K.W. Jeter has always been an idiosyncratic writer, so it’s somewhat ironic that he’s become so associated with Steampunk due to his novels Morlock Nights and Infernal Devices. It’s true he did come up with the term “Steampunk,” offered half-humorously in a Locus Magazine letter to the editor in 1987 to describe those novels and the work of Tim Powers and James Blaylock. However, his work before and after Morlock and Infernal has been decidedly darker and more transgressive.
Recently, Angry Robot’s gorgeous reissues of Morlock Nights and Infernal Devices placed Jeter back at the center of the current Steampunk craze, recently documented in books like The Steampunk Bible and 1,001 Steampunk Creations. But Jeter has also published a new novel, The Kingdom of Shadows that shares another side of this hard-to-pin down writer. Omnivoracious caught up with Jeter recently to talk briefly about his current fiendish schemes…
Amazon.com: What are you working on?
K.W. Jeter: Right now I’m working on the long-delayed sequel to Infernal Devices. Titled Fiendish Schemes it’s contracted to Tor Books. Hopefully, people should be able to read it sometime next year. Of course, there’s an intimidation factor involved in picking up a subgenre that I’ve let lie fallow for nearly a quarter-century; in that time, there have been a lot of really good writers who have been working in that particular Victorian retro-fantasy field, and they’ve produced a lot of entertaining, interesting books. So the competition has definitely upped its game, so to speak.
Amazon.com: How do you perceive your role in creating the Steampunk subgenre?