I just finished The Lady Astronomer by Katy O’Dowd. Very remiss of me - it has been on my kindle for ages but I’ve been doing a lot of paper, and working on my own writing projects.

This book is wonderfully difficult to define. Having said that, it is unmistakably steampunk. In fact it almost defines the genre. After that, things get a bit more difficult. There is a huge dollop of the surreal in this book. I’m reminded forcibly of Jasper fforde’s SpecOps books, and there are flavours of Roald Dahl, too.

Robot butlers and lemurs far to smart for their own good vie with seven-strong teams of vertically challenged builders and mechanical body-mods, and underlying it all are plots mysterious and duplicitous.

In short, it was one of the most ‘fun’ reads I’ve seen in a long while, without sinking to actually outing itself as comedy. Most enjoyable

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