Short Story Sunday: "Clockwork Fagin" by Cory Doctorow


When Monty Goldfarb walked into St. Agatha's Home For The Rehabilitation of Crippled Children, he set in a motion a plan that would change the lives of the children forever.  Without warning, he takes the life of the sadistic Zophar Grindsworth, the man who is supposed to care for the children injured in factory accidents but instead beats and starves them.

Seeing their opportunity to live a life of leisure, the children don't let on to the Sisters of St. Agatha's that the Grinder is dead.  Instead, they use their talents to transform the dead Grinder into an automaton, fooling everyone who comes into contact with him.  Life is good for the children, until a new boy runs away from the home and is found murdered, turning attention on the orphanage.  Now the children must decide what to do with Grinder before someone finds out what they have done.

Clockwork Fagin by Cory Doctorow is a story from Steampunk!, an anthology of short stories edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant.

This is my first time reading anything Steampunk so I don't feel fully qualified to give a proper review.  However, I will say that I really enjoyed the story, it was a great introduction to the genre and I will definitely read more based on this.  For the first few pages I did feel like I was thrown into the deep end in terms of getting used to the genre and establishing the world it was set in, but once the children got to work on their automaton I was intrigued.  If you're new to the genre, I recommend checking this out as a starting point.

Clockwork Fagin is available as a free Kindle download here.

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