Top Menu

The worst part about becoming a machine is wanting to love but knowing you can’t. The second worst part is trying to love, but accidentally breaking her leg.

“It started last Tuesday. I awoke from unsettling dreams, as they say, to find my left elbow replaced by a rotational hinge joint.”

As a Machine and parts

Mitchell, a twenty-something nobody, wakes each morning next to his midlife girlfriend, living an ever- thinning line between human and machine. As his literal condition progresses he loses his capacity for human emotion, and potentially with it, Marsha.

As a Machine and Parts is a story of Mitchell’s struggle to discover which assembly line he belongs to.

As a Machine and Parts integrates illustrative elements to render a story beyond conventional text. As Mitchell morphs from human to machine, the text morphs too, from a handwritten style to a typed font and ultimately to a schematic diagram.

As a Machine and Parts immerses you in ways that traditional print storytelling cannot.

Listen to the full Booked Podcast in-depth discussion. Episode #60 – Caleb J. Ross Double Review

[schema type=”review” url=”http://kristinfouquet.blogspot.com/2012/03/losing-essence-review-of-as-machine-and.html” name=” Losing Essence- a review of “As a Machine and Parts”” rev_name=”As a Machine and Parts: a novella” rev_body=”Reminiscent of Metamorphosis and Flowers for Algernon, Caleb J. Ross takes us inside the mind of a man who is transforming. This man, Mitchell, experiences a slide from human to machine. This transformation coincides with the deterioration of his relationship with a much older lover, Marsha…Although I place As a Machine and Parts on the shelf alongside Charactered Pieces and Stranger Will, I will continue thinking about this book for some time.” author=” Kristin Fouquet, author of Twenty Stories and Rampart & Toulouse” pubdate=”2012-03-22″ user_review=”5″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”5″ ] [schema type=”review” url=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/651988108″ rev_name=”As a Machine and Parts: a novella” rev_body=”There was once a Marvel comic book called What if… and in it Uatu the Watcher, a bald sage-like character with an enormous head spun speculative tales of alternative versions of the Marvel Universe you thought you knew. With As a Machine & Parts Caleb J. Ross continues to stake his claim as his generation’s Watcher, which should not be construed as a commentary on his beautiful, yet clearly fake head of hair, but instead as an observation about the scope of his imagination and his ongoing vision of what the world can be, might be and just may will be if Ross has anything to say about it.” author=”Ben Tanzer, author of You Can Make Him Like You (Artistically Declined) and My Father’s House (Main Street Rag)” pubdate=”2013-06-26″ user_review=”5″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”5″ ] [schema type=”review” rev_name=”As a Machine and Parts: a novella” rev_body=”As a Machine and Parts is equal parts hilarious, absurd and touching. It’s the kind of book that after reading makes you say, ‘Damn, why didn’t I think of that first?’ only to realize you couldn’t have done it so well. Wildly inventive without collapsing under the weight of its own genius, As a Machine and Parts proves that Caleb J. Ross is one of the most exciting young authors writing today. As a Machine and Parts is the kind of book I wish I’d written. It’s ingenious and disgusting and touching without being cheap, all while being wildly inventive in a very honest way. This book proves that Caleb J. Ross is one of the most exciting young authors writing today.” author=”Nik Korpon, author of Stay God (Otherworld Publications) and Old Ghosts (Brown Paper Publishing)” ] [schema type=”review” rev_name=”As a Machine and Parts: a novella” rev_body=”This one you’ve definitely gotta read in print. The text placement, font treatments, illustrations, ghosting, schematics, stains, etc. (not to mention the most densely-footnoted story ever) all contribute metafictionally to this darkly-comic (bordering on bizarro) grotesque about a man losing his humanity and becoming machine. On the surface, it may seem to tread similar ground as Max Barry’s Machine Man, but where Barry’s nerdish protag is striving to become superhuman, Ross’s is a victim of the phenomenon that destroys his relationships and leaves him clinging (clamping?) to what’s left of his devolving emotions. The character muses in metaphors about cogs in the assembly line of life, receiving support from the world of the transvested and taxidermied. He even fetishizes a wheelchair more than the cougar girlfriend inhabiting it, and traces his lineage through various nuts and bolts making up his surroundings, who feature in their own short stories in an extended epilogue of sorts. Oh, and you’ll also learn the critical difference between ‘sleeving’ and ‘stuffing’ a llama. Highly recommended.” author=”Gordon Highland, author of Major Inversions and Flashover” pubdate=”2012-01-16″ user_review=”5″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”5″ ] [schema type=”review” rev_name=”As a Machine and Parts: a novella” rev_body=”This novella about heartache and love and identity and humanity is also just completely fun. It never gets bogged down in its own peculiarity or tragedy, simply accepting the transformation as a matter of course, allowing for laughs even while the story reaches deep into your bowels.” author=” Eddy Rathke via The Lit Pub, author of Ash Cinema” pubdate=”2012-10-02″ user_review=”4″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”5″ ]

Kind Words

Sean P. Ferguson (via his blog):

Even though the story is oddly similar to another major release within the last year, the two books could not be any more different. Ross’s As a Machine and Parts is darker, more literary, and technically sound when it comes to the format. As is usually the case with Max Barry’s writing, Machine Man is well written and entertaining, but it hardly sinks its teeth into the reader the way that As a Machine and Parts does. Ross is easily the powerhouse here. His characters stay with you. Even turning into a machine, Mitchell is more human, he’s a rounder character, more real. Ross’s writing doesn’t allow you to question the possibilities. You don’t have the time to wonder if this story were real. The sharp dialogue and poetic narrative either pulls you along for the ride or lays you to waste in a euphoria of grotesque domestic fiction.

[schema type=”book” url=”http://www.calebjross.com/works/booklength/as-a-machine-and-parts-a-novella/” name=”As a Machine and Parts: a novella” description=”Mitchell, a twenty-something nobody, wakes each morning next to his midlife girlfriend, living an ever- thinning line between human and machine. As his literal condition progresses he loses his capacity for human emotion, and potentially with it, Marsha. As a Machine and Parts is a story of Mitchell’s struggle to discover which assembly line he belongs to. As a Machine and Parts integrates illustrative elements to render a story beyond conventional text. As Mitchell morphs from human to machine, the text morphs too, from a handwritten style to a typed font and ultimately to a schematic diagram. As a Machine and Parts immerses you in ways that traditional print storytelling cannot.” author=”Caleb J. Ross” publisher=”Viscera Irrational” pubdate=”2013-05-23″ edition=”2nd edition” isbn=”978-0615824116″ ebook=”yes” paperback=”yes” ]
Status: Original edition published 15 December 2011, Aqueous Books
Re-issue edition published June 2013, Viscera Irrational
Genre: Literature – illustrative, metafiction
Words: 17,000
Pages: 148
Format: Paperback, perfect-bound
ISBN: (original edition) 978-0-9847399-2-9, (2013 re-issue) 978-0615824116
Close