The Difference Engine
William Gibson's and Bruce Sterling's novel "The Difference Engine" has interesting allegorical significance with regard to living in an information-oriented and -controlled society.
In the novel, Charles Babbage managed to get the funding he needed to complete his Difference and Analytical Engines. This jump-starts the Information Age about 125 years too early.
-- -- (Note: I'm placing the start of our "real" information age at 1975, give-or-take, as it is around this time that medium-sized and larger businesses/government agencies started to make significant investments in minicomputers, mainframes, and process automation.)
By the time the 1850s roll in, the UK and French governments are using steam-powered, punch-card-programmed, mechanical computers to conduct surveillance on a massive scale. France has grown into a world-wide Empire, having won the Battle of Waterloo, and the UK's peerage system has morphed into a technocracy.
Very interesting read, and I highly recommend it to El' Reg's readership.