It is small wonder that Babbage would develop an almost cult-like following among the admirers of Jules Verne and Victorian science fiction. Whole series of science fiction books have been written in which Charles Babbage or his machines play a prominent role. His legacy is particularly embraced by the modern Steampunk enthusiasts. Steampunk, as I have come to un-derstand it, is a collection of science fiction en-thusiasts who im-agine what the world would be like if the Victorians had em-braced steam in-stead of petroleum. Mostly, it’s a chance to play dress-up and take selfies. In the virtual world of Second Life, the Steampunk crowd live in (where else?) the village of New Babbage. And, of course, there is even a group of Christian Steampunkers. I mean, why wouldn’t there be, right? Ever since I saw the Christian motorcycle gang “Born Again to Be Wild,” nothing surprises me.
Steampunk enthusiasts seem to love all things retro-mechanical, and the more clockwork-like, the better. Think Sherlock Holmes meets Mad Max. They also love top hats, hoop skirts, corsets, and goggles. Lots of goggles.
Perhaps, they would appreciate the fact that in 1991 a model was constructed by the London Science Museum of a “difference” machine, using Babbage’s original plans.
It is reported to work perfectly.