The reading on Drabblecast of “Morris and the Machine,” by Tim Pratt begins with Morris descending into his basement and locking the door behind him, while his wife Penelope threatens to leave him. I thought it was obvious that the mysterious machine he was working on was a time machine, and that was long before I discovered that it was originally in Triangulations: The End of Time. What was not obvious was what he was doing with it.
Well, it could be that he’s embarking on the same quixotic quest over and over again, in the hope that somewhen, somewhere, someone he will never meet again might be helped. Or it could be that he is descending into a self-destructive path that’s so obsessive, he will never figure what he’s doing to himself and every one he loves. You can guess which one Morris thinks it is.
I enjoy this sort of layering, where on the surface the story seems to be one thing, but underneath, the reader sees something quite different going on. It’s two stories for one!