Mainspring Jay Lake s first trade novel is an astounding work of creation Lake has envisioned a clockwork solar system where the planets move in a vast system of gears around the lamp of the Sun It is a univers

Jay Lake s first trade novel is an astounding work of creation Lake has envisioned a clockwork solar system, where the planets move in a vast system of gears around the lamp of the Sun It is a universe where the hand of the Creator is visible to anyone who simply looks up into the sky, and sees the track of the heavens, the wheels of the Moon, and the great Equatorial gJay Lake s first trade novel is an astounding work of creation Lake has envisioned a clockwork solar system, where the planets move in a vast system of gears around the lamp of the Sun It is a universe where the hand of the Creator is visible to anyone who simply looks up into the sky, and sees the track of the heavens, the wheels of the Moon, and the great Equatorial gears of the Earth itself.Mainspring is the story of a young clockmaker s apprentice, who is visited by the Archangel Gabriel He is told that he must take the Key Perilous and rewind the Mainspring of the Earth It is running down, and disaster to the planet will ensue if it s not rewound From innocence and ignorance to power and self knowledge, the young man will make the long and perilous journey to the South Polar Axis, to fulfill the commandment of his God.

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  1. Jay Lake lived in Portland, Oregon, where he worked on multiple writing and editing projects His 2007 book Mainspring received a starred review in Booklist His short fiction appeared regularly in literary and genre markets worldwide Jay won the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer, Endeavour Award, and was a multiple nominee for the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards.

626 Reply to “Mainspring”

  1. I bought this novel on the basis of Cory Doctorow s cover blurb, and man do I want to kick his ass This book is horribly written Character development is non existent Our hero, Hethor goes off on this quest to rewind the mainspring of his clockwork earth at the behest of the archangel Gabriel Along the way he stops off in a sucession of thinly imagined fantasy cities that all feel like they were cobbled together for a clockpunk DD campaign and has sex with a tiny monkey lady I know, I know It so [...]

  2. UPDATE 6 1 2014 My blog about Jay Lake s death.It s time for the next review in my Jay Wake Pre Mortem Jay Lake Read a thon And today, Lake does what so few others in my 53 years have done Used the word God and not made me screechingly furiously attack mode angry MAINSPRING, reviewed at Shelf Inflicted, is a good book for many reasons That one is mine Others include elegant phrasemaking, deft plotting, and a re imagining of the laws of the Universe that s breathtaking.I m very happy I ve read, a [...]

  3. I ll start it short This is a terrible book The premise is excellent, as is the cover The execution, however, is amateurish at best and laughable at worst There were some 4 star moments, though the journey, to be fair, proceeded as follows 3 stars, 4 stars, 3, 4, 2, 2, 1 The second half of this book is so unsatisfying, and the ending so trite and faux didactic that I had trouble not throwing it across the room As a massive sf fantasy literary snob China Mieville is my hero , I was actually insul [...]

  4. Why hello, alternate universe with airships we meet again.This was not the way I intended to start reading Jay Lake I heard about him when Green came out and added that to my to read list, but when I was at a used book store, Mainspring and Escapement were there, so I bought them I always regret when my first experience with a new author I m anticipating reading is a sour one Sadly, Mainspring testifies to the dangers of setting a lousy story in an amazing world.Lake takes steampunk to its logic [...]

  5. I happen to believe in a divine creator I readily admit, however, that it s not always easy to maintain such a belief, particularly in the light of suffering or injustice So my faith waivers from time to time I am forced to reevaluate my beliefs in light of what I see around me and elsewhere in the world Sometimes I come back to my roots and sometimes I am compelled to alter my faith to conform to reality.Yet the question of a divine creator s existence is only one among many, and it s all too e [...]

  6. I love cool ideas Nothing excites me than a really gonzo idea story Jay Lake, a superb short story writer, is the kind of guy who has a half dozen mind blowing ideas before breakfast Which is one reason why I both admire and hate him Also, he writes crazy fast, which is another reason for admiring and hating him The premise behind Mainspring is one of the coolest things I ve encountered in a long time.I ve heard it claimed that Isaac Newton changed the way natural philosophers viewed the univer [...]

  7. Profoundly underwhelming The characters are undeveloped, the central conceit though at first intriguing isn t fully thought through, and does no one else see unfortunate implications in turning the entire Southern hemisphere with especial attention to Africa into a land of savages and barbarism and strangeness where no one is human, and they re all either leading pleasantly unsophisticated lives in harmony with the universe or HORRIBLE MONSTERS Moreover, there is no ambiguity whatsoever Early on [...]

  8. The author would appear to be something of a fan of Gene Wolfe, and if you are going to pattern yourself after someone that s a pretty good choice Unfortunately, Wolfe has a singularly unimitatable style and the author is quite unable to match his high ambitions There are flashes of greatness in the story, but by and large it is peopled with flat uninteresting characters that do uninteresting things.The principal conceit of the story is that the world of the story is truly the clockwork orrey of [...]

  9. Stajem na 17% Ne u dati ocjenu jer mo da je ovo dobro do kraja ali mene sav taj bog, an el GAbrijel, itd onako malo nervira i optere uje cijelu radnju, ap ako nekoga zanimaju ovakve teme nije tema religijska ali je sve opto eno religijom vjerojatno e mu se ova knjiga svidjeti Meni nije

  10. Warning Mild SpoilersFirst, I liked this book It s an entertaining read.That said, I was disappointed with it I wanted to like this book than I actually did That s not to say it s bad, because it s not It s a case of it s not anywhere near as good as it could be.The main problem I had with it is that Hethor, the book s protagonist, never does much of anything The book sort of happens to him.In a way, instead of the Victorian Era flavor Lake was going for, he ends up invoking an earlier period [...]

  11. The core conceit of Mainspring imagines that the solar system is actually a gigantic orrey, and that the movements of the stars, planets, and the earth itself are all controlled through a sort of deistic clockwork, giving physical form to the ages old watchmaker analogy of creation When the mainspring of the earth begins to run down, the archangel Gabriel engages young Hethor Jacques, a teenaged clockmaker s apprentice, to find the Key Perilous and rewind creation As this cunningly plotted quest [...]

  12. I m honestly disappointed that doesn t allow me to give this 0 stars, because I would if I could It s beyond me how anybody could genuinely enjoy this book, let alone barely tolerate it The list of bad things I have to say about Jay Lake s novel is infinite, but I ll just give my main complaints.The book starts off with a decent amount of potential, setting it up with a classic YA chosen one scenario Then it spirals into what I can only describe as the ninth circle of hell This is a great follow [...]

  13. I have a long list of expectations when it comes to science fiction There s the good creative concepts, detailed setting, the epic feel of an alternate universe , the bad execution falling short of the creativity of the idea, dragging pace, botched social commentary and the whatever obscure names, interspecial love interests oh, why does it never end awkwardly For Jay Lake s Mainspring, he avoids many of the pitfalls of science fiction, but he doesn t nail many of the positives either.Hethor the [...]

  14. Mainspring begins with the archangel Gabriel appearing to Hethor, the novel s protagonist It seems that the world will end very soon, and Gabriel sets Hethor on a journey to make things right Jay Lake may not realize it, but he s rewriting Donnie Darko And I m not just saying that because of the obvious Christ imagery in both stories.The problem is that Hethor s world is like a clock, the Earth revolves around the sun on a giant brass track, and the Earth s mainspring is winding down Hethor need [...]

  15. I have just finished rereading this book for the first time On second exposure it is even better than I had remembered It is both subtle and outrageous It is a marvelous chance to step out of our own familiar world filled with marvels, into a world strange and steeped in the elements of our own, but rendered in strange hues, as if seen through the distorted lens of a funhouse mirror.It is than Hethor s story, it is the story of the Brass Christ, and the mysterious sorcerer or not William of Ghe [...]

  16. I don t know what to think about this I read about halfway through this, and then by chance read the reviews here on , and my suspicions were confirmed I was enjoying it in a way the world at least, the ideas but I couldn t enjoy the characters because there seemed to be very little to them I never got an idea of what drove any particular character or why I didn t get enough of a sense of any of them to really like them.Add to that the problems raised in other reviews, and I decided not to waste [...]

  17. While I enjoyed parts of this clockpunk work, overall I can t help but feel a little indifferent after finishing the tale.The author did some excellent world building I really wanted to know about the various cultures and climes that Hethor, the main character, came into contact with.On the other hand, the originality of idea could not overcome for me the blandness of the main and side characters I don t mind books where the main character is somewhat of an Everyman so that the reader can iden [...]

  18. Jay Lake wrote one of my favourite short stories in the Steampunk anthology, so I was really expecting better from this book but unfortunately, it really didn t do it for me Hethor is your standard intrepid boy hero with hardly any characterisation, there s no smooth character development, his love interest is preternaturally supportive and understanding and flawless, the ending left me unfulfilled, the writing felt stilted and overly formal at times, and I had a really hard time just grasping s [...]

  19. I really wanted to like this , but it fell kind of flat to me I love the literal clockwork universe, but unfortunately the main character was pretty standard and shallow Just another naive fantasy chosen one The conflicting ideologies the plot set up never really culminated into anything satisfying, either, and the spoiler furry take on the fantasy hero discovering the joys of true love didn t work for me either.But I liked the world building I just didn t get as much of what I really wanted out [...]

  20. I have to say, the opening chapter put me off Especially the last page or so, I was like really Really Not only do the apprentice s master s sons hate him, but one happens to beat him up and steal the last of his father s money on the way out of town Ugh Are we back here again I get that this is probably a retelling of the classic poor apprentice beggar boy rises to the task of being a hero via steampunk BUT don t overdo it Please There are other ways to stack the deck that aren t so obvious.Any [...]

  21. I enjoyed reading Mainspring but it had some flaws that detracted from my enjoyment.Mainspring takes place in an alternate universe with a Clockwork Creator The religion bears similarity to the Christian tradition but the actual differences are never explained to my satisfaction Some of that may be due to trying to only reveal what is known to the main character but it leaves the reader s understanding of the world lacking It was clear that there was some really interesting world building being [...]

  22. Lake has, I ll admit, created a wonderfully interesting world, and oftentimes interesting worlds are at the heart of the fantasy adventure genre I want to explore it But not like this What Lake seems frustratingly, maddeningly incapable of here is providing us with any reason to care about the people and situations occurring in his interesting world I don t care if the Mainspring is rewound I don t care if Hethor dies in the attempt I don t care if his enemies thwart him, because I have as littl [...]

  23. I can t go any further and I m stopping this around page 225 I really wanted to read a Jay Lake book, and this one just fell into my lap so I gave it a good try The writing is just painful The entire book is a list of sequential plot sentences, with events that are both poorly contextualized and have no set up or follow through If I was listing my top 5 things I complain about in books I dislike, a big one is when things just seem to randomly happen, and the events between the chapters don t see [...]

  24. So, what if you had a literal clockwork universe in which the earth rotates on an immense brass track driven by gears on top of an equatorial wall Jay Lake takes this unlikely premise and makes it work, and what s , makes it the setting for a journey of spiritual realisation by the extremely hapless main character Poor guy, he keeps getting falsely accused, cast out, beaten up, robbed, imprisoned, abducted, whipped, abducted, abandoned to die, starved, dropped off cliffs, beaten up, attacked, ne [...]

  25. 2.5 starsWhy, why is it so hard to find good steampunk I had high hopes for this one It certainly had potential a great premise, a truly original world, a little theology, and a couple of surprising twists Unfortunately, none of those things can make up for the amateurish writing or the incredibly bland protagonist Hethor lacked personality, conviction, and most of all, passion Even during his not infrequent emotional outbursts, I never got the impression that he truly cared about what he was do [...]

  26. This fantasy has the bizarre and interesting premise of a literal clockwork universe The Earth s mainspring is winding down and young apprentice clockmaker Hethor Jacques is charged with finding the Key Perilous and winding it up again by a Brass Angel The equator of the Earth is a giant gear that meshes with another for Earth s journey around the Lamp of the Sun Set in an alternate 19th century Earth where Her Imperial Majesty Queen Victoria rules over England and Her American Possessions, the [...]

  27. Imagine a world in which god is the ultimate clockmaker, the pre Einsteinian world of Newtonian physics, but taken literally the solar system really is on a series of gears, the Equator is a brass gear miles high with miraculously machined teeth meshing with the cog of the world s orbit, and imagine that the Earth is winding down and must be rewound That is the mission given to Hethor, a clockmaker s apprentice in Victorian New Haven, by the archangel Gabriel If you imagine this as a pocket univ [...]

  28. In my opinion one sign of a good book are the strong reactions it evokes Judging from the number of 5 star and 1 star ratings, I d say Mainspring qualifies As usual, I ll leave it to others to tell you what the story is about I read waaaay too much fantasy and sci fi so I m always delighted when I discover a book thats unlike any other I ve read My only complaint would be the weak character development Mr Lake tries and there is some back story but I never really found myself caring about or ide [...]

  29. Good Steampunk book, intresting feature in here are the religion which a brass christ who dies while rewinding the great gears who propells the world forword Other strange thins is the sun who is a brasslamp shining and the ectorial wall which is here a gigantic brass wall seperating the south earth and the north earth with the gears that propells the world runns at the topp.Good story about a boy eho get a call from the angel Gabriel that he must save the world, on his way he meet some strange [...]

  30. A genre blending mix of magic and steampunk, Jay Lake takes on the creation of the world myth in a very alternate version of a Victorian Era world I like the world building, but the main character himself tended to be a bit lackluster for most of the novel, haplessly falling into progressive worse situations While it does represent a coming of age story, very little of it is a direct result of the main character himself Rather, he is propelled to increasing challenging circumstance that he himse [...]

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