Title: Machine Maid
Author: Margo Lanagan
In: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Steampunk, Strong women
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: Like one girl confiding in another, like a tiny child in play with its mother or nurse, I reached out and touched Clarissa’s lower lip.
It’s hard being a new wife on the frontier… even harder when your husband won’t let you be yourself. But with a little engineering and hope, there might be a better future in store.
I was wondering how the woman in this was going to overcome her quite clearly obnoxious husband and slightly awful circumstances. I was also wondering what kind of message would be imparted in this steampunk short story. And I really wasn’t disappointed…. Using wits and a bit more blood thirst than I’m used to, she is able to free herself. But, it is only after she has done so that she truly wonders at the cost of such an action.
This story had just enough in it that I felt incredibly uncomfortable throughout the reading of it. And although the sick part of me kind of loved the ending, it also made me cringe and worry. After all, there was a hint of a completely different happily ever after. And part of me was left wondering what would have happened if the alternate ending had have come true.
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