Without an introduction an interviewer asks Bruce Sterling and William Gibson about their book Difference Engine, and Gibson says that he and Sterling began discussing the subject matter before they decided to do a book. Gibson describes the experience of seeing a portion of a reconstructed Babbage machine in London. They discuss the details of the process of writing and planning. They discuss the relationship of the reader to the text in Difference Engine. Asked if it is easier “to invent the future or reinvent the past,” Sterling found it more difficult, Gibson found it easier. They discuss the historical language they researched and used. They reused characters from Disraeli’s novels, but some characters are based on real people, like Mori Arinori. Gibson discusses Virtual Light and talks about his movie projects. He is interested in Hollywood culture, “which is as close to my imagined future than anything else I have ever seen.” On the next tape they say that they took their instruments for scanning the future and pointed them at the past instead. The cyberpunk label, Sterling says, was applied by journalists, and he was worried that the label would mean that what they were doing was dead. The interviewer asks where they see “science fiction going.” Gibson says “there’s a bit more room now” for “people to do the oddball, off-the-wall stuff that I enjoy.” Sterling says he “read a lot of trash sci-fi when I was a kid." Sterling discusses Babbage and his history. They think they started talking about Babbage in 1983. They kept urging each other to write the book, but finally realized “it was a job” for two people. “I don’t think we could have done this without word processors,” says Sterling, who explains how they sent floppy disks back and forth. The interviewer asks if they are comfortable with the cyberpunk label, and Sterling says it does not slow them down. Asked why neither “has felt the urge” to write a “realistic article,” Gibson says he would have to use the popular “toolkit,” and he is not comfortable with that, and Sterling says his next book will be nonfiction (The Hacker Crackdown). Asked what science fiction writers they read, Gibson answers Burroughs, Ballard, Thomas Pynchon, and James Branch Cabell. They point out that they did not use the usual fictional devices, such as a conventional plot, in Difference Engine. They have “no immediate plans” to work together again; there will be no sequel to Difference Engine. They discuss sequels in science fiction, and digital sharecropping, and their friendship. They talk about their audience. Asked where the term “cyberpunk” came from, Sterling says that writer Bruce Bethke wrote a story called “Cyberpunk,” but Gardner Dozois popularized the term.