Release Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Tor.com Publishing
“Welcome to Fountains Parish–a cesspit of trade and crime, where ambition curls up to die and desperation grows on its cobbled streets like mold on week-old bread.
Coppelia is a street thief, a trickster, a low-level con artist. But she has something other thieves don’t… tiny puppet-like companions: some made of wood, some of metal. They don’t entirely trust her, and she doesn’t entirely understand them, but their partnership mostly works.
After a surprising discovery shakes their world to the core, Coppelia and her friends must re-examine everything they thought they knew about their world, while attempting to save their city from a seemingly impossible new threat.”
It’s not often I read a book written by a white dude where not only is the cast predominately women (many of whom are queer and/or trans), but well-written women. In Made Things, Adrian Tchaikovsky treats his female characters like people – shocking, I know – and gives them all depth and interiority. And yes, the overwhelming majority of the cast are women, including nearly all of the characters with the biggest influence on the plot. And no, it didn’t escape my notice that all of the villains are men, much to my delight.
Really, there wasn’t much I didn’t like about Made Things. It’s a sharp, subtle piece of work that wastes no time yet never forgets to wander and explore. It tells a compact, concise story in an expansive, compelling way. Little details proliferate around the edges and makes you wonder at all the amazing things just off screen. It’s hard to talk about the plot without veering into spoiler territory so let me just say that it was a lot of fun and very engaging.
Having never read Tchaikovsky before, this novella made a strong case for wanting to read more. Tor.com has graced us with more of this intriguing universe with a prequel short story, “Precious Little Things,” in case you need more homunculi in your literary lives. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for more full-length works of his in the future. Consider me a new fan.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy.