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By William Gibson

Los angeles computing device à différences (titre unique : the variation Engine) est un roman de William Gibson et Bruce Sterling publié en 1990. C'est une uchronie et un célèbre exemple de steampunk.

1855 : les machines à différences, ces ordinateurs composés de roues dentées, de bielles et de leviers, mus par los angeles vapeur et inventés par Charles Babbage sont au cœur de l. a. société industrielle anglaise. Des transports sous-terrestres sillonnent Londres en proie à l. a. toxins. Le célèbre Derby oppose des vapomobiles, machines à vapeur de course.

Lord Byron est le leading ministre de Sa majesté l. a. reine Victoria du Royaume-Uni. Byron, chef du parti radical qui a installé un système méritocratique, gouverne l'Empire britannique sur des principes scientifiques et industrialistes.

Ada Byron, sa fille, génie des mathématiques qui a aidé Babagge dans los angeles belief des machines, est surnommée « l. a. reine des machines », mais est en proie à une habit aux jeux de hasard; elle a de mauvaises fréquentations.

Edward « Léviathan » Mallory, l'explorateur découvreur du Brontosaure en Amérique du nord, permet à girl Ada d'échapper au capitaine Swing et sa complice. Il se retrouve alors en ownership d'un mystérieux paquet de cartes mécanographiques que convoitaient les deux criminels. Les ennuis de Mallory commencent, on tente de le discréditer et même de le tuer.

Alors qu'une canicule s'abat sur Londres, le capitaine Swing fomente des émeutes de grande ampleur pour abattre le pouvoir des radicaux et libérer los angeles société des machines. Avec l'aide de Sybil Gerard, femme déchue, fille d'un célèbre agitateur qui poussait à los angeles destruction des machines et mort sur l'échafaud, et de Laurence Oliphant, diplomate ou plutôt espion de los angeles reine, il va commencer à comprendre quel est le sens des mystérieuses cartes.

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Aligned with the alien emissary, the US government is portrayed as beyond what the alien describes as the ‘petty squabbles’ and ‘childish jealousies and suspicions’ of the Earth, but, equally, as powerless in this situation. Thwarted in his attempts to meet world leaders, Klaatu decides to break free from the confines of the hospital room in which he has been placed and, masquerading as a human being, wanders among the people of the city in order to ‘become familiar with the basis of (their) strange unreasoning attitudes’.

A: Let me give you two of several responses that I have to that. One is simply this . . if a short story is taken to be blown up into a blockbuster film then it’s not very likely to be faithful to the story. Why should it be? In any case there is 23 SCIENCE FICTION CINEMA always the difficulty of the translation from the written medium into film. It’s no good expecting that they’re just going to film your story. They use it as a basis and that’s fine. When I wrote the story in 1969, at that time computers were fairly new and there were theories propagated by many people that our dreams were like a computer downloading the day’s events.

Steven Spielberg, 2001] is based upon? A: I’ve been forced of course by the unexpected event of the film to reconsider the story. C: How do you feel about the film? A: Let me give you two of several responses that I have to that. One is simply this . . if a short story is taken to be blown up into a blockbuster film then it’s not very likely to be faithful to the story. Why should it be? In any case there is 23 SCIENCE FICTION CINEMA always the difficulty of the translation from the written medium into film.

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La machine à différences by William Gibson

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