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Clockwork Fairies

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  68 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Desiree feels the most at home with her clockwork creations, but Claude worries about all this science and Darwinist nonsense—after all, where do clockwork fairies fall in the Great Chain of Being?
Kindle Edition, 24 pages
Published (first published January 22nd 2011)
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4-5 stars. #10 on the short story personal challenge.

A tale taking place during the early to mid-1800s. So right away I knew what to expect in terms of class consciousness, manners, the ton, and all that Regency-era stuff. The lovely Desiree is an inventor, engineer, and really, an artist (her mechanical fairies!!) who isn't interested in out-snooting or even spending time with high society. She'd rather be tinkering and building, something she is clearly gifted at. She is however, involved with
I bought this book for two very important reasons:

1) The main character, Desiree, is a woman of color and there's no cover fail. In fact, the cover is just absolute art and I'd love a full-sized print;

2) It's a steampunk story. With a woman of color as heroine. And she's a smart heroine. An inventor heroine. How cool is that?

Okay, for some readers reason number one might not be all that important, but for sci-fi/fantasy readers of color such as myself, seeing our images in a positive way in thes
This was good.
Short stories often let me uninvolved; not this one. It wasn't the height of literature, but sure as hell it kept me raging against the male lead almost from the get-go. The insufferable schmuck, made me want to rearrange his stuck up mug. When the girl finaly opened her eyes, I almost danced a jig (so to speak). Good riddance Claude, and keep a can of oil,and a good mechanic at hand.

Link here:
Chris Pavesic
Jun 07, 2016 Chris Pavesic rated it it was amazing
Review—with Spoilers
John Barth described Cat Rambo’s writings as “works of urban mythopoeia” — her stories take place in a universe where chickens aid the lovelorn, Death is just another face on the train, and Bigfoot gives interviews to the media on a daily basis. Clockwork Fairies is another entry into this type of world where steampunk and magic exist side-by-side.

Clockworks Fairies is the story of Desiree, a mulatto heiress who grew up in Rambo’s reimagined Victorian Era England ostracized f
Mar 06, 2013 Seawood rated it really liked it
Where to start? There are a lot of great things about this...novelette? I think that's the right thing. Firstly I wish it had been a novel-length story. A strong, clever woman of colour is portrayed mostly very well, but the story is told from her snotty white Oxford don fiance's point of view. That's a curious, deftly-handled format but damnit, Desiree is so much more interesting than Claude can see! I don't think I've disliked a narrator so much in a very long time, I wanted to punch his light ...more
Jeremy Cox
Oct 16, 2016 Jeremy Cox rated it liked it
A steampunk / fairy crossover story - enjoyable.
For what it sets itself out to be, this is a solid story. But I almost stopped reading it because the main character, Claude frustrated me to no end. He's very much a guy of his time and just in general, a jerk...he has no respect for his fiancee's father, like absolutely none and more than a number of comments from him show that he thinks little of his own fiancee and those are only the two biggest things that bug me. If I could roll my eyes any further, they'd bounce back and fall out. So I wo ...more
This was a short story that was too short in my opinion.

I habitually shy away from the steampunk genre because of the trappings of the environment. Historical fiction is not kind to black readers. Nor women readers. This story maintained these uncomfortable truths from that period.

Women were mistreated and devalued by smug, sneering, scoffing men; white supremacy was all dolled up prettily with the selective delusion that England and her sons are the wisest and best.

Those elements were in thi
Maggie Gordon
Clockwork Fairies features a most unlikable protagonist, and it's a fantastic steampunk read! A dean of Oxford is looking for a wife, and he believes he finds a suitable mate in Desiree, a woman of colour that British society rejects because of the colour of her skin. Desiree is also an impressive engineer, making a variety of creatures from gears and metal. The dean, however, thinks that he must tame her, but loses her when confronted with a better adversary.

It's hard to write protagonists who
Feb 14, 2015 Kimikimi rated it really liked it
Shelves: tor-com
Another short story.

This was more interesting steampunk. I swear I'm not doing it on purpose, blame Tor for having a running theme lately! Anyway this one is neat, it has a very unsympathetic narrator. In fact I think anyone with ovaries is going to see this guy as pretty much the devil, while most guys who comment merely think of him as unlikeable. The other characters are quite lovely though, and it's fun to see them through such untrustworthy eyes.
Dec 30, 2012 Kate rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 06, 2016 Lucille rated it really liked it
I read this short story as part of the Altered America: Steampunk Stories short story collection, but as I saw that one could also be found on her own I decided to come and rate her individually! I'm still reading Altered America right now but I'll post a review when I'm done! also, would you look at that cover?? Gorgeous!
I liked the woman in the story, of course, it's impossible to resist a clever tinkerer. The guy was a schmuck but typical for the times. The story was fine but I didn't believe the end at all, I don't believe the guy in this story was capable of weeping, and not over this situation, he didn't get it all along, he wouldn't suddenly get it at the end.
Rosalind M
Jan 12, 2012 Rosalind M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-story
A wonderful opportunity to read a fantasy with a woman of (Earth-origin) color as the main character. I worried for Desiree's choice until the final pages, but when all was said and done, the ending was quite satisfying. And deserved.
Apr 14, 2011 Shel rated it it was amazing
Delightful fantasy. Reminds me of Rambo's "The Dead Girl's Wedding March."

Pairs well with: Rambo's collections Eyes Like Sky and Coal and Moonlight and, with Jeff VanderMeer, The Surgeon's Tale and Other Stories.
Kristýna Šuleková
Jun 08, 2011 Kristýna Šuleková rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short
I loved the narration of the story. Claude was an unsympathetic character but his was a refreshing point of view. I was happy to see that the author didn't have him change his preconceptions in the end, because that would spoil the story's credibility for me.
Dec 08, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it
As much as Claude annoyed me, I found the story enjoyable & refreshing as it brought in a brilliant woman of color and fantasy elements.
A fun little short story!
Seizure Romero
Jan 07, 2016 Seizure Romero rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy, steampunk
Originally read in The Mammoth Book of Steampunk.
This Is Not The Michael You're Looking For
A nice little short story about an intelligent, tinkering, outcast woman and her society-driven beau.
Simon rated it really liked it
Jul 27, 2012
Brandie rated it it was amazing
Apr 14, 2016
Drew rated it really liked it
Apr 27, 2011
Thomas Shaffer
Thomas Shaffer rated it really liked it
Aug 08, 2014
Brandi rated it it was amazing
Nov 01, 2015
anete rated it really liked it
Jul 21, 2016
Chris Hyde
Chris Hyde rated it really liked it
Mar 29, 2011
Mord rated it did not like it
Feb 08, 2016
Janice rated it really liked it
Jul 14, 2014
Mark Rosenthal
Mark Rosenthal rated it really liked it
Aug 16, 2013
Blake Liddell
Blake Liddell rated it it was amazing
Dec 17, 2014
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F&SF writer Cat Rambo lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest. Her short story collection, EYES LIKE SKY AND COAL AND MOONLIGHT, was a 2010 Endeavor Award finalist. A third collection, NEAR + FAR, appeared in 2012 from Hydra House. She has been shortlisted for an Endeavour Award, Locus Award, World Fantasy Award and most recently the Nebula Award. Her debut novel, BEASTS OF TABAT, appeared i ...more
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