The Clockmaker's Tale
The Clockmaker's Tale
by Ian Williams
In The Clockmaker’s Tale: and other stories, Ian Williams takes us to the near future and beyond. From a moon base where androids conduct experiments on human test subjects, to futuristic tours of the ocean depths that hide a terrible secret; from a society governed by harsh rule of law that is enforced by AI, to a humble clockmaker tempted by the promise of increased productivity through technological augmentation.
Covering issues such as environmental decay, the end of facts and proven truths, our growing waste problem, and humanity’s tendency to divide when we should come together, this collection of six science fiction stories relates as much to our time as it does to the many possible futures.
From Last Bus to Freedom
A hail of bullets bounced off the door only an inch from Justin’s left shoulder. He returned fire, leaning out the door and unleashing a barrage of his own. His aim was off, he was ashamed to see. Still, he’d achieved the reprieve he’d intended. The trucks had backed off, albeit for the purpose of regrouping for another attempt.
The next time the trucks tried, Justin was ready. He aimed for the driver of the closest truck, choosing to focus on one target at a time and ignoring the other vehicle beside it. The second he had the driver’s head in his sights, he fired, sending a single bullet through the windscreen and the guy’s right eye.
There was nowhere for the second truck to go when the first pulled across its path. They became stuck together in a death roll, chunks of metal and flames flying off in every direction. Bodies landed on the road and were crushed beneath the churning chaos, their body armour stopping none of the impacts. When the two vehicles had finally come to rest in the middle of the road, they were set ablaze by bursting fuel tanks.
Everyone aboard the bus cheered in enraged delight, only for their celebration to be cut short a moment later.
“Erm, Justin,” Boy said. “You’d better see this?”
Please tell me things aren’t about to get worse already.
“I think things just got worse.” Boy’s timing was impeccable.
About the Author
Ian Williams is a Science Fiction writer from the UK. He lives in a small town not far from London. Ian had a short career in the UK Court Service but was forced to quit that job when his medical condition worsened. Now, from the comfort of his wheelchair, he writes the stories he has always wanted to read. His writing spans lightyears of space, to near-future Earths; from small changes to society, to entirely new civilisations.
Are you a Plotter (one who plans or plots out every detail of the writing process) or Pantser (one who writes by the seat of his/her pants)?
To some extent, I am a Plotter rather than a Pantser. That is to say, I try to plot out as much of a story as I can before I write a single word of it. Whether I stick to that plan religiously is a very different matter. There are always times when a better idea will appear out of thin air while I am already deep in the story. I never ignore those moments of inspiration.
What advice do you have for a new writer?
For anyone starting out as a writer I would urge them to have confidence in what they write. I have always found that the best way to write is with no thought of what others may think of it. Write for yourself first; be your own greatest fan. After all, how can you make others love what you don’t?
What is the easiest part of the writing process for you?
Visualising the worlds in which I set my stories is often the easiest part for me. If I can’t see it in my head, I can’t write it. No character will feel right if they don’t exist within a real, living and breathing world. I enjoy world-building more than I probably should.
What is your favorite part of this story?
Out of the six stories included in The Clockmaker’s Tale: and other stories, I think the one with my favourite scene is Post-Truth Tours. Without giving anything away, the reveal at the end was very satisfying to write. I wanted that scene to have power behind it, like a kick to the side. At that moment, the world is shown to be somewhat different to what the characters believed.
Which Character was the most fun to write about? Why?
I would have to say Rachel (designated R8CH-L by her makers), the android from the opening story, 10,000. Told in her own words, the story follows her attempts to save humanity from a terrible, body-altering bioweapon.
There was much fun to have writing as an android trying to be more human, often through the use of odd phrases and sayings that she has picked up from each human test subject. I gave her doubts, joy, anger, and a healthy dose of anxiety. But most of all, I tried to give her a real voice.
Which Character was the hardest to write about? Why?
Pete, from the story ‘Waste Not’, was possibly the hardest to write, purely because I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. The story takes place in a world overrun by trash and detritus. It is a place no one should find themselves living in, and yet so many people do. But what made it difficult to write is the knowledge that Pete’s world isn’t that different to ours. We may not see all the waste we produce as a society, but someone else does. We’re not able to bury it all.
Ian Williams will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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