Favorite Characters in Screams The Machine
Hands down, Elizabeth reigns supreme as my favorite character in Screams The Machine. I think she’s the toughest, displays the strongest mettle, and has the biggest heart. She’s more of a hero and survivor than I ever could be. From page one she appears to be dealing with odd and frightening circumstances, which quickly turn into tragedies. She’s also the most important character in the story. After all, come to find, she is the doorway to Ultimate Reality, holding the figurative key to incomprehensible power.
A particular quality I love and adore about Elizabeth is that she personifies the adage, ‘Speak softly but carry a big stick.’ Considering the bleak and dreadful scenarios, she mostly remains calm and cool—at least on the exterior. Her inner world is an entirely different part of the story. That’s where the universe might discover it might be in great peril. That said, Elizabeth can’t be broken—not even by the pure influx of absolute power and corruption.
In Screams The Machine, America falls apart. Cash Disease, a plague that spreads on money, marks the start of the downward spiral. A worldwide organization called The Solution rises to power, bringing with it highly advanced technology and war machines that fuel themselves with people’s fear. The States fall into what could be considered a civil war. Elizabeth loses her entire family. She watches her mother die a horrible, painful death. She’s abducted by The Solution, her mind invaded. Dr. Temple discovers she has a deep connection to the universe and all of its dimensions, seen and unseen. Of course, something goes wrong (no serious spoilers here) and Elizabeth is far more powerful than The Solution imagines. And she’s tons angrier than they ever considered as well.
She transcends what it means to be human. In a matter of speaking, Elizabeth becomes not one deity, but many. I won’t ruin the ending, but I can tell you she’s greater and stronger than me, and I respect her.
I love the entire roster in Screams The Machine. I’m especially partial Alex Treaty, because I believe he pulls inspiration from the book The Art of Peace, by Aikido Master Morihei Ueshiba. Alex Treaty is a pioneering computer scientist, and attempts to free citizens from a massive haze. Alex Treaty would rather use intelligence instead of violence. These are admirable qualities, but while Alex rocks in a Zen sort of way, honorable mention goes to the ghastly and menacing monster, Tetrax. It’s not because I like the creature either, but because it’s the most repulsive.
The name Tetrax stems from Demonology. Lix Tetrax is the proper name. In Screams The Machine, however, Tetrax is manifested from the horrors of Dr. Temple’s psyche. The demon is a mindless killing machine with zero remorse, but it’s is also a victim of tyranny. Tetrax didn’t ask to exist. He was born from the most awful parts of a human being’s corrupted soul. Being alive torments the monster. It’s a walking example of disgust. Killing is the only option the demon ever has. It is pure hatred and violence; not because the monster chose to be, because he was willed to exist by a corrupted antagonist.
Cash carries a disease; one that’s already killed a large majority of the population and something needs to be done. To stop the crisis from escalating, The Solution (a worldwide organization) is formed and rises to great power. They monitor people’s dreams and shape reality to fit their own wants and needs. In an effort to control existence itself, The Solution is searching for what they believe to be the ultimate tool; a person with the ability to master a deep connection with the mysterious, pervasive energy known only as The Ultimate Reality.
Watching her neighborhood decay, her friends and family perish, Elizabeth Reznik needs to find meaning in her life. She discovers her existence is more meaningful than she could ever have imagined. Operatives of The Solution seek her out, take her from her home and perform brutal experiments on her. Their conclusion? Elizabeth is the one they have been searching for; she is the key to gaining complete power.
The stratagem of The Solution is single minded – own the resources and you own the people. And the last resource available is free will. They will own your thoughts, they will orchestrate your dreams; they will dine on your fears. But there is always a cog in the machine… or in this case, a scream.
Sam Mortimer has worked the graveyard shift in law enforcement, attended film school, and has been writing strange stories since age eleven. He loves reading, music, and strives to meet the demands of his five cats.