During that last summer, as if in punishment for being happy, Kate was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
The last time we used the wishing stone was at the hospital the morning she died.
On that day, all three of us made a silent wish, certain the others had wished the same. Kate died that afternoon and I never thought about it again. It was the last time I believed in magic, in love or in the existence of God.
Then, after three miserable lonely years, the unthinkable, a second chance… Warwick.
Reviews for the Book
A Tegon Maus novel is a celebration, not only of storytelling but of the very act of creation. Maus can take a seemingly banal setup, such as the handyman service of Service Before Self, and fashion it into a compelling, comedic character study. He can take something as common as UFOs, as in Bob, and put such a spin on it that the reader has no choice but to be delighted by every page. Maus is a gifted storyteller, a go-for-broke storyteller. A few months ago, I reviewed Machines of the Little People, Book 1 of The Eve Project. I said it was good, but not as good as the other works by Maus I've read. I said it was a solid story and a great way of passing a few hours, but it was a trifle confusing and lacking in the humor department. In short, I enjoyed the book, but it felt like Maus-lite. It simply wasn't as good as I've come to know Maus can be. Book 2, The Wishing Stone, blows the hell out of Book 1. Gone is the slightly wonky genre-mashup of Book 1. Instead, The Wishing Stone is pure sci-fi, unapologetic, balls-to-the-walls sci-fi. But it's sci-fi for us pedestrians, for those who don't want epic space dramas or overly complicated mythologies. This is the story of a man who has no idea what is going on pretty much the entire book. Which is as it should be. The reader doesn't know what's going on. We share in Ben's confusion. Often, especially in the first few chapters, characters begin talking about something and we know, just as Ben knows, that there is something they are not saying, something they know but we do not, and this works beautifully to keep us empathizing with Ben's predicament. Moreover, Ben's response to the project his brother-in-law Roger is working on is about as human a response as is possible. He is initially repulsed by what Roger is trying to do, but then becomes caught up in the illusion and responds the way most people would. He goes to the research lab in the hope of having his bio-chemical electrical discharge dealt with--a nice nod to the events of the previous book--and instead finds himself at the heart of a postmodern Frankenstein project. Could we say that the plot is a trifle derivative? Sure, but good god, that seems petty, especially when one considers that the plot really is secondary here. This is a character study through and through, a breakdown of what drives men, of what inspires men, and ultimately of what destroys them. At the heart of the book are the conflicting worldviews of Ben and Roger. Roger believes that certain ends are worth any price, even betraying his family and sentencing the human race to what amounts to mass extinction. Ben, on the other hand, refuses to accept certain actions, no matter how much comfort they might bring, no matter how quote-unquote good they might be, if the cost is the loss of one's humanity. And this conflict makes the end of the book all the more poignant, when the reader considers what has been gained and at what cost. Maus is asking big questions: What makes a person human? What role does memory play in defining a person? What role does the individual play in the larger designs of life? But he is asking these questions organically, in a way that makes sense in the context of the book. At no point does he stop and force the reader to ponder the answers. Instead, he allows the questions to arise as the story moves forward. Balancing all of this out is the humor. My biggest gripe with Machines of the Little People was that the humor just wasn't there and didn't really work the few times it was. The Wishing Stone has humor in spades, humor that never gets in the way but offers the reader perfectly timed respite from the otherwise serious tone of the book. Characters like Hank, Larry, and Steven, for example, offer a wonderful opportunity for Maus to demonstrate his command over comedic voicing, and Marcie and Digsby's obsession with Ben being able to see through their clothing--he can't, but they refuse to believe him--makes for a terrific recurring joke, on par with Bob's innumerable cousins. In short, The Wishing Stone is pure Tegon Maus, a highly enjoyable book that I simply could not stop reading. I hereby award The Wishing Stone five out of five stars. It improves upon its predecessor in every possible way, and I cannot wait for the final book, The Cordovian Effect. If The Wishing Stone is any indication, it should be one hell of a ride. - Jonathan
About the Author: Tegon Maus
I was raised pretty much the same as everyone else… devoted mother, strict father and all the imaginary friends I could conjure. Not that I wasn’t friendly, I just wasn’t “people orientated”. Maybe I lived in my head way more than I should have, maybe not. I liked machines more than people, at least I did until I met my wife.
The first thing I can remember writing was for her. For the life of me I can’t remember what it was about… something about dust bunnies under the bed and monsters in my closet. It must have been pretty good because she married me shortly after that. I spent a good number of years after following a variety of ideas before I got back to writing.
It wasn’t a deliberate conscious thought, it was more of a stepping stone. My wife and I had joined a dream interpret group and we were encouraged to write down our dreams as they occurred. “Be as detailed as you can,” we were told.
I was thrilled. If there is one thing I enjoy it’s making people believe me and I like to exaggerate. Not a big exaggeration or an out right lie mine you, just a little step out of sync, just enough so you couldn’t be sure if it were true or not. If I can make people think “it could happen,” even for a moment, then I have them and nothing makes me happier. When I write, I always write with the effort of “it could happen” very much in mind and nothing, I guarantee you, nothing, makes me happier.
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