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K.W. Jeter

K.W. Jeter
(1950- )
K. W. Jeter is an American science fiction and thriller author known for his literary writing style, dark themes, and complex, paranoid characters.


Morlock Night: The first steampunk novel

Morlock Night by K.W. Jeter

K.W. Jeter’s Morlock Night (1979) is often cited as the first novel to be categorized at “steampunk.” In a 1987 letter to Locus magazine, Jeter coined the term in an effort to describe the types of stories that he and his friends Tim Powers and James P. Blaylock were writing:

Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of that era; like ‘steam-punks’, perhaps.

As Tim Powers explains in his introduction to Morlock Night, Jeter wrote this book in 1976 for a British publisher who requested ten novels about King Arthur being reincarnated to come to ... Read More

Infernal Devices: A Mad Victorian Fantasy

Infernal Devices: A Mad Victorian Fantasy by K.W. Jeter

George Dower’s father was a watchmaker, but he didn’t just make watches. Some of his special customers knew he was a genius with all sorts of gear work. When his father died, George inherited the watch shop. Unfortunately, he didn’t inherit his father’s genius. He can sometimes manage to fix a customer’s watch if he sees that a part has worn out, or something else obvious is wrong, but that’s about it. He’s completely flummoxed when a strange brown man brings in something he’s never seen before — something George’s father made. George has no idea what this infernal device does, but when he agrees to help, he’s soon embroiled in a wild adventure that involves a secret London district with fishy-looking citizens, the Royal Anti-Society, the formidable woman who heads up the Ladies Union for the Suppression of Carnal Vice, a robot doppelganger, and a man and woman who spe... Read More

Fiendish Schemes: Delightfully droll

Fiendish Schemes by K.W. Jeter

Fiendish Schemes is a recent (2013) sequel to K.W. Jeter’s classic steampunk novel Infernal Devices which I have previously reviewed. Jeter, who inadvertently coined the term “steampunk” and writes in a style similar to his friend James P. Blaylock, is probably an acquired taste. Personally, I love his droll overblown style, his eccentric and morose characters who tend to be paranoid and suicidal, and his absurd plots. If you’re a fan of Blaylock, Jack Vance, Read More