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The Difference Engine

November 8, 2010

“A classic – something everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.” – Mark Twain

And that’s about all I have to say about The Difference Engine. William Gibson was supposed to have almost single-handedly launched the steampunk genre with this book (though some people would make arguments about Morlock Night).  The Difference Engine is for steampunk what The Lord of the Rings is for high fantasy.

But while Tolkien is more awesome than any of his imitators, Gibson feels like he’s dealing in clichés, even if he did invent them.  There’s the plucky young woman who defies Victorian gender mores, for one.  And the hotshot computer engineer.  I quit around page 30 when I found out that in this alternate history – gasp! – Texas is its own country.

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Not going to be coming out with another review for a while.  I’m onto Anathem now, and if you know anything about Neal Stephenson … this is going to take me a long time.

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