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EP146: Edward Bear and the Very Long Walk

By Ken Scholes.
Read by Stephen Eley.

First appeared in Talebones, Spring 2001.

“Do you know what’s happened to the children?”

Edward swallowed. Suddenly, he wanted to cry. “Yes. They’re…sleeping?”

He hoped and hoped and hoped and hoped, grimacing as he did. He looked
around.

Makeshift beds lined the room. Small hands gripped blankets, small eyes
stared at the ceiling.

“No.” The boy frowned. “They’ve died.”

“Because of Something Very Bad?”

“Yes. And I need you to be a Very Brave Bear. Can you do that?”

Rated PG. Contains strong images of death and violence. Almost certainly not appropriate for small children.

Comments (83)

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  1. Marion Siegel says:

    Fabulous. I sat on the subway crying. .

  2. Scotty says:

    I can understand y u think its emotional but i believe its pretty lame and completely unintresting spend ur time on something that matters besides a bad rip off of winnie the pooh

  3. Robb says:

    I really enjoyed this story

  4. Michael says:

    I really wasn’t emotionally tied to the bear, so this story had really no effect on me. Sorry, Ken.

  5. Mr Hollister says:

    Man this story sucks

  6. Me says:

    I did not cry, but it was a moving story nonetheless. I was pleased that the bear had a limited intelligence. I think it’s difficult to imagine what a limited intelligence would be like as compared to a super-intelligence. In fact, I think it’s interesteing that the ships computer (presumbably a strong AI) is helpful and caring in its death. And beautifully ironic that a small, simple, bear is the hero.

  7. ThermonuclearPenguin says:

    Proof that it is the simplist of us that do the greatest things.

    This is a top five for me Steve. Now I have to go cry again……….

  8. Alex says:

    Outstanding.

    Touching, in a very thoughtful way.

    Yes, you got me to cry, and feel like I am not such a silly bear after all.

    Thanks.

  9. Ari B. says:

    A wonderful, wonderful story. Thanks so much for podcasting it.

  10. ew3 says:

    amazing! one of the best if not the best one ever! a truly fantastic story!

  11. This was an amazing story. I enjoyed stories about Pooh when I was a child. And one of my greatest joys is reading those same stories to my children.

    The impact of hearing a character that represented this beloved friend going through the trials he did, and showing the courage that he did, made me proud and sad at the same time.

    It is the reluctant loss of innocence that we all dread to see in our own children that is the source of our fear. And yet the hero in this story is able to maintain that to the very end.

    This is a story I will not forget. Congratulations.

  12. AmberBug says:

    This was wonderful. Ok, at first I was a little weirded out by the obvious Winnie the Pooh bent. Really weirded out by dead kids and a computerised C.R. But.. in the end I cried like a little girl. And.. sometimes that’s good.

  13. Vee says:

    Amazing. Winnie the Pooh meets Lord of the Rings. And it actually WORKED.

    Bravo, Mr. Scholes. You have managed to sample from two very BIG, heavy-hitting concepts in literature and managed to have a story that is simultaneously a nod to the originals, and stands fabulously well all by itself.

    I’d even go so far as to say that anyone who has heard of neither Winnie the Pooh, nor Lord of the Rings (assuming of course that such a person exists in this world today who’s over the age of 3), would still be pleasantly stunned by this story.

  14. Doc Rocket says:

    The Intros are great! They make me think and as others have said – set the stage for the reader/listener.

    However, in this case, I’ll disagree with Steve’s intro – I don’t think that we like Hero Journey stories b/c they are so different from our normal live. I think we like them b/c most of us see our lives as adventures everyday with hurdles and obstacles to overcome. Okay, maybe not life and death hurdles, but hurdles nonetheless.

    This is no more evident than in the college students I teach to whom every hurdle is a major-coping experience and traumatic. Most of them figure that if they can just get through the unknown of the day, they win!

    Thus, I think we like these stories b/c we all relate – maybe in just a small way – with the hero, as we trudge off to our jobs/careers/etc. not knowing what we’ll have to overcome to make it back home later.

    And on top of that, the story was great!

    Thanks Steve for the consistent high, high quality!

  15. This is a very great pooh-like story. So good it made me misty-eyed at the end and long for some pooh reruns. Oh bother.

  16. Captain Flint says:

    Though I didn’t get misty-eyed, it was a truly amazingly good story. While I actually was rather put off by the obvious association of the cartoon bear and the robot one, the story was solid enough to rise above that.

  17. scatterbrain says:

    I feel it’s a bit empty and I would have liked to know what the button actually did.

  18. Lizz(ard) says:

    I like the intros and outros. I am not so easily swayed by someone else’s opinion that I can’t form my own after hearing theirs.

    @Daniel Cotton: how do you know you want to see a movie without seeing the trailer? Do you guess by which actor/director/screenwriter/caterer is involved in the movie? You are influenced SOME way, so why not watch the trailer? I often get a kick out of watching what turns out to being a truly crappy movie by trying to assimilate what the trailer promised with what the director delivered!

    Anyway, Steve, don’t do away with the intros, please! Perhaps you can give a specific timestamp at the beginning to let those who don’t want to listen to skip and not have to guess where the story starts. Their loss, not mine!

  19. E H says:

    Just finished listening for my third time through.. Once because of the kids warning, second time with the kids, third time with the second kid that had to get out of the car half way through. Quite moving every time. Great story! Thank you!

  20. Mari Mitchell says:

    I would not have a problem with my kids listening to this. In fact, if they got the story, in any of a dozen sticky honey ways, I would be very proud.

    Pooh and I have long been friends and I am very glad to met Edward.

  21. [...] but the majority of the stories are excellent. Two that are though were outright amazing were Edward the Bear and the Very Long Walk and Homecoming at the Borderlands Cafe. I’ve listened to quite a few of the backlog now [...]

  22. Pops says:

    Really good. Thank you.

  23. ChairmanDances says:

    Excellent story!

  24. Bryan says:

    Heard this this morning while driving to Balticon. Beautifully rendered prose: it’s simple, yet I was able to see the world very clearly. Although I saw the ending coming, it was no less effective for that. Well done to Mr. Scholes for crafting this fine work and to Mr. Eley for his reading.

  25. [...] am discovering that I like stories by Elizabeth Bear. And recently I heard a delightful reading on Escape Pod of “Edward Bear and The Very Long Walk,” by Ken Scholes. It begins when A Bear of [...]

  26. Fred McDonald says:

    Wow. I’m still working my way through the archives and listened to this one on the way into work this morning. First I had to sit in the car for a few minutes to hear the ending. Then I had to sit there a few more minutes to cry a bit. I suspect I am in for more crying as I play this one for my sweeties.

    Thank you!

  27. BlahDeeBlahEnCroute says:

    I don”t get calling a blatant rip-off – flddled, boringly, tediously, into another genre – “creative” and lauding it to the skies just because it makes you cry. Take one simple-minded character, make him act outside his simple-minded comfort zone and, then, die as a result and, voila: instant boo hoo. Jeez. As for intros… I have no problem with the intros, except for they’re too damned long. Spit it out and let me hear what I’m here for: the story.

  28. [...] to save humanity and find them a new home. In “Edward Bear and the Very Long Walk,” [read | listen] a toy bear is asked to stretch far beyond his programming in a colony effort gone wrong. And [...]

  29. [...] read the tale online. Audio: Escape Pod. Listen online or download the MP3. 45:00m. MP3 30.92 mb [link] Text: RevolutionSF [...]

  30. [...] and Pseudopod. RECOMMENDATION(S): Robots and Falling Hearts, by Tim Pratt and Greg van Eeekhout; Edward Bear and the Very Long Walk, by Ken Scholes; End Game, by Nancy Kress; and Save Me Plz, by David Barr [...]

  31. [...] and Pseudopod. RECOMMENDATION(S): Robots and Falling Hearts, by Tim Pratt and Greg van Eeekhout; Edward Bear and the Very Long Walk, by Ken Scholes; End Game, by Nancy Kress; and Save Me Plz, by David Barr [...]

  32. [...] all with a sense of wonder, every episode is joy to the ears. I think my personal fave is “Edward Bear and the Very Long Walk“,  about a robotic children’s toy that bares a resemblance to a certain silly old [...]