By K. W. Jeter
The genre label “steampunk” was coined by author K. W. Jeter in 1986 to describe his alternative-history Victorian fantasy Infernal Devices. Fiendish Schemes is the rollicking, lushly imagined sequel to that novel, following George Dower through a crazy adventure that involves the usual steampunk cast of eccentrics, secret societies and conspiracies, along with a whole networked economy of complex machinery whirring and clicking behind the scenes. The result is an irresistible mix of politics, technology, and nonsense that kicks off with a visit from a vicar of whales (that’s not a typo) and a trip aboard a steam-powered walking lighthouse. And as incredible as all this seems, it keeps getting better.