What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower: steampunk choose-your-own-adventure

By Cory Doctorow

Maggie Killjoy's steampunk choose-your-own-adventure ("Adventure-of-Your-Own-Choosing") novel What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower is a delight. Killjoy is founder of the fabulous Steampunk Magazine, and she's brought her pitch-perfect steampunk sensibility to the CYOA genre with this rousing story of a dissolute dandy who discovers goblins fomenting rebellion in his clock-tower and makes common cause with them against the horrible, cheerful, sadistic gnomes who have enslaved goblins to their brutal clockmaking practices for generations.

There are many different ways the story can proceed, of course, but if you make your way through to the end, you'll discover that Killjoy's not just spinning a shaggy-dog story -- there's a surprising amount of heart and adventure to be had if you're bold enough to choose the path of heroism.

Descend into the depths of the undercity and embroil yourself in the political struggling of colonialist gnomes and indigenous goblins. Fly in air balloons, drink mysterious and pleasant cocktails, smoke opium with the dregs of gnomish society. Or dream and speak of liberation for all the races. Fall in love and abscond into the caverns. It's up to you, because this is an adventure of your own choosing.
What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower (Buy at AK Press)

What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower (Buy at Amazon)

Published 6:35 am Fri, Jun 17, 2011

About the Author

I write books. My latest are: a YA graphic novel called In Real Life (with Jen Wang); a nonfiction book about the arts and the Internet called Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age (with introductions by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer) and a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

12 Responses to “What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower: steampunk choose-your-own-adventure”

  1. Cokelid says:

    I see there’s a Kindle version and figure it might be fun to have on my phone. Has anyone tried the Kindle version? Does it work for this kind of book?

  2. Razors says:

    Just found out about steam punk two weeks ago, it’s wicked.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This exists in game form as EchoBazaar. Not quite steampunk, exactly, but it’s certainly… well, something along those lines.

  4. Misty Fowler says:

    Does anyone have an opinion on what age this might be appropriate for?

    • magpiekilljoy says:

      It’s not actually aimed at children, as it includes opium, absinthe, and the ability to commit fairly immoral actions.

  5. ravage382 says:

    Margaret Killjoy is a he, not a she.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The correct URL of Think Galacticon is http://tgcon3.thinkgalactic.org/ Also, I believe Killjoy may be genderqueer or have different personas with different genders?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I got to work with Mag on this incredible book as the illustrator and it was a fun and creative experience and can’t wait for the next one. It’s amazing whats coming out of Mag’s head….

  8. Anonymous says:

    Magpie prefers the pronoun “he” for those who are wondering. And the book is awesome; I got a copy from him at Steampunk World’s Fair. ~ Ay-leen

  9. Felton / Moderator says:

    I used to love the D&D Endless Quest books when I was a kid. I’ll definitely be picking this up.

  10. absimiliard says:

    This might be spammy, but it’s totally relevant. If you like steampunk choose-your-own-adventure things one of my friends wrote an iPhone game called Verdigris that does exactly that. It’s got (I think) 10 or 12 mysteries that you get to work on solving, and he tells me they all link together to tell a larger story.

    I haven’t played it myself, but when I ask him about it he says it gets good ratings from the folks who try it.

    Alas I don’t have a link to offer. But if you go to whatever the iPhone equivalent of Google’s “Market” is (I think it’s the “app-store” or somesuch) some searching for Verdigris should find it.

    -abs wishes to apologize for his unfamiliarity with iPhone conventions but he’s really NOT an Apple-Guy, if his friend put the game out for Android he’d totally be able to give you more details.

  11. trouserles says:

    Think Galacticon [http://tgcon3.thinkgalacticon.org], which is in Chicago July 8-10, will have a programming slot with Margaret where he will lead the audience on a live interactive jaunt through this, with a chalkboard to note particular forks and paths.

    N.B. I’m on the TGcon3 concom, but saw this and needed to share! It should be awesome.

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