cover image Infernal Devices: A Mad Victorian Fantasy

Infernal Devices: A Mad Victorian Fantasy

K. W. Jeter. St. Martin's Press, $16.95 (282pp) ISBN 978-0-312-00706-5

The devices of the titlea TV set that tunes in the future, a machine that can split the earth in twoare the inventions of a Victorian genius who dies without divulging their secrets. His respectable, unimaginative son George thinks he's inheriting a simple watchmaking shop, but soon the real nature of his father's work becomes clear. Because none of his father's clientele believes George's protestations of innocence and ignorance, he's caught between the free-thinking tinkerers of the Royal Anti-Society and the repressive zealots of the Godly Army; he's hung in effigy by the Ladies Union for the Suppression of Carnal Vice and pummeled in person by ""brothel bullies''; he even meets a clockwork man with his face. Jeter works strenuously to live up to his subtitle but his book is neither mad nor fantastic enough to be anything but a pale followup to the work in this vein by Tim Powers and James Blaylock. (April 20)