The artists pursuit of perfection in his craft is an endless struggle in any era. And so it is with Clement Dyer, who sadly, will not be the first nor last craftsman who allows it to become his downfall. I loved the term "autosmith", evoking a connection between antique and modern, the past and the present, and making the job sound utterly natural and acceptably vocational. The same can be said of Dyer's society, in that homosexuality is perfectly understood and accepted without gossip or stigma. The romance between Duke and Clement is a tentative one however, and while there is promise of a steamier relationship, this short story stops "short" of further detail, leaving the sweet conclusion for the reader's imagination to embellish.
I was also drawn by the story's title, putting in mind the Stanley Kubrick film "A Clockwork Orange," another example of craft over conformity and the 'renegade' mindset. The text itself is well written and the dialogue engaging, two of my favorite things to discover in any book, long or short.
Steampunk fans will find The Clockwork Menagerie a fun, fast read that ticks along like 'clockwork' in the time-honored tradition of a happy ending.