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Showing 1-10 of 55 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 183 reviews
on January 25, 2016
I just got done reading this book after it has been sitting on my shelf since I got it. I thought it was a great story. It was nice to see real historical figures of importance woven in to this complex story. I would have never thought of the magnitude a computing device described in the book could become not based on what we perceive today as the modern computing device. I don't think this book is for everyone as they need to know a bit of history before diving in to it or perhaps be inclined to investigate the historical points and persons. Gibson is great at writing and is one of my favorite authors. I wish Sterling and Gibson would write together again like this.
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on August 18, 2017
I was eager to read this due to my interest in steampunk and Babbage's computer. Its premise is interesting enough, but it was not engaging enough. I ended up losing interest, and never finished it.
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on August 19, 2017
I love Steampunk books but this one seemed a little slow for my taste
The ending wasn't what I expected either (not in the COOL! way)
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on September 23, 2012
The authors have done a great job in creating a fanciful 1855 Britain which has gone through a technological and social revolution as a result of the success of Babbage's differential engine, a mechanical computer which in reality was never perfected but had enormous potential. Whether that potential, as portayed in the book, would have resulted in digital photography and a national credit card system I'm not certain. The authors are great at creating characters and plausible scenes but the reasoning behind much of the plot is a bit dodgy. Still, a good read.
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on December 12, 2015
William Gibson always gets most of the credit for this, but Bruce Sterling seems to have a huge influence on this.
This may be the definitive piece of Steampunk fiction. I recommend it for anyone interested about the genre.
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on August 18, 2014
Each time I read this, I find something that I didn't notice on a prior reading. Little shadings that make the book so much deeper and richer. It's interesting, not having a paper book, because I can take it places I normally wouldn't take a book and read it.
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on September 21, 2012
Anticipating the steam-punk movement, Gibson and Sterling have produced a freaky alternate history of 19th century England in which the computer revolution took place more than a century early thanks to Charles Babbage's mechanical computer, the difference engine. The resulting tale portrays an information society grafted onto a blend Charles Dicken's England and the age of steam and iron. Plot lines twist and finally unravel in a uniquely Gibsonian surprise ending.
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on May 3, 2001
There's a convention in SF, honored perhaps more in the breach than in practice, that goes back to H.G. Wells: A good story _changes one thing_, and then extrapolates from there.
That convention is most relevent in the "alternate history" sub-genre. As the "hardest" of the first-wave cyberpunks, an SF fan has to expect that Gibson and Sterling would honor that core convention. So the greatest mystery of this book, for most of its length, is to figure out what the devil that one change _is_.
Since I believe I've done that -- and it's by no means obvious -- I won't spoil the fun. But I will say that it looks like much better SF once you do figure that out.
The book has many flaws, most traceable to the dual-authorship. The writing is uneven -- neither Sterling nor Gibson are chameleons, and they don't do much here to approach a common style. Characterization is uneven because, though it's a strong suit for both writers, they handle it quite differently, and seem to have different visions of the characters.
But even at its worst, this is a good novel; and it's one of the most finely realized and plausible alternative histories I've ever read.
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on April 30, 2015
This isn't William Gibson's best work in terms of plot. But the concept and the premise are brilliant.
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on October 30, 2016
Loved it. Great steampunk science fiction.
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