Far below the streets of Retropolis, down a shaft and through a hatch, it's possible to find the Clockwork Book. Surprisingly few people do. Chances are, there's a reason for that.
But those who do visit the Book in its lair have a splendid opportunity. The Book collects stories: all kinds of stories. If something's been done, or imagined, or planned, or cancelled... well, the Book probably knows all about it. The Book will offer that knowledge to you. All you need to do, the Book will explain, is to trade a story of your own for the one you're after. Harmless, right?
Well, sometimes. And sometimes not. Because what you have to remember is that the Book will repeat your story to anyone who asks for it. No exceptions. No returns. And this is where things can get complicated, in an oddly topical way.
It's always a good idea to read the Terms of Service.
"The Lair of the Clockwork Book" is an illustrated, serialized story that will update at Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual each Monday and Thursday until it's over. That should be sometime in April of 2012.
This version of the illustration is based on the one at the web site, and in the book, but has been re-rendered and overpainted in a much higher resolution even than the book's version: 300 pixels to the inch, at 18 by 24 inches.