Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Diamond Age, Incarnate

Quick note: I came across this last night and don't know if it's shown up anywhere else, but I think it's one of those great examples of how life imitates fiction.

Ever read The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson?

Well here it is, coming to life. They're taking Charles Babbage's Difference Engine and nano-izing it: making chips (probably out of diamond, no less) that are based on mechanical principles rather than electrical ones.

Hooray for fiction writers!


Unknown said...

It reminds me more of The Difference Engine, by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling.

spacedlaw said...

That was a thoroughly enjoyable book.
I do find the mechanical chips more reminiscent of Stephenson's Cryptonomicon but the machine is amazing.

theskyfullofdust said...

I've read the Diamond Age and thought it was a great book, quite inspirational at the time. Read most of his others too.

This is- just to let you know- proving a good place for researching my next book.

Anonymous said...

The Diamond Age is far and away my favorite of Neal Stepheson's books - but I agree that The Difference Engine is more appropriate (albeit, not nearly as recommended).

Heather McDougal said...

Oh, I disagree. The Difference Engine was about what would the world have looked like if Charles Babbage's device had been produced, and computers come early to the world. The Diamond Age is all about nanotechnology, and what life would be like if tiny machines did our work for us.

Up until now we've had tiny microchips, but this is the first time it's looked like tiny mechanical entities, of the type described in the Diamond Age, will be entering our lives. Perhaps soon we'll be able to "grow" whole cities like the ones Stephenson describes...?