Re: Difference Engine (Was: Hypatia inventions)

John P. Satta (
Thu, 13 Mar 1997 22:46:29 -0500

On 12:44 AM 3/14/97 +1000 Damien Broderick wrote:

>At 10:07 PM 3/12/97 -0500, John Satta (that's me) wrote:
>>Gibson and Sterling collaborated on _The Difference Engine_ which is
>>referred to as "steampunk". [snip] The ending was a disappointment in the
>usual Gibsonian
>>mold - vague murky conspiratorial goings-on I found impenetrable.

On 12:44 AM 3/14/97 +1000 Damien Broderick wrote:

>The key is in realising that the book is narrated by the AI - the Analytical
>Engine. Moreover, this AI is a kind of quantum consciousness, so that the
>story involves a series of superposed alternatives. I was uncertain of this
>interpretation, so I asked Bill Gibson, and he said, `Of course'.

Really? I totally missed that! How did you figure that out? Was there a
clue or tipoff that I missed?


Are you pulling my leg?

That explanation makes sense (I think). Is it also the explanation for the
end of _Neuromancer_ ? Unfortunatekly Occam's Razor tells me that they
didn't have a coherent way to end the story and it just ran out of steam
(pun intended). The other stuff sounds like justification after the fact to
me. YMMV


John P. Satta

work email:
home email: