The Difference Engine (Spectra special editions) - William Gibson Surprisingly, I was left indifferent after finishing The Difference Engine. It’s co-authored by the iconic Gibson (and Sterling is no slouch either). That’s not to say it’s impressive in many ways. The Victorian-era alt history is fully realized. The authors stuff pages with 19th century slang, descriptions of gas lamp-lit London and innovative steam-brass technologies which will satisfy anyone’s Verne urge.

The plot is another story. Actually, it functions as three different stories. At times, those storylines are fragmented as well. Several times I had to reread a few pages because I thought for sure I had missed an important explanation for a transition. But, no, it just transitioned.

Looking back, I can see a weak link between the plotlines. And I suppose the conclusion provides enough explanation to deflect criticism about loose ends. But it all just felt rather unsatisfying and disjointed. I don’t know how collaborations on novels work out in reality, but the book seemed like two creative powerhouses at cross-purposes.