The perfect ucronic novelMany people I know consider The Difference Engine a rather boring and uninspired effort, a low point in the career of two great writers. I strongly disagree. To me, this is the perfect ucronic novel. Starting with a single divergence point from the historical reality (Charles Babbage manages to build his difference engine, a sort of steam-powered computer), and going on from there in very logical steps Gibson and Sterling manage to build a world very different from our own, but resembling it like a deforming mirror. Sterling's knowledge of technology and Gibson's quirky narrative complement eachh other beatifully, giving us a compelling story that manages to say a lot, by comparison, about us and our future. To me, a masterpiece.