Melissa Proffitt's Reviews > Infernal Devices

Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter
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Jun 14, 12

bookshelves: science-fiction, steampunk, alternate-history
Read in June, 2012

I went into this knowing that it was a very early example of steampunk fiction, so if the science/steampunkiness was lacking, I wasn't going to mark it down for that. And it turned out that the science/steampunkiness was very good! Lots of clockwork things and people, and you can tell that Jeter came out of the same primordial puddle as Tim Powers. The plot was also pretty good. It was the characters that killed it for me.

Basically, the hero, George, is a gormless panty-waisted wuss of the first order, complete with spine of jelly and brain of pudding. He spends most of the book stumbling into all sorts of trouble because he can't learn from the past. I can understand him being out of his depth at first, but he continues to be confused and useless whenever something weird happens. I was also frustrated that his adventure was a long series of misunderstandings in which he could never explain the truth. When it happens to Bertie Wooster, it's funny, because Bertie at least tries to act on his own initiative, but George is just as dumb as a bag of hammers. And this is more or less the entirety of the story--George stumbles into a situation in which he is either accused of something he didn't do, or is manipulated by someone else, and hilarity doesn't ensue.

There's a bit of authorial manipulation near the end, when we learn (view spoiler). Between this and George's complete wussiness, I couldn't enjoy the book, though I'm not enough turned off that I won't read any of Jeter's other books if I happen upon them.
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