The Clockwork Man

From Radium Age

The Clockwork Man

By E. V. Odle

Introduction by Annalee Newitz

In the first-ever novel about a cyborg, a machine-enhanced man from a multiverse of the far future visits 1920s England.

Overview

Author(s)

Praise

Summary

In the first-ever novel about a cyborg, a machine-enhanced man from a multiverse of the far future visits 1920s England.

In 1920s England, a strange being crashes a village cricket game. After some glitchy, jerky attempts to communicate, this creature reveals that he is a machine-enhanced human from a multiverse thousands of years in the future. The mechanism implanted in his skull has malfunctioned, sending him tumbling through time onto the green grass of the cricket field. Apparently in the future, at the behest of fed-up women, all men will be controlled by an embedded “clockwork,” camouflaged with hats and wigs. Published in 1923, The Clockwork Man—the first cyborg novel—tells the story of this odd time traveler's visit.

Spending time with two village couples about to embark upon married life, the Clockwork Man warns that because men of the twentieth century are so violent, sexist, and selfish, in the not-too-distant future they will be banned from physical reality. They will inhabit instead a virtual world—what we'd now call the Singularity—in which their every need is met, but love is absent. Will the Clockwork Man's tale lead his new friends to reconsider technology, gender roles, sex, and free will?

Overshadowed in its own time by Karel Čapek's sensational 1923 play R.U.R., about a robot uprising, The Clockwork Man is overdue for rediscovery.

Paperback

$19.95 T ISBN: 9780262543439 202 pp. | 5.25 in x 7.875 in

Contributors

Annalee Newitz.

Endorsements

  • “Edwin Vincent Odle's ominous, droll, and unforgettable The Clockwork Man is a missing link between Lewis Carroll and John Sladek or Philip K. Dick.”

    Jonathan Lethem

    author of The Arrest

  • “It is a striking and original book, and there is a notable sermon in it for those who can dissociate sermons from long faces.”

    The Bookman (1923)