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YMMV: The Difference Engine
  • Alternate History Wank: Although the Engines and associated steam technologies needed a stronger version of the then nascent British industry to work, the history of the rest of the world is accelerated as through magic, with subtle hints at the 20th century developments:
    • Japan has her own revolution in the early 1850s, transforms overnight in a technological society, acquires her own Engine (even the Meiji Revolution still took almost 3 decades in Real Life);
    • the Union and Confederacy split 10 years earlier (without war - something which no politician would have accepted back then);
    • neither Union nor Confederacy show any territorial expansionism, leaving the Brits to explore the central American lands before them;
    • Karl Marx raises himself to fame as a philosopher despite having no conditions to breed sponsors and a disenfranchised working class as he witnessed in Real Life;
    • France becomes an Empire at the same moment as in Real Life and they still aim to conquer Mexico, just 10 years to quickly;
    • Despite the oft-repeated penchant of the ruling party for lavish public construction and infrastructure, The Great Stink still happens, even earlier than in Real Life.
      • Though in this case it's due to pollution from the factories instead of inadequate sewerage systems.
    • Someone obviously never thought of the butterfly effect.
  • Inferred Holocaust: the steampunk dream of a Victorian information age is somewhat deconstructed by the heavy hints that they're using it to catalogue people for the purposes of the then-popular doctrine of eugenics. The ending (set in the 1990's) implies that humanity only exists as simulated information.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The "Rad" nickname and the term "Rad Lord" are puns for the late 19th century Rand Lords, South African mining tycoons. Who were risen from the commoners like Sterling and Gibson's Lords.
    • Brian Mallory recalls a Hindu water-boy, whom he clearly holds in high regard, from his time in India. It is a good guess that he was named Gunga Din.
  • Ye Goode Olde Days: cross with Jive Turkey: only "Dandy Mick" and Sybil use the flowery language of the early-Victorian times, known to the modern public from period literature and the speeches of Gladstone and his peers. Mallory, most male characters from Engine-punchers to lowly workers, Disraeli himself use a language similar to that of modern men.

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