Yet another geek blog

1 December 2010

The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne, #1) by Mark Hodder

A flawed masterpiece.

I need to start by saying that this is an extremely enjoyable book. A real page turner. The characters are vivid, their world well drawn and the pace of the story never slackens. I look forwards to the next instalment.

But...

But the author seems to have stumbled into Science Fiction without any understanding of science and this frustratingly weakens the book. The re-imagined Victorian era is peppered with utterly random creations - brain transplants, coal powered helicopters, dogs that understand postal addresses - that have had no effect on general society and have not been developed from anything. Indeed, they are just 'invented' as needed by individual scientists. The culmination of this is a character who has had a clockwork 'analytical engine' grafted into his brain to improve his intelligence. This would be a wonderful image in a Lewis Carroll style fantasy or an allegorical story. But seriously asking the reader to consider that a brass-cog desk calculator could be attached to a human brain (let alone that either would be improved by this) undoes too much of the author's good work elsewhere.

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posted by Yet Another Geek @ Wednesday, December 01, 2010

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