Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Book Review: The Clockwork Courtesan by Timothy Black (scifi, lesbian)

The Clockwork Courtesan
Author: Timothy Black
Publication Date: June 16, 2022
Publisher: Deep Desires Press
Genres: Sci-fi
Protagonist Gender: Female
Sexuality: Lesbian

The Clockwork Courtesan is a wonderfully unique construction of science fiction, alternate (matriarchal) history, steampunk, and sexual revolution, all wrapped up in the erotically charged energies of tantric magic. With a novella of roughly 100 pages, Timothy Black has accomplished a surprising amount of world-building, and if that requires an opening chapter that's heavy on info-dumping, it's forgivable because the rest of the story doesn't work nearly so well without that background.

There's not a lot I can say about the most fantastic parts of this without spoiling some of its loveliest surprises, but this is a story that's as smart as it is sexy. Black has a lot to say about identities, whether it's gender, sexual, or just plain human, and even more about the mechanics (and I use the term deliberately) of sex. With a tantric aviatrix (like a sexual sorceress crossed with a steampunk pirate) facing off against a clockwork courtesan (who is more human than human in all the ways that matter), there's an entire battlefield of sexual attraction, erotic consent, and emotional attachment to be navigated.

Captain Frost is a wonderful protagonist, an independent woman who has been hurt by the divide between love and lust, between sexual relations and intimate relationships, and that pain is what opens her mind (and possibly her heart) to the impossibly perfect Doll who begs for rescue. There's backstory there for them both, mysteries to be uncovered even as we enjoyed their sexually charged flight, and more than enough surprises to keep the story fresh.

I had so much fun reading The Clockwork Courtesan. It was exactly what I had hoped for in so many ways (although I would have loved to see more of Frost's contemporaries), with an ending that's satisfying, even as it leaves you excited for more.

Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀ 

My sincere thanks to the author for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.