Friday, October 28, 2011

Some Fortunate Future Day

Short Story by Cassandra Clare
Text reprinted free by Lightspeed

Airships and maglev trains, bunches of artificially intelligent clockwork robots, and hand-held time machines. Quite the obnoxious magical-but-with-gears-so-SCIENCE! steampunk backdrop. I find it a tad annoying because, for the most part, this story could work without the steampunk backdrop, and if you want to keep the obvious-but-still-creepy twist ending with Chekov's Time Machine, that's really all you need.

I know it was originally written for a steampunk anthology, and I like airships as much as the next guy, but it seems like we're cramming AI clockwork robots into everything lately, seldom for any good reason, especially given how hard they make suspension of disbelief. Or maybe I just think they're a particularly stupid trope. But they just bug me.

The story is competently written, and a bit creepy, which I like. But there isn't a hell of a lot to it, and much of the length is spent on fleshing out entirely irrelevant and uninteresting details about the standard steampunk world.

2.5 steampunk tea parties out of 5.

Originally published in Steampunk!
ed. Gavin Grant & Kelly Link

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