Tic-Tok of Oz, or What Turned Me on to Robots


Mechanical people fire our imagination from I Robot to the Stepford Wives. The concept of what it means to be human and whether synthetic life forms can develop humanity was explored in great depth in Battlestar Galactica. Is the quality of humanity judged by the ability to reason or is it necessary to feel emotions? If a created being develops emotions such as love, does it also require a certain spark—call it the soul—to be more than a replicant?

When I was a child, I avidly read whichever books from the Oz series I could get my hands on from the early Frank Baum books through the continuation of the series by Ruth Plumly Thompson. Tik-Tok of Oz was a mechanical man who was rather cold at the beginning of his story but developed personality through interaction with humans. What does this have to do with my steampunk novella Like Clockwork? Reading about Tik-Tok as a child started a lifelong fascination with synthetic life forms and the question of where humanity truly lies.

Like Clockwork is a tale of murder, mayhem, espionage, inventions, romance and steam. The range of possibilities for what can be included under the steampunk umbrella is ever increasing. I chose to write a tale with no paranormal elements, only a new invention that rocks the society into which it is introduced. I hope readers enjoy it.

Victoria’s work with automatons has gained her renown and changed the face of London. But her concern that the clockworks are taking too many jobs away from humans, creating social unrest, is ignored. Given the ugly mood of the underclass, she fears more outbreaks of violence similar to the murder spree of the notorious Southwark Slasher.

Dash, unemployed thanks to the clockworks, has pledged fealty to The Brotherhood, a group determined to bring about the downfall of the automatons by any means necessary. His plan to kidnap Victoria goes awry when the unorthodox scientist pledges her assistance to their cause.

Despite their opposite social classes, a bond grows between them, and Victoria begins to feel emotions she never expected for the passionate Dash. But when the Slasher strikes close to home, Dash and Victoria realize that the boundaries of polite society are far from the only threat to their happiness…

8 thoughts on “Tic-Tok of Oz, or What Turned Me on to Robots”

  1. Deb H says:

    i’m really enjoying the insights of the authors this week. i wasn’t aware of the sub-genre of steampunk romance and am glad to be introduced to it. your book sounds very intriguing. i’m looking forward to reading it!

  2. Hello!!=) I find it very cool that you still have the same interest as when you were younger.

    I have Like Clockwork on my Kindle and can not wait to get to it!!

  3. J. L. Hilton says:

    What it means to be human was also explored in Star Trek, with my favorite android Data. It’s a beautiful subject, thank you so much for this post! Now I can’t wait to read LIKE CLOCKWORK. Am going over to buy it right now…!

  4. I loved the Oz books too! Tik Tok was always one of my favourite characters.

  5. Bonnie_Dee says:

    Ah, those Oz books. My library had a limited handful and my name appeared over and over on the sign out card.

  6. Oh, loved Tick Tock, too! I have Like Clockwork on my ipad, I just need more time to read! Love the cover, btw. Carina has done some cool things with their steampunk covers.

  7. Bonnie Dee says:

    Yes, all the Carina covers are great but I particularly love the look of the steampunk genre.

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