Revealing TJ Klune’s In the Lives of Puppets

Author TJ Klune invites you deep into the heart of a peculiar forest and on the extraordinary journey of a family assembled from spare parts…

We’re thrilled to share the cover of Klune’s In the Lives of Puppets, a new standalone fantasy adventure inspired by Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio—available March 28, 2023 from Tor Books.

In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots—fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe.

The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled “HAP,” he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio–a past spent hunting humans.

When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio’s former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic’s assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming.

Along the way to save Gio, amid conflicted feelings of betrayal and affection for Hap, Vic must decide for himself: Can he accept love with strings attached?

Inspired by Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, and like The Swiss Family Robinson meets WALL-E, In the Lives of Puppets is a masterful stand-alone fantasy adventure from the beloved author who brought you The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door.

Cover art by Red Nose Studio; Lettering by Katie Klimowicz

From author TJ Klune:

In the Lives of Puppets is a novel that allowed me to stretch the limits of my imagination. This is a big book full of big ideas, but at its heart, Puppets is a story of family, and the lengths we go to in order to protect those we love. It is arguably the most ambitious novel I’ve written, but I never lost sight of what’s important: queer storytelling, and the power people have when they come together, even if more than a few of them are made of spare parts. I can’t wait for you all to meet Victor, Hap, Nurse Ratched, Rambo, and Gio.

From editor Ali Fisher:

TJ Klune is relentlessly curious about who we call family and what it means to live a good life and now he’s exploring those ideas on an even grander scale. Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio is one of the world’s most translated books and Klune’s take on the story gives it all new life and meaning. I laughed (out loud), I cried (somehow louder?), I might buy a Roomba to keep me company.


TJ Klune is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling, Lambda Literary Award-winning author of The House in the Cerulean Sea, Under the Whispering Door, The Extraordinaries, and more. Being queer himself, Klune believes it’s important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories.


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