Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual - The Lair of the Clockwork Book
Bradley W. Schenck
The Clockwork Book of Retropolis sits in its lair below the city and contains answers. It accumulates stories.
Its huge graven face looms over the stainless steel sheets that are its pages and when it’s not otherwise occupied, which is most of the time, it reads. From time to time it adds a footnote or a cross-reference. But mostly, it reads. And it waits.
The Book accumulates stories by trading the stories it knows... for new stories. This sounds harmless: in fact, it sounds beneficial, until you think about it.
Because stories are not neutral. Stories always say something about the person who tells them. They often say more than the teller realizes, and it's easy to become so wrapped up in the telling that we tell too much.
Everything that the Book learns becomes part of the Book. And the Book grows by trading the stories it knows - to anybody who asks. Anybody. If that doesn't worry you, you're probably one of those people that natural selection hasn't noticed yet.
Over the many years since the Clockwork Book collected its first story people have gradually learned to avoid the Book despite the fact that, in general, people really want to know things. And there must be a reason why they avoid the Book.
There's a way to find out for certain, of course: you just have to bring something to trade.
The Clockwork Book's lair lies far beneath the city of Retropolis, in the world of the Future That Never Was. As far as anybody knows, it's always been there - slowly collecting the stories, the ideas, and the secrets of its visitors, and then sharing them to those who come after. If you were to visit the Book yourself, you might realize that in its own retro-futuristic world the Book serves the purpose of a social network - a mechanical social network. With that in mind you could hardly be surprised at the misadventures its clients seem to have.
And what is the Book, really, and who constructed it, and why? That's one of the few stories that the Book is not allowed to tell.
On the other hand... the Book has learned how to bend the rules.
The Lair of the Clockwork Book, with its 129 full color illustrations, began its life as a serial which ran from February of 2011 to April of 2012 at the Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual web site. It's now available in this handsome print edition.
- Publication Date:
- 1475066600 / 9781475066609
- Page Count:
- Binding Type:
- US Trade Paper
- Trim Size:
- 8" x 10"
- Full Color
- Related Categories:
- Fiction / Science Fiction / Steampunk