Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Difference Engine

At the beginning of the year one of my silent resolutions was to read a book of fiction each month. I read a ton but over time I have found that I read fiction less and less. For better or worse, I decided to complete my entire reading of everything written by William Gibson, by reading The Difference Engine which he co-authored with Bruce Sterling.

The premise of the book is that Charles Babbage's inventions (The difference engine and the analytical engine) were actually built in the early 1800s and accelerated the computer revolution by over 100 years.

I LOVED the premise and I think I would have been more excited by the book had it dwelled more on the historical implications in an overt fashion. That said, it was a good read even though I did it in bursts over a month or two. It is certainly not my favorite Gibson book (Neuromancer, Burning Chrome, Pattern Recognition) but if you are interested in possible historical alternatives I would say it is time well spent.

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