Humbled by a cow mutilation

About a year ago I had a story “Of Course” published on AntipodeanSF. The story came about when I was wondering why aliens do crop circles and mutilate cows. The answer, I realized, is that they must be the alien version of drunk frat guys. It makes perfect sense. Well, the other day – by accident – I came across a blog where someone had reviewed the story. At first I was thrilled that someone had written a review, then I read it. Basically, they didn’t get it. My first – very human – reaction was to dismiss them as an idiot for not understanding my brilliance. Then I noticed that they are from India and with a sudden jolt I wondered if the misunderstanding was cultural. In the story I talk about a large, four-legged animal with a bell around it’s neck. I don’t name the creature, but with its association to aliens it screams that it’s a cow; at least to an American like me. (And apparently the Australian who published it.) But I started wondering, first off, do cows wear bells in India and secondly, when “aliens” go to India do they mutilate the cows? Odd that the simple act of cow mutilation has opened my eyes to a better understanding of my fellow humans.

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