The Difference Engine

Marxist Industry: The Difference Engine’s Chronicle of Revolution 12th Grade

The Difference Engine, co-written 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 intertwines 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 Kino 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. Although the authors assert his humble and turbulent background of a common man, they immediately change his status to wealthy and reputed. He becomes the...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1496 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10482 literature essays, 2647 sample college application essays, 555 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in