BOB by Tegon Maus
BOB is a fresh and innovative story on a familiar theme, involving contact with an alien race from a distant part of the universe. (See Tegon Maus’s author interview) There are also elements of time travel and visitors from the future. What is different is the humor and the vivid description of memorable characters. (I found this novel on the Cheap eBook Reading List)
The story has interesting twists and surprises.
Characters and Setting
BOB is fun. It is an enjoyable read that has humor on nearly every page. The Russian driver named Bob (the title derives from him) is certainly memorable. Hard to describe, he almost leaps off the page. In short, he is funny, quirky, and unforgettable. The plot centers around mysterious lights in Arizona. Peter Anderson is a newspaper reporter who is in the twilight of his career. He fears that he will soon be relegated to covering flower shows and mundane human interest stories. As he realizes that a CD may actually contain evidence of UFOs and extraterrestrial visitors, he begins to hope that he has the scoop of a lifetime.
As he investigates the case, he is helped by Bob and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of cousins. But mysterious people keep appearing, such as a beautiful woman named Emma claiming to be a time-traveler from the future and others that might be agents of the government. Through it all, Peter is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery and write the big story that will cap his career.
The strength of the novel is the unique characters. While the plot is not rich in character development, character description is outstanding and creative. Dialogue is witty and natural. The plot seems to follow a mystery story trajectory. It is science fiction, of course, but that is the setting, not the engine of the plot. The writing paints a vivid description of the situations, landscapes, and otherworldly adventures. Bob’s car, for example, almost takes the status of one of the characters.
I turned in surprise and disappointment as a faded blue sedan sputtered to a stop in front of us, belching out a small cloud of blue smoke with a sharp bang.
What Didn’t Work
Some parts of the story were a bit confusing. Perhaps the author intended to give the sense of Peter Anderson’s confusion. If so, he succeeded, but the reader is left somewhat confused as well. The scenes involving conflict between alien races are examples. We never learn who the alien races are, what they are doing here, much of anything about their motivation, or the seeds of their conflict. Here is an example of one of the races.
The head… The face was protruding, elongated, reptilian in structure. Even in the dark, their markings, multicolor patterns covering their skin resembling those of a lizard, stood out boldly, shocking me.
But in the end, these points of confusion do not matter. It is still an enjoyable read.
This is a bit refreshing, since the editing is very well done. No formatting errors, except some additional spaces, were noted, and grammar and punctuation are spot-on. Grammar police may find an issue or two, but they are not at all obvious to me.
Just based on the clever writing and the entertainment value, alone, would make this book a “must read.” I rate the novel five stars.