The first neo-victorian novel by the man who coined the phrase 'steampunk', I had high hopes for Morlock Night. Having read Time Machine the summer before last, this book presented a three-fold opportunity. It allowed me to see how Arthuriana would do in a Steampunk setting. It gave me another unauthorized sequel to a Wells book for comparison (see my earlier review of Edison's Conquest of Mars). Finally it gave me a view of the original conception of steampunk.
Technofantasy: 18 This one is hard. With the exception of the original Time Machine, all of the tech here isn't even crypto-magical, it's outright magic.
Neo-Victorianism: 15 I have been mulling over how to deal with Neo-Victorianism now that I'm out of actual novels from the victorian era. I finally came to the realization, that this factor can be summed up to how well the book creates a suspension of disbelief. Does a book convince me that this is an alternate 19th century, or something like it? It came as a shock to me that this book did not. Everything felt modern.
Retrofuturism: 22 This is where this book shines, it takes a real Victorian novel, and extrapolates. I see hints of Robert E. Howard, Nazism, and wrapped in a idea of a defense of Christendom.
Miscellaneous: 8 for arthuriana
It's actually hard to talk about this book without giving everything away.
Morlock Nights starts at the end of Wells', The Time Machine, literally. It kicks off in the study, and follows characters from the book on their way home. From there it pulls in Arthuriana, Atlantis, and a dozen other things.
Now as for how this stacks up against another Well's homage. It's not in the same class. While it feels like a junior work, Jeter's skill is much greater than that of Serviss. I am genuinely curious about what happens to the characters, and how the multiple plotlines can be finally woven together.
Finally this book gave me an fascinating view into nascent steampunk with many assumptions of what steampunk should be getting tossed out the window. This feels like a junior novel, but shows real creativity and belongs on every steampunk's bookshelf.