Pseudopod 049: Big Boy

By Ron McGillvray

Read by David Moore

Peter finally came across a channel which had a video of the smoke he’d seen, rising in the air. He looked at the TV screen in wonder as flames shot out from within the smoke. Must be a doozy, he thought as he stood mesmerized in front of the TV.

A young woman appeared on the screen with the smoke as her backdrop. She held a microphone and seemed about to speak but instead looked back at the fire as if it might be sneaking up on her. Peter thought to himself what a cool job that must be. He thought that maybe it might be something he’d like to do when he got older. He looked over his shoulder to see if any of the kids had decided to follow him in but the coast was clear.

“From where I’m standing, I can easily feel the heat of the fire,” a woman’s voice said.

August 6th, 2007 9:53 am

Gripping. Thoroughly enjoyed this, through and through. The only story, so far, where I was actually forced to stop working by the continous build up of anxiety.

Fantastic! Not a great fan of “zombie” stories, but, these (Esp. this one) are way above the curve.

Awesome Job, Pseudopod! Can’t wait for the next fix.

August 6th, 2007 2:30 pm

I do like zombie fictions, and have been interested in writing my own for sometime but have been unsure of what can be said that hasn’t already been. This story offered an excellent of example of new perspective on the concept on zombie invasion.

Well done! Really enjoyed listening to this.

August 7th, 2007 12:08 am

Wow. Great story. Like the other two comments have already stated. The different perspective and the build up of anxiety were great. I felt myself getting really tense listening to the story.

August 7th, 2007 8:36 am

This story confirmed what I’ve long suspected… that one of the most truly horrifying things imaginable is to be a helpless child facing imminent and senseless death.

August 7th, 2007 9:48 am

This story terrified me. My little boy starts Kindergarten next week; all I could think about was him being alone in a similar situation.

August 8th, 2007 2:52 am

Could it be that there a WAY too many zombie stories on Pseudopod lately? Yes.

But THIS story is a real jewel, a masterpiece! The different perspective is absolutely believable and well-read.

Simeon Weinraub
August 8th, 2007 3:02 am

I also have a son about that age. So, I would like to add my voice to the call for a Little Einsteins or LeapPad version of “How to Survive a Zombie Attack.” I have been wasting all this time teaching him his ABC’s, basic phonics, and some math concepts, when I should have been teaching him to destroy the brain to stop the body.

August 8th, 2007 7:46 am

I just purchased the Zombies!!! and Zombietown boardgames to help teach my son appropriate behavior during a zombie apocalypse.

Simeon Weinraub
August 8th, 2007 10:47 am

Well, that is just good parenting. I don’t think that my 4 year old is ready for that yet, I don’t want him to have nightmares. So, I am just teaching him to work the speed loader.

But, as soon as he turns 5, this story will become part of my instructional materials.

August 8th, 2007 11:39 am

Excellent plot, great characters. Overall, a good story. The writing needed a good bit of tightening up, though. There was too much filtering language (‘he could see’ instead of ‘he saw’ etc.) This is maybe one or two revisions away from being truly excellent.

August 8th, 2007 12:41 pm

Simeon, I don’t think it’s possible for my kid to have nightmares. I was watching Pterodactyl on Sci-Fi. He got out of bed, and walked in just as one of the monsters ripped a guy in half. My kid laughed, and said, “Daddy! They forgot to take his legs!”

So either I’m raising a kid with nerves of steel, or he’s going to kill me in my sleep…

August 10th, 2007 12:19 am

…and they waited, and they waited. Be brave, little Peter! Maybe they left you the keys — it’s not too early to try learning how to drive. And if they took the keys with them, maybe they left a shotgun in the cab — definitely about time for you to learn to use one of those, too. Don’t worry, you’ll be just fine. Heh heh heh.

August 11th, 2007 12:21 pm

I really enjoyed this story, but it fails in the same way that Matthew Wayne Selznick’s Brave Men Run story fails. It has no ending, it just stops.

August 11th, 2007 12:22 pm

oh, i’m sure they’ll be back, his dad displays all the extreme bad-assery needed to survive such an outbreak of zombies… i mean locking the kids in the car, probably with the windows up, just so he can check to see who his deceased wife was cheating with?…. he probably smokes unfiltered ciggaretts, consumes saturated fats and doesnt think twice about squashing spiders, he is a zombie survivor!

August 20th, 2007 2:24 am

I agree it ended abruptly, that was the only thing I didn’t like otherwise it was a tight story and well read!!!

Dave (aka Nev the Deranged... or is it the other way around?)
August 23rd, 2007 8:20 pm

Wow, I was really enjoying that.

So, is Pseudopod changing to a new format where we have to pay for the endings?

Bright Lies
August 24th, 2007 1:35 am

LOL I love reading all o’ y’all’s comments…

This story seemed to end abrubptly, but I thought it was appropriate. What would have happened next anyway? All of us could write the “ending” independently and I don’t think any ending would be very surprising. The intro from a child’s POV was the story. The ending would just be an ending. I say well-timed and TY Escape Artists!



September 15th, 2007 5:17 pm

Fantastic story, really unique perspective. Rather odd that some of the zombies just killed and ignored the remains, like in the car; and yet some others consumed the remains and even ignored the living while doing so, like in the bedroom.

September 15th, 2007 5:18 pm

Fantastic story, really unique perspective. Rather odd that some of the zombies just killed and ignored the remains, like in the car; and yet some others consumed the remains and even ignored the living while doing so, like in the bedroom.

I also enjoyed the real world aspect. The dad being lost in a sea of chaos, then grabbing onto the first thing from the normal world (his wife cheating on him) and focusing on that instead of the apocalypse going on around him. Very nice.

PS: You had to make them both the fast kind and the tool using kind, lol

September 25th, 2007 1:59 am

Bravo! I LOVE zombie stories! I LOVE the whole end of the world by zombie (or interdimesnional creatures) plague thing. Not sure why, but it always gets me! This was a interesting and fresh version, a great listen!!! But, of course, like all good “End of the world” stories, the ending is a always tad of a downer.

Still this ending was sudden and left you breathless. I say Smartly done!

Course, you got those endings where everything is fixed all of a sudden, ala “Day of the Tirffids”. But then you feel you were “cheated” by the author.

I give it top marks!

October 24th, 2007 10:50 pm

As much as I enjoy the zombie genre, I couldn’t stand the writing on this one. I understand that it was written from the perspective of a child, but the simple sentence structure and repetition of words got under my skin and ruined it for me.

October 28th, 2007 4:08 pm

Great story, Ron! I love the twist on the old zombie story. Excellent title, as well.

Fran Friel

October 30th, 2007 11:28 pm

That was awesome, loved the affair!

Mari Mitchell
April 19th, 2008 11:05 am

Have ever noticed that zombie tales tend to over really well.

I thought this had great tensions. Real tension.

Wonderfully subtle—why Peter was in daycare, why his folk’s were fighting.

This a smart tale.

And talk about character development.

The reading was good but not great.

June 7th, 2008 1:57 pm

This was my first podcast story I listened to a year or so ago and I’ll never forget it…not ever.

April 21st, 2009 8:13 am

Wow. For all the disturbing stories I’ve listened to here, this one really gets under my skin.

Well done. Looking forward to the next couple year’s worth of catching up (working my way from ’06 to ’09).