The Difference Engine
Marxist Industry: The Difference Engine’s Chronicle of Revolution 12th Grade
The Difference Engine, cowritten by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, imagines an alternate historical outcome during the industrial era of Europe in the late 19th century. The book follows three characters with different stories that intertwine respectively with their relation to the Kinotrope cards, a technological innovation that guarantees societal power to the holder. The first character introduced to us, Sybil Gerard, acts as a prostitute and thief in order to avoid her connection to her father, a former Luddite riot leader who met his demise. She accepts Mick Radley's request to become an apprentice adventuress because of his wealth and promises to erase her past. The first part of the book sets up the political atmosphere as Mick involves Sybil in his relations with Houston while also introducing the importance of the Kinotrope cards that connect all three stories. We follow her storyline until Swing, an antagonist in pursuit of the cards, murders Mick. We then follow Edward "Leviathan" Mallory, an acknowledged savant and paleontologist who discovered the brontosaurus in this time setting. Although the authors assert Mallory’s humble and turbulent background, they immediately change his status from common man to...
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