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"...a market economy is essentially a genetic algorithm for solving resource allocation problems..."
- Charles Stross

Clockwork Man  
  A man from the future with an embedded mechanism to manipulate time.  

A very early example of a human man with implanted technology- a kind of cyborg.

Eureka!” he clicked, “I’m working!”

“What’s that?” shouted Arthur, backing away. “What’s that you said?”

“L-L-L-L-L-L-Listen,” vibrated the other.

Still pressing his hands on the hurdle, he leaned upon them until the top part of his body hung perilously over. His face wore an expression of unutterable relief.

“Can’t you hear,” he squeaked, red in the face.

And then Arthur was quite sure about something that he had been vaguely hearing for some moments. It sounded like about a hundred alarum clocks all going off at once, muffled somehow, but concentrated. It was a sort of whirring, low and spasmodic at first, but broadening out into something more regular, less frantic.

“What that noise?” he demanded thoroughly frightened by now.

“It’s only my clock,” said the other. He clambered over the hurdle, a little stiffly, as though not quite sure of his limbs. Except for a general awkwardness, an abrupt tremor now and again, he seemed to have become quite rational and ordinary. Arthur scarcely comprehended the remark, and it certainly did not explain the origin of the harassing noise. He gaped at the figure – less strange now, although still puzzling – and noticed for the first time his snuff-coloured suit of rather odd pattern, his boots of curious leaden hue, his podgy face with a snub nose in the middle of it, his broad forehead surmounted by the funny fringe of the wig. His voice, as he went on speaking, gradually increased in pitch until it reached an even tenor.

“Perhaps I ought to explain,” he continued. “You see, I’m a clockwork man.”

From The Clockwork Man, by E.V. Odle.
Published by William Heinemann in 1923
Additional resources -

“For, of course, if the Clockwork man really is, as suggested, a semi-mechanical being, then he could only have come from the future. So far as I am aware, the present has not yet evolved sufficiently even to consider seriously the possibility of introducing mechanical reinforcements into the human body, although there has been tentative speculation on the subject. We are thousands of years away from such a proposition; on the other hand, there is no reason why it should not have already happened outside of our limited knowledge of futurity. It has often occurred to me that the drift of scientific progress is slowly but surely leading us in the direction of some such solution of physiological difficulties. The human organism shows signs of breaking down under the strain of an increasingly complex civilisation. There may be a limit to our power of adaptability, and in that case humanity will have to decide whether it will alter its present mode of living or find instead some means of supplementing the normal functions of the body. Perhaps that has, as I suggest, already happened; it depends entirely upon which road humanity has taken. If the mechanical side of civilization has developed at its present rate, I see no reason why the man of the future should not have found means to ensure his efficiency by mechanical means applied to natural functions.”

It would require a mathematical diagram to describe the incident with absolute accuracy. The Curate, of course, had heard nothing about the Clockwork man’s other performances; he had scarcely heeded the hints thrown out about the possibility of movement in other dimensions. It seemed to him, in the uncertain light of their surroundings, that the Clockwork man’s right arm gradually disappeared into space. There was no arm there at all. Afterwards, he remembered a brief moment when the arm had begun to grow vague and transparent; it was moving very rapidly, in some direction, neither up nor down, nor this way or that, but along some shadowy plane. Then it went into nothing, evaporated from view. And just as suddenly, it swung back into the plane of the curate’s vision, and the hand at the end of it grasped a silk hat.

The Curate’s heart thumped slowly. “But how did you do it?” he gasped. “And your arm, you know — it wasn’t there!”

So far as the Clockwork man’s features were capable of change, there passed across them a faint expression of triumph and satisfaction. “I perceive,” he remarked, “that I have indeed lapsed into a world of curiously insufficient and inefficent beings. I have fallen amongst the Unclocked. They cannot perceive Nowhere. They do not understand Nowhen. They lack senses and move about on a single plane. Henceforth, I shall act with greater confidence.”

——- Slowly, with his customary stiffness of movement, the Clockwork man raised his arms upwards and removed the soft clerical hat. He held it aloft, as though uncertain what to do with it, and the Doctor took it from him with a shaking hand.

Next moment the wig came off, and there was disclosed to the Doctor’s gaze a bald cranium.

Then the Clockwork man turned himself slowly round.

The Doctor shot out a hand and gripped the framework of the shelves. As his eyes rested upon the object that now confronted him, he swung slowly round until his body was partly supported by the shelves. His mouth opened wide and remained stretched to its limit.

At first, what he saw looked like another face, only it was round and polished. A second glance made it quite plain that instead of a back to the Clockwork man’s head, there was a sort of glass dial, beneath which the doctor dimly made out myriads of indicators, tiny hands that moved round a circle marked with inconceivably minute divisions. Some of the hands moved slowly, some only just visibly, whilst others spun round with such speed that they left only a blurred impression of a vibratant rotary movement. Besides the hands there were stops, queer-shaped knobs and diminutive buttons, each one marked with a small, neat number. Little metal flaps fluttered quickly and irregularly, like the indicators on a telephone switchboard. There was a faint throbbing and commotion, a suggestion of power at high pressure.

“If you open the lid,” explained the Clockwork man (and at the sound of that human voice the doctor jumped violently), “you will see certain stops, marked with numbers.”

Obedient, in spite of himself, the Doctor discovered a minute hinge and swung open the glass lid. The palpitating clock, with its stir of noises slightly accentuated, lay exposed to his touch.

“Stop XI,” continued the Clockwork man, in tones of sharp instruction. “Press hard. Then wind Y4 three times.”

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Clockwork Man
  More Ideas and Technology by E.V. Odle
  Tech news articles related to The Clockwork Man
  Tech news articles related to works by E.V. Odle

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