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Clockwork Storybook is a shared universe setting for a series of stories in the burgeoning urban fantasy (sub-)genre. What makes this interesting though is that you can go to http://www.clockworkstorybook.com/ and read gobs of them, or at least you could, read the bottom for update. I spent about 3 months going through their archive and reading everything that was still up (apparently they've removed some of it for offline publication, and some was maybe never on the site).

The stuff there is much more low-key than other urban fantasy offering I've read (with the all too drastic elves walking new york streets and everyone knows it outlook). While still getting into the more fantastical aspects of magic, religion, and the power of belief.

Work ranges from the quite dark "In Theory" which involves a local impotent sheriff chasing down a demon, to the hilarious "The Secret Life of Lawrence Croft, or: Three Days of the Con-Dork" which is about the Roman god of shit, taking over the body of an overweight gamer during a convention. Quality also varies somewhat wildly, with terrible offering such as "Dirty Little Monkeys", or various (and incomplete) Timmy Gromp offerings, and the worst of the worst must be *any* of the Edmund Wharton-Fogg stories, which are biggoted parodies, with no redeeming value, maybe if they were funny, or had some sort of moral or something.

My main complaint about the site is that the archive is all fubar, if you want to read all the work you're going to have to use all 4 search options, each one is incomplete. Who knows what else they just aren't showing us because of the crap interface there.

Also noteworthy, the types of mythologies used within the stories varies greatly, with polynesian, asian, native, european, and a few others (voodoo, mexican folk magic, etc). I can't recall anything explicately African, but my memory may just be failing me on this one. One of the characters is a math genious messing around with geomancy in the Itilian canal district, that's some diversity I think, in ways of approaching fantasy as well as the style of it.

I've not yet purchased (I'm impoverished you know) any of the books, maybe I'll get them for my birthday, so I cannot really review them. The stories on the site however I can give some very definate recommends on (except as noted above).

Favorite characters: Stonehill and Sam Bowen, too bad they hate each other.

As of 2003 Clockwork Storybook is no more, you can go to the sight to get links to the writers independent sites. Or you can go to The Wayback Machine at archive.org and see the site as it was when it ended. The direct url is http://web.archive.org/web/20020605091408/http://www.clockworkstorybook.com/

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