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Tim by Cole Parker

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I cannot believe that there is not a topic in the forum for this, but I have used the search function and nothing has come up and I can't find it with a manual scan of all 25 pages of topics. If there is an existing topic in the forum then my apologies and maybe the Dude can merge this in with it. If there is not either at some point there was a major failure in the appreciation of good writing that we see here normally, which I somewhat doubt or something got lost in the server move.

Anyway this story is one which I would recommend anyone to read. It is a story which has drawn me back to it time and time again and every time I read it I find something more in it. I believe it is one of Cole's earlier stories and it does not have the Cole trademarks of unexpected twists that we have seen in some of his later stories. Don't, however, let that put you off. This story is well written and exceptionally well told. It is an exploration of boyhood angst at rejection and the impact that can have.

If I had to recommend a novel for Dude's pick form the past, this would be one I would suggest.

So go and read Tim, you can find it here:


Now I am going to get back to working my way through Cole's novels. Who knows I might find a dud one, though I somehow doubt it.

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I remember this too.

The "bookends" structure is an interesting one, and the story in the middle is a wild one. I can picture Cole being like Tim, quiet and unassuming, writing away with all this crazy stuff and grinning to himself, "wait 'til they read this!"


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I recently re-read Tim.

If I may be so bold, I would nominate Tim and Duck, Duck, Goose as two of the best online stories that I know of.

I would agree with you about Tim but my second choice would be Cole's Distorted Perspective, though that may be a bit unfair. Just choose any one of Cole's novels and you will be OK for a second choice, but I think Tim should be the first.

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Be careful with the praise, guys. I remember Arthur C Clarke being told that one particular short story of his was his best, and that made him rather depressed as it was the first one he ever wrote. To him, that's saying he had been going downhill ever since.... :tongue:

I don't believe Cole has been going downhill since his third novel :smile: All his stories are different and unique, and trying to put them into some sort of hierarchy is a waste of time.

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Well I have just read this for the first time, having been pointed to it by Nigel, and I think it is great. The writing might not be as good as some of Cole's later work but the story line is fantastic. I think John is a fantastic character, would like to know how he gets on in life.

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Always loved "Tim", but both Duck Duck Goose and Distorted Perspectives beat it out for me. I also loved Doing Something.

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I've just reread Tim. The contrasts between the three main characters are so convincingly drawn. Each of them felt like the one that the author most identified with, even though they are nothing alike. What makes Terry such a memorable character for me is how he combines empathy with productive intrusiveness! I wish I'd had a friend like that who would make something happen!

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  • 5 years later...

Have re-read this story now that it is a Pick from the Past, even though I remembered it pretty well from the last reading.  My one wish is that this one would get a "facelift" to bring it up to the standard of more recent stories, with the newer typography and the "next chapter" buttons at the end of each chapter.  

Tim and Jed are lucky the story took place in an era where Missy had to use a film camera rather than digital.


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I actually have done a facelift on this.  More than that, Trab has done me the exceptional favor of reading through all my stories, every single one of the over 100 I've posted, and corrected the typos he found.  I don't think there was a single story that didn't have at least one typo in it.

I haven't sent all this to Mike.  It would be hours of work for him to try to go through and make all the changes, and I'm not going to burden him with that.  But I've fixed my own copies.  I'm eternally grateful to Trab for taking the time to do this and wanted to express that where more people could see it.

Thanks again, Trab.



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