I try to keep up with all the SF award-winners (this has just won the Philip K. Dick Award), but while they're mostly inventive and worthy, they're often not much fun. Well, "Spring Heeled Jack" is certainly inventive, and no doubt worthy, but most of all it's a ton of fun - an absolute delight from start to finish. This really was a book I couldn't bear to put down, and finished in two large sittings within 24 hours of its arrival on the doormat from Amazon.
The plot is terrific, so I'm not going to give too much away. Suffice it to say: take a Victorian - no, make that Albertian, setting - and mix in large dollops of H. G. Wells, Conan Doyle, Philip José Farmer, Charles Dickens, Michael Moorcock (surely the book's Godfather, and acknowledged by Mark Hodder), Jack Finney, Robert Heinlein, and lots and lots of others, get your history right so that you can change it with impunity and keep the reader with you, stir it all together into a potent mix, and whoosh! When you get (all too quickly) to the end, you can only take your hat off to the author - a bravura performance, and a worthy award-winner.
And it's so funny too: see if you can stop yourself laughing out loud at the messenger parakeets. Yes, messenger parakeets.
Great stuff: get it now!