Clockwork Canada continues to build steam (…I tried so very hard not to use that pun, but I feel like I need to at this point).
In addition to the excellent reviews we already had from Tor.com and Steampunk Canada, we now have some very insightful and positive reviews from Lightspeed Magazine and AE – The Canadian Science Fiction Review.
Amal El-Mohtar writes in her Lightspeed column that: “I hugely appreciated seeing, across all these stories, a Canada shorn of any of the jingoistic patter that masquerades as heart-warming pluralism these days. These stories probe and poke at the country’s beginnings as at the edges of a wound: the workers who fed their bodies like coal into the railroad’s furnace; the immigrants who were turned away at ports for being too brown, too foreign; the enslavement of African peoples; the indigenous people displaced and decimated. “So you think you know about Canada,” any of these stories might begin. “Let me tell you about Canada.”
I’m especially pleased about this review because of the way it highlights the attention to Canada and the exploration of Canadian history, and not just steampunk. Her closing statement is also really nice to read: “An excellent showcase for new and established Canadian voices as well as for Parisien’s editorial skill, Clockwork Canada’s a fascinating, faceted read that I thoroughly enjoyed.”
Wes Smiderle also had a lot to say about the book in his AE review. There’s a good deal of engagement with specific stories, which is always nice to see. He writes that stories in the book are “actively questioning the subgenre and bringing it to some interesting new places” and he concludes with: “Not all of these stories will satisfy steampunk enthusiasts, but that’s probably the point. With so much material published in recent years, steampunk can become shorthand for clichéd Victorian characters plugged into action stories featuring inventive devices and lots of gears. For the most part, Clockwork Canada retains the gears and action while disregarding the clichés and greatly amplifying the spirit.” I wanted some fresh, unusual takes on the genre and I’m glad to see that this is doing well with critics.