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Bsides 35 – Teaching Bigfoot to Read

Posted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:40 pm
by Algernon Sydney is Dead
Feature: Teaching Bigfoot to Read by Geoffrey W. Cole
Genres: Sci-Fi Strange

Image

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013
Dear Bigfoot,

Life on the moon sucks. Dad got home early from the air factory today and I wasn’t done cleaning the dishes from breakfast so he broke my breakfast bowl over my head. Guess I’ll have to eat out of his bowl tomorrow.

Episode Art: Mary Mattice
Read by: Brian Lieberman

Re: Bsides 35 – Teaching Bigfoot to Read

Posted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 4:23 pm
by tbaker2500
This is yet another story which points out that a lot of writers must have had crappy childhoods.

Re: Bsides 35 – Teaching Bigfoot to Read

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:38 am
by Algernon Sydney is Dead
Well, now I know what you get when you mix: Moon, peyote, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and perhaps Russian humor and Northern Exposure.

The story was not as big a bummer as it ought to be, I'm glad I heard it, and I think the ending saved it. Especially since:
Spoiler:
they didn't find a body (and really should have) and the father seemed to realize some of the errors of his ways, in the end.
Good casting with Norm playing the drunken, ne'er-do-well father. :)

Re: Bsides 35 – Teaching Bigfoot to Read

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:33 am
by Richmazzer
Agree with Algernon that the not finding the body at the end was a great element. But not because we think there is hope of him or his dad finding bigfoot and all becoming right, but rather because, we know sasquatch, if they exist, are certainly hard to find are pretty sure that this event was a horrible misunderstanding resulting from the future/lunar life being out of touch with earth life today.
This was a great story and well read.
I live near Norm and agree he properly cast himself. :)
And to Tbaker I have to say that I don't always think it's fair to prescribe writers with the flaws or issues of the subjects they write about. Geoffrey Cole might have had an awesome childhood but decided an awesome childhood is the lamest of stories and gave us instead a cool story about imaginary correspondence between a lonely space colony teen and bigfoot.

Re: Bsides 35 – Teaching Bigfoot to Read

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:15 am
by tbaker2500
Richmazzer wrote:And to Tbaker I have to say that I don't always think it's fair to prescribe writers with the flaws or issues of the subjects they write about. Geoffrey Cole might have had an awesome childhood but decided an awesome childhood is the lamest of stories and gave us instead a cool story about imaginary correspondence between a lonely space colony teen and bigfoot.
That's fair. I wasn't really trying to say anything about Mr. Cole, I have something of a trigger on stories like this.

I apologize for the next paragraph, it is somewhat harsh. I don't mean anything against Mr. Cole, and this may be evidence of a failing in myself.

I just dislike the Miserable genre. It doesn't really help me that there is a glimmer of hope at the end, I still spend 19 minutes of my life experiencing misery that I have no power to correct. I have yet to grow personally, or be entertained by, a story relentlessly focusing on personal misery. I simply don't understand this desire by some authors to go this route. I cannot emotionally separate myself from the sufferer. Maybe other people can emotionally separate, and view the story more intellectually.

Ultimately, I'm glad that other people do enjoy such works, and I need to get better at fast forwarding them. It's just Norm's productions suck me in! :D

Re: Bsides 35 – Teaching Bigfoot to Read

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:34 am
by Algernon Sydney is Dead
Huh. I didn't really see this as being in the "Miserable" genre. Maybe it's because I've been exposed to hundreds of bad fics (mostly fan-fics) that: wallow in angst, endlessly repeat, and bash the reader by proxy. (Think of Harry Potter 5 without the, few, good parts.)

This story didn't really do any of that. It kept the bad parts: shortish, balanced, and evolving towards a conclusion. If it helps, imagine Ravel's Bolero in conjunction. It seems repetitious to the nekulturny, but isn't if you pay attention to the nuance.

Re: Bsides 35 – Teaching Bigfoot to Read

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:52 am
by tbaker2500
You know, ASID, you are right! There is much worse out there. This did, in fact move forward.
I just think I'm too dumb to understand the appeal.

Re: Bsides 35 – Teaching Bigfoot to Read

Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:06 am
by Algernon Sydney is Dead
PS: I never said that this story appealed to me. I'm glad I heard it, as it was a good example of a certain kind of quirk, but I'll probably never listen-to or read it again. Nor do I seek out stories of this type.

Re: Bsides 35 – Teaching Bigfoot to Read

Posted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:36 am
by Varda
This is a really weird thing to say, but I would almost classify this story as "realistic fiction", except for its setting. It followed a lot of the conventions you see in a straightforward YA realistic fiction novel like "A Separate Peace" or "The Outsiders", where horrible things happen to kids, the kids deal with them, sometimes people die, and things end on a slightly positive but not necessarily uplifting note. So in a sense, I'd agree with Tom's assessment that this story's a bit "miserable" in that there's no escapism in it, while in speculative fiction we almost always get a nice serving of escapism, even if it's a horror story.

But this story is hard to listen to because it's so realistic that it lacks escapism. Kids get stuck in crappy situations, with poverty and neglectful parents, and often have no one to turn to except an imaginary friend. I can think of a handful of books that also feature children without a parent figure who write letters to a hero instead (the kid in Foer's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" writes to Stephen Hawking after his dad dies in the WTC collapse; the kid in the YA novel "Ironman" writes to Larry King).

The funny thing about those two examples, and what really surprised me about this story, is that in both those books, the celebrity finally writes back at the very end, which gives you that catharsis and escapism and warm fuzzies that I think Tom (and myself) was hoping for. While it's realistically 100% better that the kid's dad is stepping up to the plate at the end, weren't we all kind of hoping Bigfoot really was listening and learning from the kid's letters, and that the dad would get a final email from Mr. Foot himself, letting him know the kid arrived safely? It certainly would have been cathartic, if not exactly realistic. But I'm really grateful that at least we didn't get a dead kid's body at the end.

Re: Bsides 35 – Teaching Bigfoot to Read

Posted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 12:52 am
by strawman
I liked it!
I really liked the change of narrator too.
Tom, were you turned off by The Pied Piper of Hamlin?

Everyone assumes the boy died. As everyone assumes Bigfoot is imaginary. But just as the boy finds refuge in the possibility of Bigfoot, his father follows that possibility to believe in the possibility of his own son.

Left unanswered is the question of Bigfoot's email address, and the question of teaching him to read.
This adds up to some interesting speculation, certainly more that merely "misery story".

Cold Equations was a misery story. Teaching Bigfoot is a lot more.

Re: Bsides 35 – Teaching Bigfoot to Read

Posted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 5:50 pm
by El Barto
I found this to be a sad but sweet story. One discordant note for me was the father's seemingly irrational reaction. If my son had been writing letters to someone and then disappeared and that someone was my only lead, I wouldn't threaten to kill him.

On an unrelated note, you might be surprised to know how many people die each year (including kids) when they freeze to death in the wheel wells of jumbo jets. These people are trying to escape poverty or oppression and think that the plane will fly them to a safe country so they sneak into the airport at night and climb up into the wheel well where the landing gear retracts. If they aren't crushed to death when the plane takes off, they almost always freeze to death and then fall into a watery grave when the jet lowers its gear over the ocean on approach.