Robert Stikmanz returns to narrative fiction with The Seven Jewel Bird. A novella set in a post-petroleum corner of the Stikmanz universe, the heirs of our fall scavenge depopulated suburbs for whatever can be sold, used or repurposed.
Most of the salvage passes through a sprawling market sheltered under a ruined freeway. A market that exists, in no small part, because one old man understands technology of the past better than anyone else. Technology of his distant youth.
Inventor, handyman and artist, Maker is known as a wonder-worker. It's a reputation he's not sure he deserves - or wants. By his lights, he simply tackles the problems that come his way. Then inspiration pushes him to build a mechanical bird that sings with endless variety.
Born at the limit of skill, crafted from scraps, fragments and a shattered clock, the creation changes its creator as he shapes it. But violence as much as ruined freeways is part of the legacy we leave the future. Walls are thin, and new neighbors arrive with issues not even a wonder-worker can resolve.
The Seven Jewel Bird is Stikmanz at his most personal and suggestive best. A small book beautifully written, it features a distinctive cover illustration by the author.