by Ward Wagher.
A different America. A different world. In the New York City of 1967, the primary motive power is steam. Electricity was unknown as was its many applications. In this parallel universe, a cosmic happening destroyed the committee that laboured over the new constitution in Philadelphia. And a very different nation emerged an American Empire. Patrick McNeel, a craftsman of small steam engines in the city is invited to repair the mechanical computing devices utilized by the American emperor. A new friend, the head of the Imperial Computational Bureau suggests some advances in the prevailing technology that intrigues Patrick. Steam power may not be the pinnacle of mankind’s achievements. He turns to invent devices that may shake the foundations of Imperial American Civilization. Patrick unwittingly sets into motion a chain of events that threaten his life and the lives of his family. These hidden forces seem intent on destroying any advances in American automation and the economic growth that depend upon it.