Reviews for little man
Dragon made me do it chapter 1 . 6/23/2011
This is really fantastic! I have witnessed this situation up close and you have got it spot on. It was oh so clever the way you revealed what the story was about gradually.

you have done well to blast us into an impending sense of doom from the outset, even though we have no idea what is going on yet.

you do a good job of setting the scene without really telling us where they are. the hammock on the veranda means it can't be somewhere cold, without having to resort to palm fronds and crocodiles. the juxtaposition of forest and city is setup.

'Young, female, fresh faced, with the rigour of a degree but working in the field. A perfect solution.' are you talking about yourself here? ;-)

This should probably go under my subject heading of 'pedantry' below, but, well, New York isn't renowned for its smog because people don't drive because of the population density. The sky is admittedly lacking in stars, but it is not like LA. the bit about yellow taxis clogging the street is right though.

You could be more specific than just Indonesia. I would be inclined to say Kalimantan, (Indonesian Borneo) which is like the Amazon in how thick the forest is, and where the orangutans are. Kalimantan would be particularly interesting because the nomadic Punan people have kind of being chased off their land by central government transmigration programs setting up people from more populated islands to use slash and burn agriculture there.

They might be less likely to call a single orangutan one orang, because this is also the Indonesian word for person (orang hutan forest person), unless you are trying to stress the similarity between people and orangutans.

The punan people have a kind of spirituality around dreams. They are animist, but would never actually say that they were because this is really an outwardly imposed term, and because the Indonesian National principles (panca sila) specifies belief in one God, it doesn't matter which God it is but there has to be only one and definitely not none. they may also say that they are Christian.

another issue here is that the island of Borneo shares three states - Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei, and that Punan see the penan in Malaysia as their cousins. the national boundary is sort of imposed over this. this ties in well with your seeing this as an international issue.

Oh that's is incredibly clever the way you make us think the boy is a human when he turns out to be an orangutan! Maybe it is best that you keep it as 'orang' then, because you bring out people's empathy and sense of humanity before they realise what it is, and so then this empathy is transferred to the orangutan when it otherwise might not have been as strong.

I have seen the deforestation in both Kalimantan and the Amazon, flying over the top in a little plane, and I have to say they were comparable. I went to an orangutan refuge, and they were doing good work but you just felt like they couldn't really send them back into the wild safely.

I also like the fact that they went to New York to try to seek funds and support and not Jakarta because this situation involves a complex interplay of local corruption and poverty brought on by international affairs.

'The screen alternated images of rainforest and slum.' - I wouldn't say there are necessarily slums in Kalimantan, although a lot of the transmigrants might come from slums in Jakarta and other big cities in Java. they would be sent there with the promise of cooking pots and housing and things but often because of corruption they were sadly lacking and ended up with more poverty when they arrived there. certainly this poverty could drive a trade in orangutans and habitat destruction.

Slums in Jakarta, tend to be called the 'kampung', which comes from their word for housing compound. They tends to be more spread out than what you would see in say Brazil. they have the usual problems with sanitation, flooding over dodgy electrical wiring, government raids etc

The policy of transmigration was based on the fact that population density in Java, Bali etc is much greater than 'the outer islands' like Kalimantan. there is a lot of politics about the central government in Jakarta versus the outer islands, and this ties into the situation for the punan and other dyak ethnic groups in Kalimantan.

The slums in Jakarta would not border on rainforest because there is very little left in Java (only on the western corner where people were afraid to leave after the Krakatoa eruption along time ago and is now National Park as a result).

Then there were the 1997 forest fires which had a cloud of ash flying across the area causing all kinds of health problems. This was caused by the slash and burn agriculture not being appropriate for the peat bogs of Kalimantan.

And more recently, a friend of mine who lives there says that her son is getting problems with hayfever from all the dust in the air. Dust? I asked her - this has got to be one of the most tropical jungly areas in the world! This is what happens when the topsoil goes.

Your position that the reason the orangutans and Kalimantan are in this situation is because of poverty based on global distribution of wealth is really a very good one, although I do think that there is still greed coming from some of the wealthy locals which plays a role. Because of the mining and forestry industries in Kalimantan, there is some wealth tthere, mostly not from the indigenous people of Kalimantan though, and it is not evenly distributed at all. On the whole though, I think you are right. I also heard about old-growth rainforest trees in Kalimantan being chopped down to make toilet paper sold to Australia. I would say just about all of what is produced there is exported overseas so we are involved.

Geckos in Indonesia are called cicak because of the noise that they make. There are always a few on the wall. Glad you included them.

Lines I like:

glowing net of streets

Yellow taxis plugged the sluggish streets. The interlacing streams of traffic were haunted by the memory of the bayou delta creeks of home.

The moon, courted by a swarm of stars

sharp and blunt as a cliff face

This is really great, another of my favourite stories!


'My perspiration had nothing to do with the humidity, here. Here, against the mindless ...' - okay I get that you are being clever with the repetition of 'here', but I still don't think you need the comma after the word humidity.

'It took everything I had, and them some ...' - them then

'gods knows how much trauma' - cheeky passing reference to polytheism or typo?

'Salamat sore' should be selamat sore', unless you are training to make it sound like a stupid white person would pronounce it (the E is silent and the T is a glotteral stop, so it sounds more like slamah'. while Indonesian probably would not be the first language for these people and they might speak it slowly, they would still be fluent.

'350$' should be '$350'
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Punslinger chapter 1 . 4/14/2010
Very good. You did an impressive amount of research on Indonesia, if you haven't actually been there.

Compliments aside, I feel that you overdid the tearjerking, hearts and flowers appeal for the rainforest's endangered critters. I love nature as much as anyone, but a straightforward approach is more likely to bring out my checkbook for a donation.
Kackex chapter 1 . 4/8/2010
The opening images were lean lamb chops man, you complimented that baby with a deccitant narrative baked alaska with an aflambe of prompt use. You used a classic but timless common ingredient of time and intesity to create a succulent, juicy meal - I mean story. Do you by chances cook?

Keep on sizilizing up some good meals I mean stories, Keep Writing, and good luck in the WCC!

Would you kindly,

lookingwest chapter 1 . 4/8/2010
I liked your opening images with the yellow taxis on the street, you really decorated the opening narrative with a lot of great descriptive juicy word choice. I also enjoyed your first person, it was fun to slip into.

I knew you would handle the prompt in a wonderfully creative manner! There were so many rich sentences in this. Right from when you hit it off with "My little man..." I just loved the few paragraphs hat followed with the "My fingers walking..."-excellent personification and associated image.

...waking us up at 2am.

-You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd think the prompt was "2AM", XD, yours, mine, and Lyla's pieces all mention something about 2AM. Must be a special time! hahaha

Wow, a lot of intensity in this whole situation, again, still sprinkled with rich word choice. Your dialogue work was very believable, per usual, and the style always a big fun relief of clarity, haha. The end line was also superb. Best of luck in the WCC-this was probably one of the more unique takes on the prompt. I don't think I stumbled into an obvious tree anywhere, XD.
deefective chapter 1 . 4/8/2010
Hm, what an interesting take on the prompt. I really do commend the way you twisted this and opened up new perspectives. I was convinced Carlos was a human right up until you mentioned he wasn't. The emotions you portrayed here felt very genuine and I really liked that just because the situation was one that you wouldn't think they would be there. Nicely done.
Sercus Kaynine chapter 1 . 4/8/2010
You did a good job setting up the emotional front of the piece, and it was a nice twist at the end! It was an original way to pull this type of thing off.

I also loved the contrast between the jungle and the city.

Although I've read environmental pieces before, this one really stuck with me because of the emotional impact you put behind it. It was very clever, making the reader think of saving humans and then tell them that that's what they're feeling towards saving the rainforest!

Good job and good luck in WCC!
Michael Howard chapter 1 . 4/5/2010
I'm not too fond of message stories usually, but this was done in an effective manner that really plays up the - dare I say it? - humanity of Carlos. Clever title for this one, too.

P. S. I didn't see where exactly in the Forum pages that I would vote for this story. That feature not set up yet?
xenolith chapter 1 . 4/5/2010
Oh my goodness! You should do this for a living, seriously. That wasn't what I expected out of the promt, but it was wonderful.

I think the best part was her speech. It was supported by this great emotional lead-up, we get a sense of anxiety and alienation, of missing Carlos and wishing she was somewhere else. It was quite a surprise to me when I found out he was actually her child, but by the time you broached that, spelled it out clearly, I could more than understand her passion.

Like I said, wonderful. And topical, too!
Anise Cary chapter 1 . 4/5/2010
oh wow! This is awesome. I was ready to cry at the beginning when she was leaving Carlos behind, and then instead of relief to realize it was an orangutan, it just made me sadder. So many interpretations of wilderness in this one piece. Good luck in the WCC.
Narq chapter 1 . 4/3/2010
I still love this to bits, no matter what. I think it's wonderful and I think it's so very moving and powerful.