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book cover of 

The Clockwork Trollop

The Clockwork Trollop

(2013)
A Novella by

 
The neighborhood was dark and insalubrious; if it had not been for the sake of Professor Haversham's scientific endeavors I would never have ventured into its foul-smelling streets in the daytime, far less at night. He, however, appeared to have no such misgivings but looked about him with interest. "Now to find a public house of suitable character," he said. "Not too difficult in this area, I should think."

***

Professor Haversham's latest invention will cure the evil of prostitution and stop the spread of social disease all at one go. A story of steampunk horror from the award-winning and best-selling team of Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald. Originally published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

About 5,000 words.

This ebook does not use DRM.

Excerpt:

"Here," Haversham said. "I have no idea what money you have in your pocket, do I? No way of knowing in advance, will you grant me as much?"

"Yes," I said. "I will admit the truth of that."

"Place any coin or coins onto the palm of that hand," said the professor.

I reached into my pocket and withdrew a shilling, then placed it as the professor had indicated. To my amazement, a woman's disembodied voice said: "A shilling." The voice was a husky contralto, with the faintest hint of an Irish accent.

Haversham smiled and said, "Try again."

I did as he directed, pulling two-and-six from my pocket and placing it on the hand. This time the voice said, "Two shillings sixpence."

I shook my head. "If it were not for your formidable reputation, professor, I should say that this is a conjuring trick. You can see what I am placing on this hand, and you might in some way cause this voice to correctly identify the coins."

"I assure you, I am doing no such thing. Let me leave the room and you may try again."

He withdrew, leaving me alone with the bodiless hand. Determined to test its capabilities as thoroughly as possible given the circumstances, I tried several coins in different combinations. All of them were flawlessly identified: "A farthing. One pound ten. Two bob. A sovereign. Half a crown."

Several trials later, I abandoned the project. Leaving the laboratory, I found the professor on the stairs, smoking a cheroot.

"Well?" he asked.

"I am amazed," I said. "How do you accomplish this seeming miracle?"

"A combination of techniques. Electrical inductance, a balance to detect weight, a few other touches; attach a phonograph geared to recite the appropriate phrases, and it is done. Do you like the skin?"

"I had wondered. It does feel lifelike, in a cold and unpleasant way."

I thought he preened himself a little. "A combination of latex rubber and gutta percha, my own formula."

"What do you intend to do with this?" I asked. "Such a device may well have an application in shops or counting houses. Or do you have some other purpose?"

 
Used availability for Debra Doyle's The Clockwork Trollop


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Kindle Editions

December 2013 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
Title: The Clockwork Trollop
Author(s): Debra Doyle, James D Macdonald
Publisher: Madhouse Manor
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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