Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies, Vol 18, No 3 (2013)

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Twisting Dickens: Modding Childhood for the Steampunk Marketplace in Cory Doctorow’s “Clockwork Fagin” (2011)

Sharon Bickle


This article provides a critical comparison between Cory Doctorow’s adapted short story “Clockwork Fagin” and Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist. It focuses particularly on Doctorow’s use of the posthuman “modded” child in order to question firstly whether the text performs a neo-Victorian critique of the Dickensian text and secondly whether its Young Adult “rebelling to conform” narrative structure compromises any anti-materialist steampunk politics presented in the text—and whether this affects its claim to the steampunk genre.

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