The Constantine Affliction is easy one of the best titles Night Shade Books has published in 2012 and stands as an absolute best practices for the legion of writers currently writing in the urban fantasy and/or steampunk genres. T. Aaron Payton, or Tim Pratt as he’s more widely known, has given readers a reasonably well executed mystery wrapped in a historical and science fictional gauntlet that challenges the too often rose colored portrayal of the Victorian Era. Oh, and it has a few things to say about today too.
Set in 1864, thirteen years after Henry Cole’s Great Exhibition, London is in upheaval. Alchemical lights brighten the night and automated carriages litter the streets. Amid this emerging technology a new affliction strikes the city’s denizens, killing some and leaving others with transformed gender. Evidence suggesting the disease is transmitted sexually, leading promiscuous men to satisfy themselves with clockwork courtesans, a new design in the technological petri dish that London’s become.… Read the rest