So this week I’m reading Ticker, by Lisa Mantchev, another in a recent series of steampunk novels that I’ve accumulated over the last few years that have suddenly percolated to the top of the list. Evidently my random novel selection process has decided that the shelf for this genre needs to be thinned out.
Whereas some of us have a cup of coffee in the morning to get ourselves going, the heroine of Ticker, one Penny Farthing (*snort!*), starts her day by winding the spring in her motorized heart at least a hundred times. She’d best not misplace that key, because there’ll be no replacing the replacement; the surgeon who developed and implanted her clockwort heart is currently on trial for (allegedly) killing a number of people in an attempt to develop a better clockwork heart. Maybe one that goes a two days on a single winding, even.
The trial, being a sensational one, has attracted much attention from protesters and, apparently, terrorists, resulting in Penny and her immediate circle being arrested, or at least, taken into protective custody by a private intelligence service, at which point Penny gets to review a confidential dossier full of information about her. And why is it a bad idea to review one’s own confidential intelligence dossier? Because one might see unflattering pictures.
It was a most disconcerting feeling, opening the thick uppermost folder to see my name typed alongside a copy of my passport photograph. I splayed my fingers over my own face and winced. “This is truly a terrible picture.”
Yes, it seems that even in a world where mechanical butterflies, airship bases, steam-powered metal horses, flying machines, text messaging, clockwork hearts, and, apparently, Twitter, were all invented in the (I think) 19th century, they still haven’t figured out how to take a decent photo for a government document. Sounds about right to me.
Meanwhile, editing continues ticking along on Television Man, which may not be going like clockwork, but is still going. (Hey, it’s not easy always finding a decent segue between the Teaser book and the book I’m working on myself …)
Now, instead of trying to escape, she was just trying to stay conscious and distinguish between reality and hypoxic delusions. For instance, she thought she had seen Robin at one point, peering at her from above, but the real Robin would have come down to help her, right? This one just gave her a Robin-style frown and disappeared.