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The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass
 
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The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass [Kindle Edition]

Vera Nazarian
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $3.42

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Book Description

A far future "dying earth" science fantasy tale about identity, erotic desire, flying water and a mystery...

"This is science fiction the way that Jack Vance's Dying Earth books are science fiction." — Charles de Lint

"... believable character development, glimpses of science behind the solemn nomenclature, and enough irreverence to permit an occasional smile. Whether you expect a royal convergence, romantic destiny, or just a boost to a lackluster gene pool, what you’ll get is less definitive — and more interesting." — Faren Miller, Locus

Locus Recommended Reading List, 2005.

Rich Horton' Virtual Best of the Year 2005.

THE CLOCK KING AND THE QUEEN OF THE HOURGLASS

Many billion years in the future, the sun is a huge bloated golden Day God that fills the sky, and the earth is a barren desert. The last remaining water has pooled at the bottom of the Pacific Basin in a thick toxic sludge-lake called the Oceanus by the sterile post-humans that inhabit its salt-encrusted shores.

Liaei is different from the others. She is a fertile female created out of ancient homo sapiens DNA from the dwindling genetic stores, and has been manufactured by the horticulturists in a genetics lab. Liaei has been brought to life for one mysterious purpose -- she is to become the Queen of the Hourglass.

Growing up in Basin City, fostered by the quasi-female modern human Amhama -- the same technician who put her cells together -- Liaei knows she does not belong. She is lively and vibrant and has a savage full head of hair and eyebrows unlike the smooth doll-like humans around her. She is also curious and inquisitive, asking more questions than even the harmonium in all its complexity can answer -- harmonium technology powers everything, can regurgitate histories of civilizations, process liquid toxic waste, conjure music out of the air, run the agricultural hothouses, and fly hovercars, and yet its origins too have been lost in the murk of the ages and it cannot satisfy the restless mind of Liaei.

What does it mean to be the Queen of the Hourglass? Why do love and emotions seem to mean other things to her than to others? And what is that meandering ribbon of light up on the distant Basin Walls, a mysterious bit of ancient technology called The River That Flows Through the Air? Can water flow uphill?

Soon, when she reaches ancient sexual maturity and undergoes the proper training, the Queen of the Hourglass will embark on a journey to meet her consort the Clock King, and there will be even more questions.

But now, the harmonium-based machines are failing, and suddenly humanity is running out of time.


Product Details

  • File Size: 343 KB
  • Print Length: 150 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Norilana Books; Reprint edition (July 12, 2011)
  • Publication Date: July 12, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005CIHAYE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,402,825 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
(18)
3.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Engineered Handmaid's (Gentler) Future September 8, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass is a novella (99 pages) set in the landscape of a future Earth, where human beings have become androgynous, slow aging and sterile. The book opens to a miraculous event - the genetic engineering of the ova and sperm of earlier humans to create a fertile female. Humanity's survival depends on the production of a child to expand the available gene pool.

The novella is a bit strange in tone, spinning between clinical impressions, the touching humanity of the heroine as she grows up to be a teenager (with a heavy burden), and sly commentary on our present-day society as viewed through the lens of this future version of humanity. The heroine, Liaei, stays true to age - a believable character, complete with embarrassment, intelligence, frustration and fears. The landscape is interesting - the ocean has become deadly, the sun has undergone changes, there are technologies that are vital, but, as with the aquaducts and plumbing after the fall of the Roman empire, no one knows how they work or how to repair them.

While I enjoyed most of the novella, there were a few things that just didn't sit well, particularly in the second part with the Clock King, and the ending. Part of me was happy at the ending, but the other part was thinking how unlikley it was that it would be left like that.

All in all, I enjoyed reading The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass; it stayed more human than many future earth stories I have read. I'd give this 3.5 stars, really, but Amazon only goes by whole stars, and I don't want to give it less than it's worth. I recieved this review copy from the author as part of LibraryThing's Member's Giveaway.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Before we forget curiosity... September 15, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
This quick little novella runs its course in the extremely distant future, where Earth has been reduced to a shrinking lake of sludge at the bottom of the Pacific basin and two highly advanced cities of demi-humans. Our protagonist, Liaei, is an engineered 'modern' homo sapien who comes to learn that her DNA is part of a millenniums-long program of genetic renewal.

In The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass, Ms. Nazarian presents us briefly with an understated view of a vastly different human race. Our world has become strange, but in her hands it is not difficult to accept her future-people and their alien worldview. Her language sometimes has a shade of Bradbury, both to good and bad effect, but she plies her metaphors without overwriting. Questioning and curiosity -- both important themes -- exist both within the plot and without, as the author uses her character's displacement from our own time to re-frame gender identity and sexuality as an outside observer. These monologues unfortunately range from the thought-provoking to the funny to the irritatingly didactic, but come with good intent and real insight.

A few features of the story do grate a bit. The characters can't seem to decide if they measure time or not; in the same page they both criticize their ancestor's clocks and track their own heart's beats per minute. Even in 100 pages, one or two spots seem to start sputtering. However, the last few pages open up the whole story's foundation, that it is our human drive to discover and explore that makes us great and gives us our best chance for the future. I am certainly curious to seek out more of Very Nazarian's work and see if it stands up to another such rigorous and heartening message.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
While I will not go so far as to say I disliked this short story, I must admit that I would never desire to read it again. Whilst reading, for example, I found myself trying to understand the story, the plot; in fact, I would silently ask questions to myself, hoping that the book would answer them in time. For the most part, I forgot my questions - so unimportant and uninteresting were they. By the finish, I simply did not care to understand. There were also parts that I disliked altogether, although I tried very hard to remember to keep an open mind. Sex does not bother me, and I recognise the truth that only a century ago it was common for a child of 15 to be considered a woman (menses were a main determinant there), now it is not. I don't want to read about a 15-year old having sex, let alone a 15-year old having sex because she's been coerced into believing that it's her "duty".

While I appreciate the great imagination Vera Nazarian has and uses, for some people (like myself), the journey from her mind to theirs simply becomes too sidetracked, regardless of how well-written and detailed said journey might be. I felt like there was no purpose to this story, and that is what makes me not care for it. I gleaned nothing from it, and almost had to force myself to keep reading. I am aware, however, that this story might be more than slightly interesting to many other people, so I cannot say that it is a pointless book. Would I suggest this to a friend? Not a chance. Would I ever read it again? Absolutely not. Was it a waste of my time? Not completely. I am hoping that others find the greatness in this story that Nazarian feels is there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars strong narrative in an intriguing world September 11, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
i'd never have read this, although i am a fan of speculative fiction, because i would not have known where to find it; and my expectations were low.

but i was very wrong - this has been a charming fast-paced work that successfully leads us on to whatever may come next. the central character being groomed to save the civilisation is utterly familiar to us although alien to her tender nurturers - i liked the sermons on the care of animals and the delineation of the lines between forcing personal encounters and allowing them to develop - since this is at the heart of the story line's tension, it was refreshing that no violence has yet been perpetrated in this one. the heroine is as gorgeous and innocent and her coming to terms with her earthly form, and reacting to her emotions are plausible and very familiar in a way

Vera is a writer to watch - she is a good story teller, and deft at characterisation. it will be wonderful to see what happens next.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Some weird issues, an interesting premise; I think this is one I'll...
Book Info: Genre: Science Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Recommended for: People who like to think about deep things
Trigger Warnings: Preordained roles in life,... Read more
Published on January 2, 2013 by K. Sozaeva
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice way to spend an afternoon in the sun
Liaei hsa been genetically bred to procreate with the Clock King. She has been brought up in an antiseptic world and struggles with the realization that she is completely different... Read more
Published on September 12, 2012 by Elizabeth Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Deep Time and the Far Future
Science fiction is a genre as comfortable with vast spans of time as it is with Twenty Minutes into the Future. Read more
Published on July 25, 2012 by Leigh H. Kimmel
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Concept - It will make you think
This book takes place several thousands years in the future. There is little to no water left, everything is breaking down, there are no other creatures except the adapted humans. Read more
Published on May 4, 2012 by JBronder Book Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Clock King
Far into the future, the earth is a barren desert where few have survived. Human kind has evolved into an emotionless, passionless group who are no longer able to procreate in the... Read more
Published on November 22, 2011 by Mary E. Young
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice read but...
This was a nice read and I recommend it to any sci-fi reader; it's a quick read also, compared to typical multi-part sci-fi series. Read more
Published on November 11, 2011 by valcas
3.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi/fantasy readers will enjoy this novella
This 99 page novella left me wanting more for an ending - or else I just didn't get it....
This is a genre that I don't normally read so my rating probably represents my lack... Read more
Published on October 31, 2011 by Retired bear
3.0 out of 5 stars futuristic time
I think is a little over my head. It was hard to get into and the ending was okay but I wanted something else. Read more
Published on October 30, 2011 by Rhonda
5.0 out of 5 stars I want more
Received through LibraryThing Memeber Give Away.

I very much enjoyed this book. The sort of flat writing style perfectly complements the tone of the story. Read more
Published on September 29, 2011 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars boring and doesn't really have a point
A child is born from an egg and sperm from the old Earth. It is very far into the future. What is left of all the oceans is called Oceanus. Read more
Published on September 28, 2011 by A. Popham
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