Pinion (Clockwork Earth)
The delight of the next volume--prefigured with unrelenting clarity in Escapement 's final pages--should be the discovery that the destination adds up. Rejoin the Librarian and the Chinese submarine captain, the British sailor, the clockwork man, and the young sorceress who has gone south of the great equatorial wall. This adventure in Lake's Clockwork Earth continues the tale begun in Escapement. Lake has a ball transporting his characters up and down this magnificent world, subjecting them to all sorts of perils and escapes in a wild variety of settings.
His three main protagonists all exhibit distinct and memorable personalities that allow us to filter their world through three prisms of intelligence and attitude Fear glistened on the grim faces of the Chinese air sailors who had taken him prisoner long weeks ago. His kind did not know fear. Fear was an animal emotion, a rush of hot blood driven by squalid monkey unreason. Boaz was heir to an unbroken line of cool precision, the Brass race first created in ancient days by the wisdom of King Solomon and since perpetuated in magnificent perfection. Or so he told himself as the man Lu Hsu screamed in terror just before a whistling shell dropped into his sheltering hole.
Bloody spray erupted laced with rock fragments. Chin Yuen, the surviving petty officer, bawled a Chinese order that Boaz had learned meant "move out. Boaz once again considered simply walking into the rain of hot steel and lead. Brass were not invulnerable.
Solomon's First Seal glowed within his head as with all his fellows, but even it could not remake severed limbs, shattered chest, or tangled clockwork. He realized Chin Yuen was screaming at him. The little man had much in common with Boaz' closest friend, Angus Threadgil al-Wazir. Those two shared a petty officer's view of human frailty, the idiocies of command and the general uselessness of civilians. That came through from Chin Yuen even without a language in common. The Chinese shouted, his face flushed a dusky rose as his dark eyes glittered.
Boaz just stared, wondering what the man was about, until a bullet spalled off his own shoulder with a sound like a flat-toned bell. Chin Yuen shook his head and raced off bent low, as if incoming fire could distinguish between a man walking tall and a man scuttling. Boaz decided that the Chinese petty officer was right. This was not a good day to die. The Brass walked after Chin, passing through smoke and fire and boiling dust as if he were the hollow wraith that his heart had become in the absence of Paolina.
Logic flows in ratios, the magnificent alignment of radii and teeth and the tiniest cuttings of gear trains creating inconceivable precision. Events are captured to be ever available, ever ready. Until someone reaches into your head and tweaks the crystals. Stores them in the archives of Authority without leaving a record of where the memory has gone. Undoes the mighty power of the Seal and replaces it with monkey unthinking and the wretched errors to which flesh is prone. Until someone touches you with a bowl of oil and pronounces a name you never knew you could have, then flies away in a cloud of canvas and hydrogen and newborn regret and you are left among shouting madmen who labor like ants at the will of their distant, bloated queen.
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Self is a flaw in the patterns of memory, errors in the unbroken chain of reason stretching back through time. Imperfection is unthinkable, literally.
Chin Yuen's band of air sailors and marines once more slipped the British trap. They were being driven north, repeatedly forced inland. Their sole blessing was that the Royal Navy could not field sufficient airships to harry them effectively. The fires at Mogadishu had reduced the fleet until reinforcements could arrive.
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He was small, as most of these Chinese were, his blue quilted uniform torn and patched and smeared with grubby dust until he seemed a soft, mobile part of the landscape. His eyes retained the midnight purity that Boaz had come to associate with these people. He was always Chin Yuen.
Beyond that, the sailor's grasp of English pronouns was shaky, as if the entire class of words existed only to refer to his commander, or Boaz himself.
Jay Lake's Clockwork Earth Trilogy
The Brass man sat in the shade of a thornbush. The westering sun cast long shadows — his blended with the tree's. The air was still miserably hot for the humans. Dust grated in his joints and scarred his body and sometimes clouded his vision. They were safe enough; no Englishman could approach their rocky highland without being observed long before his arrival. A few swift, liquid syllables of Chinese spilled from his mouth, with neither the emphasis of a curse nor the resignation of despair. Then, in English: "Path.
To big water. Make fire for help. Boaz stared eastward across the miles toward the sullen glint of the sea. The thread of Earth's orbital track gleamed crisply in the sky. The Wall loomed to the south, rising like a woman's hands to —.
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Boaz forced himself to stop. Some memories were too difficult. More About the Authors. Jay Lake. Jay Lake lives in Portland, Oregon, where he works on numerous writing and editing projects. His short fiction appears regularly in literary and genre markets worldwide. Jay is a winner of the John W.
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