William Gibson & Bruce Sterling – The Difference Engine (1990)

by vyh

“It gave me a turn to see that long panel back in Fleet Street, mounted in front of the Evening Telegraph, clacking away like sixty, over the heads of the crowd! ‘Trains Closed As Sand-Hogs Strike,’ the thing said. ‘Parliament Decries State of Thames.’”

“What’s wrong with that?” Fraser asked.

“It doesn’t say anything,” Mallory said. “Who in Parliament? What state of the Thames, specifically? What did Parliament say about it? Wise things or foolish things?”

Fraser grunted.

“There is a wicked pretense that one has been informed. But no such thing has truly occurred! A mere slogan, an empty litany. No arguments are heard, no evidence is weighed. It isn’t news at all, only a source of amusement for idlers.”

“Some might say it’s better for idlers to know a bit than nothing at all.”

“Some might be damned fools, then, Fraser.”