Tanglefoot • 2008 • Steampunk novelette by Cherie Priest

★★★

Summary: In a sanitarium of 1880, young Edwin helps the formerly ingenious Dr. Archibald Smeeks who is now slowly slipping into dementia. Ed takes the Doctor’s spare parts and builds a clockwork doll, declares it as best friend. Things get slowly creepy, as the doll behaves strange.

Review: I’ve got Boneshaker from the same series sitting on my TBR shelve since forever, I just haven’t manage to read it. This story brings over the mix of supernatural and technology setting very nicely and can be considered as a standalone. One of the most interesting character – insane Madeleine who helps Ed – needs more background story. The pacing would have needed more work, as the setup is way too slow, and the last third too rushed. Genre-wise it isn’t exactly Steampunk but a kind of gothic story with a hint of horror.

Meta: isfdb. Published in Subterranean Online, Fall 2008. Part of the Clockwork Century series. Read in The Best of Subterranean. Available online.

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