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Author Topic: The Difference Engine  (Read 3622 times)
Nadya Lev
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« on: February 26, 2007, 03:18:54 am »

OK, 'fess up.

Who's read it? Who loved it? Who's read it and didn't love it? I read it and loved many aspects of it, especially the characters and the descriptions! Left me wishing for a little more, plot-wise.

What was your favorite part? I loved the Japanese robot woman made out of bamboo and whalebone springs.
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Honky-Tonk Dragon
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2007, 03:30:05 am »

Read it, loved it (two of my favorite authors collaborating) but it's been quite awhile.
Would have to pick it up again to really discuss intelligently...
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2007, 03:41:13 am »

I've read it, but there could've been more explanation about what those "rogue cards" were for though  Sad

(Would make for an interesting film imho)
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2007, 03:48:58 am »

Read it - I don't know if I loved it, but I definitely liked it. I didn't really have favorite part, it was more all the little asides - such as the credit-machine and the Y.M.A.A. - that really drove home the historical difference (pun intended  Grin) that made the story for me.

Hg - The impression I got was that the cards were indirectly - or maybe even directly - responsible for the emergent A.I on the last couple of pages.
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2007, 04:02:22 am »

Working towards a Mechanical Terminator(TM) eventuality, sort of idea? Shocked
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Cory
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2007, 05:36:36 am »

I have a copy, and I tried reading it. But when I got a chapter in and I didn't even understand what the Hell the conversations were about, I thought that it might require more attention on my part that I was prepared to give.
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TheClockWorkWasteland
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2007, 07:10:46 am »

I very much enjoyed the book, but I must agree that I found the plot to be weak towards the end.  I too thought that the rogue cards linked to the computer intelligence at the end of the book, but I wonder what Gibson was trying to do with this.  It's hard to tell if he wanted to leave it so open-ended, or if something else was at play.
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2007, 05:02:47 pm »

I've read it. Much like the rest of Gibson's work, I sort of enjoyed it, but can't say I loved it.
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2007, 05:54:16 pm »

Read it, loved it, don't recall half of what you guys are talking about so it's probably time to read it again.

I wonder if it's available in books-on-wax-cylinder format ?  I like to listen while biking and I think I've figured out how to keep the wax-man from skipping.

JvS.
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Nadya Lev
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2007, 06:58:53 am »

Simon, that's the impression that I got as well. That those cards actually contained the AI, waiting to be run/unleashed.

Nadya
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Col. Stanley Gryphon
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« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2007, 01:50:52 am »

I read it. Spurred onto looking for more steampunk-esque stuff.

Glad to know that other people feel that the rogue cards and what appeared to be an A.I. are related, especially as it was not too well done towards the end of novel.
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Datamancer
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2007, 06:24:23 pm »

I read it long ago and remember being disappointed by it. I got all excited about it becuase...come on...Sterling AND Gibson?! I think I remember the ending sucking.

Then again, I don't remember any of this stuff you've all mentioned here, so it's probably about time to dust it off. Maybe I'll have a renewed appreciation for it.

I just wish Gibson could finish a book without falling back on "Deus Ex A.I." all the time.
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2007, 12:37:46 am »

I read it when it first came out and agree with Datamancer - disappointing, because Messrs Gibson & Stirling were held in such esteem at the time, but it was such a departure, and they did wear their rather obsessive research on their sleeves...
But one's tastes in technology mature, and it is time to get it out again. The only thing that sticks in the mind these long years is the steam gurney derby, which was all rather amusing.

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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2007, 01:08:23 am »

Tried reading it, ooh, three or four times; I found it intriguing but impenetrable! And I've read, and enjoyed immensely, Catch 22 three times, so it's not as if I can't read and appreciate the impenetrable!

I've got a proof copy somewhere, I'll have to dig it out and have another go.
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daeudi_454
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2007, 06:24:29 am »

Read it, loved it until the end.

I caught on early that many of the chapter intros were narrations (past perfect tense?)by the Grand Napolean, which had become an AI.

Fell in,love with the idea of 'Clackers'...
and have a design for a 640 by 480 clacker 'monitor' (B&W, color was too much of a nightmare).

It was very well written, right until the end- at that point the plot fell apart, too much was left unsettled, and instead of a climatic moment- we are given a rambling speech by a visionary of the time about things that would not come to pass until modern days.  Huh All of which was totally unfitting for the story, and had little to do with the protagonists. The collapse of London was unseemly at best.

The epilogue's near future (in terms of the book's 'present') vision of a world run by engines was fun, but ultimately fruitless.

I really expected a better ending from WG, but the rest of the book was everything I dreamingly drooled about when I first saw the cover.
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Tel Janin
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« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2007, 06:59:54 am »

By all I've heard, the cards are a MacGuffin. What's important is what happens to them, they drive the plot along. Like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

I've not read the book so I can't be certain. I'll need to pick it up one of these days.
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daeudi_454
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« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2007, 05:34:33 pm »

By all I've heard, the cards are a MacGuffin. What's important is what happens to them, they drive the plot along. Like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

I've not read the book so I can't be certain. I'll need to pick it up one of these days.
You are correct.
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« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2007, 09:52:19 pm »

I very much enjoyed the book.  Until stated in this thread, though, I had not yet made the connection that the narrations were the Napoleon.  I figured, though, that the cards were certainly an AI, and that the humans just couldn't perceive that it wasn't damaged, but had become different.  I'm eagerly awaiting Gibson nect release, but wich that he would do something else in D.E. universe.
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