Going After Bobo: A Lost Cat and Family Secrets
Going After Bobo By Susan Palwick
Going After Bobo
So I returned to the world of short stories this week. The short from my copy of This Year’s Best Science Fiction Short Story Collection, 18th edition. And because I’m very scattered brained and never seem to do anything in any logical order ninety percent of the time, I picked a tale at random. The story being reviewed today a called Going After Bobo by Susan Palwick.
So what is it about? It’s about a kid named Mike who, after days of a power grid outage and a snow storm, finally sees a signal on his GPS that’s tracking his lost kitty’s chip. Bobo, his cat has been lost for a number of days because his arrogant brother let him outside. Now that he finally is getting a location on his pet he decides to trek out to find his lost cat up in the mines regardless of what his family thinks. The tale of the boy looking for his car seems to be the window dressing to the real story though. The cat was a gift from his father before he died and with the tale of this cat the author used as a means to explore Mike’s family history, crumbling relationships, and the ironic truth about what really happened to his father.
The good? It’s a well written drama. The characters are realistic. And Mike seemed like a honest realistic kid. Sometimes in young adult novels, kids seem too silly or way too mature. Mike just seemed so real because he actually acted his age.. Its written well and is a great little piece. Also it is a tad unpredictable, so that’s always a plus.
The bad? This is not a bad story. But I’m quite baffled as to why this is included in the 18th volume of the Year’s Best Science Fiction. This is a drama. There are two lines in the story that seem off ,that may hint at a heavy handed big brother society, but nothing definite leaving it up to speculation. And even if the author intended that to be the case, which I don’t think it is, then it’s still meaningless as it holds no value to story. GPS satellite technology he used to find the cat is science I guess, but it still that doesn’t count as making this a scifi tale.. I’m not sure why this is included in this collection at all.
Overall, the tale is well written. It’s an interesting piece exploring a boy’s broken family. If you like this sort of stuff, check it out. If you don’t then you can skip it. Its not a must read, but a good little read if you ever stumble across it.
Overall Rate: A Lost Cat and Family Secrets
2 smoothies out of four