Take THAT, Reviewapalooza!
Contained in 20th Century Ghosts
By Joe Hill; Read by David Ledoux
12 Hours, 14 Mins – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Themes: / Fantasy / School / Mortality /
My best friend when I was twelve was inflatable.
This is a wonderful story. If I describe it you, it sounds absurd, and I guess it is. But through the absurdity, Joe Hill tells a poignant story. Arthur Roth is inflatable. Being inflatable means almost dying a dozen times by age 12. It means staying away from sharp things, including pens and pencils. Best to stick with crayons. Being inflatable also means that you are going to be picked on at school, because the bullies enjoy tossing you in the air like a balloon. None of this keeps Art from thinking big thoughts.
But then Art meets a friend who shares his bizarre life, and he lives fairly normally, except that death is always one puncture away.
Often science fiction uses aliens as a way to shine a spotlight on some aspect of humanity that the author wants to examine. This is fantasy, certainly, but the inflatable boy does the same sort of thing. He’s more vulnerable than the rest of us, but lives in the same cruel world. That the way he’s treated rings true lets us look at humanity from a slightly different angle than we would if the characters were all human. His finding a good friend rings just as true, and is perhaps the best thing the story gives us.
“Pop Art” stands out in a very good collection called 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill. It’s read by David Ledoux. You can buy the whole collection at Audible, or you can buy just this story.
This was made into a short film. I found it |HERE| but I’m getting the old “not available in your area” block. Anyone know where I could watch that?
Posted by Scott D. Danielson