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)
Lindy West is one of those web-writers who’s done consistently great work over the years, whether it’s talking about boobs or talking about trolls, and so I expected to like her memoir Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman, but I didn’t expect to find myself laughing aloud over and over, nor did I expect to end up crying — and having done both in great measure, now I can’t get that most excellent book out of my head.
Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths’ Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions is pitched as a combination of personal advice and business book grounded in the lessons of computer science, but it’s better than that: while much of the computer science they explain is useful in personal and management contexts, the book is also a beautifully accessible primer on algorithms and computer science themselves, and a kind of philosophical treatise on what the authors call “computational kindness” and “computational stoicism.”
AJ Hartley’s new YA series opens with Steeplejack, a
whodunnit whose unlikely and welcome hard-boiled detective is a young
woman who has to beat class and race discrimination as well as the bad
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