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Clockwork Fagin (Free Story from Steampunk!)
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Clockwork Fagin (Free Story from Steampunk!)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  565 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Imagine an alternate universe where tinkerers and dreamers craft and re-craft a world of automatons, clockworks, calculating machines, and other marvels that never were. Where scientists and schoolgirls, fair folk and Romans, intergalactic bandits, utopian revolutionaries, and intrepid orphans solve crimes, escape from monstrous predicaments, consult oracles, and hover ove ...more
Kindle Edition, 50 pages
Published September 2011
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Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
A really good short story from Doctorow. I've only recently started to read more in the steampunk genre and I found this story very interesting.

You don't really get too much information about the outside of the orphanage as this is where the vast majority of the story takes place, however, Doctorow has certainly left enough scope to make this into a full-scale novel if needs be.

Story itself is very well written (the only other thing I've read by Doctorow is Little Brother so I really am not sur
An Odd1
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, fan
Downtrodden inmate Sian O'Leary 17, originally from Hamilton, sold, like others, by impoverished parent, narrates "golden time" p91, arrival of "Monty" Montreal Montague Goldfarb, who brings brave heart, hand, and hope. Sisters of St Augustine Hospital send recovered children mutilated by machinery in steampunk Muddy York to Home for the Rehabilitation of Crippled Children run by sadistic greedy Zophar Grindersworth, who sends them out to beg, and beats them down, worse than abused dogs. He star ...more
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
This is my first experience with the steampunk genre and I liked it.

Clockwork Fagin tells the story of Sian, Monty and their fellow comrades at Saint Agatha's Home for the Rehabilitation of Crippled Children. At first they are physically and emotionally abused by Grinder, the person in charge of the orphanage. This ends with Monty's arrival who kills Grinder after his welcoming ceremony (which included "tenderizing" their flesh with the belt, followed by a night or two in the hole). After the gu
Bill Tillman
Clockwork Fagin

A bit of steampunk genius, a tale about the Full Monty (no pardon for the pun). Children in an awful orphanage where mutations are your entry ticket, revolt killing the cruel master by running a charade of a clockwork replacement. A dark tale to be sure.
Tim Baer
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steampunk
Cory Doctorow once again delivers the goods! His cyberpunk books are always well worth the read, but I was slightly concerned when he took on a Steampunk story. Worthless worry. He mixes just the right amount of steam with the proper amount of punk--and then sets it in an alternate Canada.

If the rest of the stories in this collection are half as good as this single, it will be a treasured addition to my Kindle library.

This *is* just a single story selected from an anthology, so if that is not yo
Horton Deakins
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had never read any of Doctorow's work before, so I wondered what the fuss was all about. Now I know. He is quite the skillful wordsmith. There were word usages, however that I could not find even in my Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus, such as refering to one's offspring as one's "get," but perhaps this is regional Canadian slang.

I'm not sure why, but this story, which began for me as mere entertainment, actually brought a small tear to my eye by its end. Perhaps it was the transformation of
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Clockwork Fagin is a short-story/novella that is available as a free stand alone download from Kindle or Cory Doctorow's web page.

As anyone who is familiar with my blog will know, I saw Doctorow speak at last year's Edinburgh Book Festival and that talk goes down as one of, if not the best book festival talk I've ever attended. He's funny, thought provoking and cutting edge on digital publishing and adoption of future printing/production techniques. The novella was recommended to me by a friend
Kathy (Kindle-aholic)
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novellas
Steampunk YA novella set in an orphanage for children maimed from accidents in factories and run by a sadistic man. Then one day a new orphan shows up and things turn around.

I don't want to give away what happens here, but it is violent, gory, but wholly inventive. It was weird and I'm sure I'm supposed to be grossed out by what happens, but I also thought it was poetic justice and I ended up really liking the story.

[The story is in a new YA Steampunk anthology, but I got it as a freebie on Amaz
Cheryl M-M
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Steampunk with a dark sombre dystopian edge and a flavouring of the classic Oliver Twist story to boot. Although the genre can be a little over the top and out there for some, it also fills the gaps left between the more popular genres.
The story is a little dark and if tales about children being mistreated make you shed a tear then I suggest a tissue to wipe the occasional damp eye.
I liked the idea of the meek overcoming the strong via talent, working together and sheer tenacity.
This tale is a p
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
A neat little short story, free at the time I picked it up. I am likely to purchase the entire book of short stories, based on the quality of this one.

Essentially a retelling of a Charles Dicken type tale - orphan brought into an orphanage, but it is a steam punk version of Victorian London, and the tale ends up quite a bit more cheerful than the original.
Jordan Herzig
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eng-356
Great story all about how ophans take control of a factory. I loved the imagination of the children and how they all group together. Gives a perspective into the past on how children would work and the conditions in which they work. A great read.

Alchol: Mention of them drinking brandy.
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Those of you familiar with the basic premise of steampunk universes know that they are not a very nice place.
This one is no exception.
It is a tale of abuse, deception, and murder.
But for all that, it's short, simple to read, and while it won't win any literary awards it's not bad, and I'll probably pick up the whole anthology if I ever come across it.

Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Chris by: freebie
This story was offered as a free preview of the collection. Doctorow's story makes good use of Dickens' theme set in York/Toronto. An extremely funny and well thought out story. Engrossing. I almost forgot to get off at my stop.
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
This short story is free online, and clearly I need to read more Doctorow because I really liked both this and For The Win. Sort of a steampunk re-imagining of Fagin's orphanage from Oliver Twist. Well-written and entertaining.
Mar 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was my first time reading steampunk and I quite enjoyed it. It's well-written and keeps your interest. Usually I stay away from short stories, because I think it's difficult to pace them well, but I think this one was perfect.

I would definitely read more in this genre and by this author.
Marija S.
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: solid-read
I am not a Steampunk fan, but this story really appealed to me. If you get a chance to download/listen to it from Escape Pod podcast, do not miss out because(pro)narration only adds to overall experience.
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
The beginning of this story had way more scatological references than I would have liked, but I ended up really enjoying it. The writing was excellent throughout and the story and characters were very engaging.
Noran Miss Pumkin
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it


This is an awesome short story, and the audio makes it even better!
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steampunk
Wonderful and entertaining short story, delightfully punk without a corset in sight. Well worth your time if you love reading high-stakes tales with a happy ending.
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I really enjoyed this short story. I've been reading Cory Doctorow's writing on Boingboing for years, but this is the first of his fiction that I've picked up. I look forward to reading more!
David Caldwell
I found this short story as a free download. It is a preview for the rest of the anthology called Steampunk!

The business world has its dangers. As children are sold into indentured service to the computational services, accidents can and will happen. Death and maiming are common. The maimed children will be sent to homes where they are supposed to be rehabilitated, but in reality are more dumping grounds where they are often abused and forced to beg. One such home is St. Aggies. The headmaster,
Dione Basseri
A charming story with a decidedly 19th-century tone. It feels like it would have fit in well with a collection of Dickens or Poe.

At a home for children mangled by the machinery of industry, there has been a little revolution. The "guardian," an unforgiving, abusive man, is dead, and the children await a new caretaker. But perhaps they don't need someone to watch out for them. Perhaps, with a little engineering, they can make their own guardian, and once more live as children should.

Doctorow does
Ken Inness
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Introduction to Steampunk

I generally read "non-fiction" History and Economics, as well as as quality hard-science fiction, and almost anything involving travel and motorcycles, but I've never read much steampunk. I only read the preview story so far, but it is enough to make me want to read more from this author. The story may be about kids but is clearly written from a mature perspective that works as both good beach-book reading and meaningful (ie: relevant) "literary" fiction. I'll be r
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I like steampunk, I love sci fi...this story reminds me intensely just why these are my favorite genres. The sense of realistic wonder that I get...
The language was a little bit difficult to follow at times, but ultimately readable...and it tells the story so well, you get to feel every wheel, every cog, every puff of steam.
That said, does anyone know where I can get the complete anthology online?
Marian Weaver
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it

I've only one real criticism of this novella - it's too short! Doctorow spins a wonderful tale that is part Dickensian homage, part tables-turned tongue-in-cheek humour. In a world where children are exploited and completely dependent on unscrupulous adults, the inhabitants of one particular orphanage find their own ways of empowering themselves, and the result is ... unexpected.

Oct 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
A very interesting story that reminds one of Oliver Twist, with a twist.
A bunch of kids in an orphanage have missing pieces of themselves, from limbs to noses. They are living under the care of a cruel man. . .who has events occur to him that involve some of the steam punk aspect of the story. It was strange. Not sure I enjoyed it. It was written well though.
Spencer Morris
Dec 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Worth the read

I love trickster mythology. This story has all the right elements. Nifty foreshadowing of the house of card's inevitable collapse, amplified by the impending fall of maimed and forgotten children from the the first happiness they've ever known... Fun.
David Schwan
Nov 27, 2012 rated it liked it
A quick read set in steampunk Canada. Similar to a Dickens story. The first one third was a bit confusing, after that the story moves along well. AT least one aspect seemed a bit like red herring, if brought to the conclusion even the author makes it was not consistent.
Dec 03, 2013 marked it as unfinished
Couldn't get invested in the characters, so after a little bit, I gave up. This one's been languishing in my TBR pile for so long now (I keep *wanting* to fall in love with Steampunk like it seems everyone else is, but I'm afraid it's just not really the genre for me), it's time I move on.
Adam Rosen
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Splendid world of enabled-bodied makers

Deft strokes bring us swiftly into the sordid clockwork world of Saint Agatha's. This quick and entirely enjoyable read feels like an origin story which could support a full series. Looking forward to more like this.
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Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing and the author of the YA graphic novel In Real Life, the nonfiction business book Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free, and young adult novels like Homeland, Pirate Cinema, and Little Brother and novels for adults like Rapture Of The Nerds and Makers. He is a Fellow for the Electron ...more
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