Review: Like Clockwork
Victoria Waters is a Society debutante turned inventor, part of the team that created the clockwork automatons that have replaced much of Britain’s working-class in various industries. Originally intending for her creation to only replace those working in dangerous jobs or hazardous conditions, Victoria has been growing more and more disturbed as the cheap and efficient automatons have become a greater part of everyday life – particularly now that reports are coming to light of the automatons breaking down or malfunctioning and causing harm to humans. She is on her way to air these problems, in fact, when she is kidnapped by an agent of the Brotherhood, a group opposed to the use of automatons and concerned about their impact on society.
Dash, the agent in question, is a former thief turned bookseller’s apprentice turned bartender, currently unemployed thanks to Victoria’s clockwork automatons. He is surprised to find Victoria sympathetic to their cause, and a bond quickly grows between them, despite their differences of class and profession.
This one was difficult to sum up because, to be honest, not very much happens. I love both the setting and idea behind Like Clockwork, but I dearly wish it had been longer, to give more time for both the characters and the plot to develop. As it was, the few plot elements felt rushed and isolated from the relationship developing between Victoria and Dash, and the relationship itself lacked a lot of depth. There is an explicit sex scene tacked onto the end in an epilogue – unfortunately, the sex felt obligatory rather than a natural progression of the story, and the short epilogue contained more plot, sadly glossed-over, than the main story did.
As it stands, this is a sweet short story that has the potential to be developed into something much greater, but it’s just not there yet.