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You kids get off my lawn. 

Clockwork umbrellas comin' to getchu, gov

Kiss of Steel - Bec McMaster

I've been reading a bunch of pulp steampunk recently -- at some point I'll have to update a bunch of same-samey titles with "brass" and "steam" and "corset" in the titles -- and this stood out as not stupid. There's a lot here that's de rigueur for the genre: plucky scientist's daughter, hat pins, Dickensian moppets, dreary eye dialect, etc. But there's an alternate history here that runs deeper than the usual "justification for clockwork umbrellas" one encounters on the more romantic edge of things, and a refreshing attendance to the harsh economics/imperialism of the Victorian era.


I mean, sure, there's usually a gesture to how Unfair it is for the Scientist's Daughter to wear a Clockwork Corset when what she really wants to do is Direct -- though, of course, she has no idea how good she looks -- but here poor people actually starve, and the upper classes literally drink blood. Something something, vampire virus used by the aristocracy to keep themselves in power something something. So it's not particularly deep, but it was cool to see.