Machines of the Little People by Tegon Maus

Machines of the Little People by Tegon Maus
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (105 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Ben Harris’s sister died of cervical cancer more than three years ago… his best friend and her husband, Roger Keswick, disappeared the day before the funeral. For the next six months everyone from the local police to the Department of Defense searched for him but to no avail… it was as if he had simply fallen off the face of the planet only to reappear at work as if nothing were out of the ordinary.

Then by the purest of coincidences Ben finds himself pulled back into Roger’s life only to discover he has remarried… to Jessica… a woman the looks, sounds and acts just like his dead sister. To complicate things Roger is insistent his home, his car, his life is infested with tiny elf like creatures he calls the Katoy. He claims they run massive machines under his house and watch his every move… every move that is until Jessica is found bludgeoned to death in his living room and Roger is nowhere to found . . . again.

No sooner did Ben recover from the tragic death of his sister than his wound is ripped open again. Will history repeat itself with his brother-in-law’s new wife?

As soon as I read the blurb for this novella, I couldn’t wait to find out more. The science fiction themes are strong, but the character development is even more pronounced. While it took me a little while to get to know all of the characters well, I was surprised by how much I figured out about them once the plot was given a chance to simmer. This is the kind of tale that requires some investment early on, but every ounce of effort poured into understanding what is happening was richly rewarded for this reader.

The first few scenes were somewhat confusing for me due to the number of characters who were being introduced at the same time that so many inexplicable things are happening. The pacing in the remainder of the plot was even, but I did find it a little too fast in the beginning due to how much the author expects his audience to figure out in an extremely short amount of time.

With that being said, I am a big fan of stories like this one that require you to think. Mr. Maus knows how to strike that delicate balance between explaining what on earth just happened and giving the reader a chance use his or her own mind to pull together the most subtle clues. It is this ability of his that makes me quite curious to see what he will come up with next.

Machines of the Little People is a complicated, thought-provoking, intelligent ride that I didn’t want to end. It’s long enough to cover all of the bases, but short enough to read in one sitting for dedicated science fiction fans. Either way, this is a book worth sampling.

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