Clockwork Storybook was formed in the late 1990s by fellow Austin-based writers Mark Finn, Chris Roberson, Matthew Sturges, and Bill Willingham, beginning as a writing group which met weekly to critique its members' short stories and novels. Soon thereafter, the four began producing monthly content for an online shared world anthology of urban fantasy, revolving around the fictitious city of San Cibola, California, where magical inhabitants co-existed with normal citizens, at www.ClockworkStorybook.com. The website is no longer there, and is only partially accessible through the Internet Archive Project, although content from it surfaces occasionally on the respective authors' websites.
Each issue featured a short story by each of the four founders, plus "an occasional story by guest authors invited to play in our fabricated realm", an editorial and intermittent reviews of various notable books, etc. (The second issue, for example, included contributions from artists Brian Hagen and Jeff Dee) In 1999, they were joined by their first 'Associate Member' - Harold Covey, described as an "artist/designer/renaissance man extraordinaire", who designed the ClockworkStorybook logo. (Above, left)
After a couple of years, the development and increasing popularity of print on demand technologies suggested to them that they could create their own imprint (also called Clockwork Storybook) through which they would publish their own novels and short story collections. They launched with four print titles in spring 2001.
Ultimately, after continuing with the online anthology for a couple of years, and publishing a handful of books, the Clockwork Storybook collective fell apart, and the individual authors went their separate ways.
Several books/anthologies were printed by Clockwork Storybook, and mostly available through the website. Some reprinted online content, many featured new stories. A partial bibliography includes:
- Clockwork Storybook Offline, Volume I: Mythology by Finn, Roberson, Sturges & Willingham
- Clockwork Storybook Offline, Volume II: The Goblin Market by Finn, Roberson, Sturges & Willingham
- Voices of Thunder by Chris Roberson (Feb, 2001)
- Beneath the Skin & Other Stories by Matthew Sturges (Mar, 2001)
- Gods New & Used by Mark Finn (Mar, 2001)
- Down the Mysterly River by Bill Willingham (Apr, 2001)
- Road Trip by Mark Finn
- The Clockwork Reader Volume 1 (Nov 2001) by Clockwork Storybook
- Set the Seas on Fire by Chris Roberson (Dec, 2001) (reprinted by Solaris, 2007)
- Cybermancy Incorporated by Chris Roberson (Dec, 2001) (cover by Michael Lark)
- Year of the Hare by Mark Finn (Dec, 2001)
- Midwinter by Matthew Sturges (Feb, 2002)
- Hyde and Seek by Bill Willingham (May, 2002)
- The Monster Maker by Bill Willingham (May, 2002)
- Any Time at All: The Lives and Time of Roxanne Bonaventure by Chris Roberson (Sep 2002) (cover by John Picacio)
After Clockwork Storybook
Bill Willingham is known for his Vertigo Comics series Fables. Matthew Sturges is probably best known as the co-writer (with Willingham) of Fables spin-off Jack of Fables. Mark Finn is a noted Robert E. Howard scholar and playwright. Chris Roberson is author of several books, and publisher of MonkeyBrain Books.
- Comicon Post by Chris Roberson, 22nd December, 1998. Accessed January 21st, 2008
- Infinity Plus interview with Chris Roberson. Accessed 21st January, 2008
- ClockworkStorybook website from 1999. Accessed through the Internet Archive, January 2008
- Editorial from Clockwork Storybook #11, Sept. 15th, 1999. Accessed through the Internet Archive, January 2008
- Clockwork Storybook content, partially accessible through the Internet Archive
- Chris Roberson's homepage
- Matthew Sturges' homepage
- A partial bibliography of Bill Willingham
- Infinity Plus Chris Roberson Timeline
- Clockwork Storybook at everything2.com
- RevolutionSF article on CWSB's Clockwork Novel Weekend, 2001