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The Difference Engine

One of my favorite steampunk literary devices is the difference engine, a mechanical computer that realizes the designs of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace. Well, someone has actually built one! Okay, they've built two. Behold, Robinson's Difference Engine! As if that's not enough, he's also built a differential analyzer. There's a closeup of the helical gearbox that is a thing of beauty for any gearhead.

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( 1 sutra — Your wisdom )
brainstormfront
May. 30th, 2004 09:55 am (UTC)
L.E. Modesitt
Can't recall if I recommended these to you or not, but L.E. Modessitt did a trilogy of alternate world tales that are well worth reading and figure difference engines prominently.

of course, it also is a world where the British lost their foothold on the American colonies, so the bulk of N.A. is under Dutch control and split with the Spanish and an entire country founded by Joseph Smith's Mormons.

Oh, and did I mention that ghosts exist here and are the driving force of the series? Seems if you use massive WMDs (or even cannons), the extreme violence of the deaths creates ghosts, and since no one wants to deal with all of them, they simply go to the negotiating table rather than fight large battles.

And yes, while it seems I've strayed, difference engines (and steam-powered cars) are standard equipment throughout the books. I think you'd like them, guy (and fellow readers).

OF TANGIBLE GHOSTS
GHOST OF THE REVELATOR
GHOST OF THE WHITE KNIGHTS

Fascinating world and good stories in it with great twists on world events and technological developments...

SES
( 1 sutra — Your wisdom )

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