Fiendish Schemes

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Whether you’ll like Fiendish Schemes by the redoubtable K W Jeter will depend on a number of factors. The marketers trumpet this as steampunk and, in a way, they are right. But it’s not going to be what you expect from that label.

Some twenty-five years ago, Jeter wrote a Victorian romp. It was very amusing. This is a type of sequel but there are differences. The first is the language. It’s written in the style of a first-person Victorian peregrination, i.e., our hero describes his journey from the sea side to various locations in and around central London. Some of you may find this a deterrent.

Then we come to the surreal or absurdist use of technology to explore a very different alternate reality or fantasy version of Britain. The steam is geothermal and its effect on the countryside and the fabric of London buildings is horrendous. The machines and their relationship to humanity is also radical. And then there are the slightly stolid debates which satirize many contemporary preoccupations. Although it lacks the humorous spark of the earlier book, I thought the overall effect very interesting even though the debating goes on a little too long.


Reviewed By:

Author K. W. Jeter
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 352 pages
Publisher Tor Books
Publish Date 2013-Oct-15
ISBN 9780765330949
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2014
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy
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