Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Prompted by a health scare and an academic shake-up, zoologist and amateur Bigfoot researcher Dr. Jeremy Fishleder goes on sabbatical and plans a road trip around the country to places of strange repute. Three students decide to join him and, as they delve into the wilds of earth and steel, together they discover secrets hidden in the shadows of outer as well as inner nature.
"'On the Road' meets 'The X-Files'!"
-- Marla Miller, author and columnist
"A love song to Fortean Americana....a truly unique book."
-- Richard Freeman, author and director of the Centre for Fortean Zoology
"A journey of the heart, mind and spirit. I was captivated from the first page."
-- Syrie James, bestselling author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The novel, Skunk Ape Semester, like its title, is clever and unique. While quirky at times, the story is never melodramatic, always entertaining... the proverbial page-turner that proves a delightful read while providing a primary education in cryptozoology. I chose this book because I have always held an interest in Bigfoot (my friends claim to have seen a family of them in Ohio) and other such phenomena. Further, I am a die-hard X-Files fan (of course, maybe I'm just sweet on Scully) and an avid reader of Whitley Strieber's books. To me, the supernatural feels quite natural. However, I believe that Skunk Ape Semester will appeal to a wider audience than those like me who harbor a supernatural bent. It will reach out to the young at heart, and to anyone who just wants to go on a good road trip with a lot of freaky occurrences and discoveries along the way. Skunk Ape Semester is possibly the first "college kids (and their professor) on a road trip in quest of criptids" novel. The lead characters in this story quickly charm the reader: Jeremy, the professor who plans The Trip, initially as a solo affair; Donnie, a recent college grad who has read (and virtually memorized) every word of Jeremy's cryptozoology blog; Sean, Donnie's video camera-toting friend who wants to be a filmmaker and recognizes a chance to shoot some unusual footage; and last-minute surprise Raine, Sean's girlfriend, who wants to come along... well, mainly because Sean is coming along. Mike Robinson's tale presents a refreshing departure from the usual stories of the genre. While we learn early that the protagonist/narrator has stood nearly face to face with a lanky, hairy, odiferous criptid--the Skunk Ape of the Florida Swamps--he continues to maintain a scientific, almost skeptical view as he investigates local legends and recent "sightings" of various criptids, from "Champ", a sea monster reputed to live in the waters of Lake Champlain in the northeast of the United States, to the chupacabra, a wolf- like creature that sucks the blood from goats and other livestock (chupacabra being the Spanish word for "goat sucker") in the American south and southwest. While the author neatly tied the literary laces before ending this exciting story, he left behind enough mystery and intrigue to hang me on tenterhooks for a sequel.
When I first began this book, I thought I knew where it was headed, which was squarely off into the realm of fantasy or perhaps magical realism. It took me until I had read about half to realize that this was actually NOT a work of fantasy, but rather a literary novel about a small group of people using the pretext of a search for a mythical creature to discover important facts about themselves as individuals. Therefore, I don't think it will give anything away to say they never actually find Bigfoot. This is not so much a novel as a series of vignettes chronicling the road trip of this intrepid band of cryptid hunters. Their fearless leader, Jeremy Fishleder is clearly the mouthpiece of the book's author, serving as a way for Mr. Robinson to offer up his own musings on Life, the Universe, and Everything. Mr. Robinson is a deep thinker, and his ideas range far beyond the scope of this book. It's also abundantly clear that he knows, intimately, the subject of cryptozoology and the subculture of its devotees. He writes with the authority of the initiated, and if it had been otherwise, if he hadn't been such an expert, this book would have rung totally false, and I would have tossed it away, unfinished. My only criticism of the novel, and the reason I docked it a star (in reality, I really only want to dock it a half-star, but the rating system won't allow that) is about what happens at the finish of the story. I can't really go into details as that would mean spoilers. Suffice it to say that what occurs veers into what felt like fantasy, where the rest of the book was firmly grounded in the real world. I loved this book, I loved Mr. Robinson's highly intelligent, literary writing style, and I look forward to reading new things from him in the future.