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The Difference Engine

The Difference Engine is an alternate history novel by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, which posits a Victorian England where Charles Babbage's difference engine (an early analog computer), is mass produced and profoundly alters society. The action of the story follows a paleontologist and various other 'savants' who are on the trail of a mysterious set of reportedly very powerful computer punch cards.

In the novel, the British Empire is even more powerful than in reality thanks to the power of steam driven computers, and Japan is one of its colonies, and the United States has broken apart into several smaller nations.

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