Sunday, January 13, 2013

Clockwork Fagin by Cory Doctorow

Clockwork Fagin, Cory Doctorow.  [free sample from] Steampunk ! ed. by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant.  Somerville Mass: Candlewick Press, 2011.  e-book, 35 pps. 

Clockwork Fagin is a dark steampunk story about kids disabled by machinery, a twisted Master Grinder, Saint Agatha's Home for the Rehabilitation of Crippled Children, and a folk hero by the name of Monty.  There are a few ineffective nuns and a couple of night watchmen and a bobby or two that make appearances.  The real glory belong to the children.

The first two nights at St. Aggie's involve being beaten to a pulp by Grinder and then sent to a solitary cell with the rats.  The stripping of any rights such as the right to free association, the right to safe housing and schooling, the right to have competent medical treatment are reminiscent of what happens at some present-day teen torture facilities immediately upon admission.  The other kids are compliant because they have to be in order to survive.  Monty is not.

Monty blows up the order of things and seizes the power that the Grinder had over the crippled kids for far too long.  He starts a revolution and momentum is built as the other kids join in.  People in positions of some authority outside of St. Aggie's are dupped.

sapphoq reviews says: This is a dark steampunk short story that works.  The steampunk setting is integral and crucial to the telling of the tale and not some post script.  Anyone who speaks out publicly against D.R.M. has my vote as a decent human being.  Doctorow has been a steady vocal activist against the craziness threatening to overtake us all by the Intellectual Property Monopoly.  His writing is most excellent.  Some freebies can be had by perusing his website:   If you are not familiar with Cory Doctorov, you owe it to yourself to check him out.  @doctorow on Twitter. Clockwork Fagin is most highly recommended.

No comments: