Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti

Come inside and take a seat; the show is about to begin . . .

Outside any city still standing, the Mechanical Circus Tresaulti sets up its tents. Crowds pack the benches to gawk at the brass-and-copper troupe and their impossible feats: Ayar the Strong Man, the acrobatic Grimaldi Brothers, fearless Elena and her aerialists who perform on living trapezes. War is everywhere, but while the Circus is performing, the world is magic.

That magic is no accident: Boss builds her circus from the bones out, molding a mechanical company that will survive the unforgiving landscape.

But even a careful ringmaster can make mistakes.

Two of Tresaulti’s performers are trapped in a secret standoff that threatens to tear the Circus apart, just as the war lands on their doorstep. Now they must fight a war on two fronts: one from the outside, and a more dangerous one from within . . .

…[A] highwire act of her own, Valentine still raises the novel above the ordinary through her ability to convey the richness of the circus performers’ emotional lives, coupled with impressive writing…
The New York Times

“…the future of fantastical fiction…”

Like a circus, Mechanique shows you confounding, thrilling sights, and then moves on, leaving everything almost as the book left it.

In the few years prior to Mechanique, Valentine gained notice for a string of short stories that apply a subtle, intuitive deconstruction to the skeleton of science fiction and fantasy. She brings that same mutant grace to Mechanique—as well as an acrobatic fluidity and a tingle of vertigo that befits the high-wire subject matter.
The AV Club

This steampunk-flavored circus story begins with a disturbing undertone, like an out-of-tune calliope, and develops in hints and shadows. Touring a drained postwar world, the Mechanical Circus Tresaulti rarely visits a city twice in anyone’s lifetime; borders are lax, and lives are short. The circus’s performers have no time for training, instead undergoing terrible trials in the ringmaster’s workshop to gain their skills. Enter the “government man,” who dreams of bringing back the order and security of the old world and wants the ringmaster to help him. She shares many of his dreams but mistrusts his offers of alliance. The drama and climax come not from the rivalry between the two but their similarities as they decide how to use their powers and who will suffer the consequences. Fans of grim fantasy will love this menacing and fascinating debut.”
Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

Mechanique is a brutal gem of a novel–a fierce, gilded textual circus. The story is spun from words that are sweeter than sugar, but the result is dark and weird, and it will bite you back.”
— Cherie Priest, bestselling author of Boneshaker and Dreadnought

Winner of the 2012 IAFA Crawford Award
Nebula Nominee: Best Novel

Genevieve Valentine’s World Fantasy Award-nominated short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Fantasy, Lightspeed, Apex, the Journal of Mythic Arts,, and others, and in the anthologies Federations, The Way of the Wizard, The Living Dead 2, Running with the Pack, Teeth, and more. Her nonfiction has appeared in Lightspeed, Fantasy, Weird Tales, and

She currently lives in New York; the longer she lives there, the warier she becomes of live theatre, and the fonder she becomes of anything that’s open 24 hours a day.

Her appetite for bad movies is insatiable, a tragedy she tracks on her website,

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is in use.
Please feel free to use this form to contact us directly, and we'll reply by email. Thank you!

 | Subscribe to comments via RSS