot, however, is tenuous to say the least and is reliant on the McGuffin for driving the story along (well, that's what McGuffin's are for, isn't it?). I very nearly gave up on it early on because it seemed to me to be going nowhere. My persistence paid off, however, and it developed (slowly, I admit) to an unputdownable page turner.
It is certainly an enjoyable read but I must admit to having felt a little let down by the very end. What had I learned? Where had the story taken me? Where was the narrative linking the start, middle and end of the story? It is the lack of a strong plot that lets the book down and the strength of the story telling that lifts it.
I certainly recommend it but at the same time suggest that you may need to work hard to maintain interest in the early scenes. (Much) better than average but not exactly top notch...
It is vastly longer than it needs to be, the plot is not the tightest, I do rather wonder if the joint authors just wrote alternate chapters. However if you want to luxuriate in this cod-Victorian style of adventure, then it is well thought out, intelligent stuff.
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