Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Science Fiction / Short Story
Approximate word count: 5-6,000 words
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Under the pen name Sullivan Lee as well as her own name, Laura L Sullivan is the author of several traditionally published books in multiple genres. The former social worker, newspaper editor, and deputy sheriff is now also self publishing her short stories.
“In The Ideal Household Appliance, a socially averse entomologist with an interest in robotics has created the perfect cleaning gadget – artificial roaches that hide in the daytime but scurry around at night cleaning up debris. They have all the benefits of insects, without the feces and disease. But when he develops an unhealthy obsession with his neighbor, and her violent ex-husband returns, the scientist discovers that his new invention still has a few bugs.”
The nature of a short story is that relative to longer works the author is limited in how much can be said. There can’t be as much character development (often leaving the reader wanting to know a character better) and the story has to have severe constraints on complexity. I enjoy them, but am often left wanting more.
What struck me about The Ideal Household Appliance is that, for me, character development was exactly what was needed to understand the story. No more and no less. The reader gets a good handle on Watson, the protagonist, learns enough about Rosalind, a major secondary character, to fit the story, and just enough about Rex, Rosalind’s son, and Rosalind’s ex-husband for them to understand their place in the story. And it was a good story, with a hero, some conflict with a satisfying resolution, and an ending that didn’t leave me thinking I’d been left in the dark about something important.
No Significant issues
Rating: ***** Five stars