Just ahead of the thirty-seventh audio adventure in our popular series Tales for Our Time, thank you for all your kind comments, still incoming, about our thirty-sixth - The Man Who Was Thursday by G K Chesterton. Mike Burke, a First Weekend Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club from Virginia, writes:
'When duty and religion are really destroyed, it will be by the rich.' Pure genius. Great story and performance, Mark, thank you!
Thank you, Mike. Our thirty-seventh tale is by an author about as different from Chesterton as one can get, but he comes our way because in recent weeks I've been hailing the chaos and destruction on the streets of western cities as the March of the Morons. As I discuss in my introduction, some listeners took that as an allusion to a C M Kornbluth story first published in Galaxy Science Fiction in April 1951 - The Marching Morons. And, once I'd fished it out, I saw what they were getting at.
In this first episode, we meet a man held in suspended animation since the late twentieth century:
HONEST JOHN BARLOW
"Honest John," famed in university annals, represents a challenge which medical science has not yet answered: revival of a human being accidentally thrown into a state of suspended animation.
In 1988 Mr. Barlow, a leading Evanston real estate dealer, visited his dentist for treatment of an impacted wisdom tooth. His dentist requested and received permission to use the experimental anesthetic Cycloparadimethanol-B-7, developed at the University.
After administration of the anesthetic, the dentist resorted to his drill. By freakish mischance, a short circuit in his machine delivered 220 volts of 60-cycle current into the patient...
Honest John was long an exhibit at the University museum, and livened many a football game as mascot of the University's Blue Crushers. The bounds of taste were overstepped, however, when a pledge to Sigma Delta Chi was ordered in '03 to "kidnap" Honest John from his loosely guarded glass museum case and introduce him into the Rachel Swanson Memorial Girls' Gymnasium shower room...
Honest John has survived the girls' shower room to find himself restored to life in a whole new world in which everybody is ...incredibly stupid.
To hear The Marching Morons, prefaced by my own introduction to C M Kornbluth's tale, Mark Steyn Club members should please click here and log-in.
Unless you're the looting type, four months of lockdown will be beginning to chafe, so I'm happy to offer some relief: Three years' worth of my audio adaptations of classic fiction starting with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's cracking tale of an early conflict between jihadists and westerners in The Tragedy of the Korosko. To access them all, please see our easy-to-navigate Netflix-style Tales for Our Time home page. We've introduced a similar tile format for my Sunday Poems and also for our audio and video music specials.
We launched The Mark Steyn Club three years ago, and I'm overwhelmed by all those members across the globe who've signed up to be a part of it - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Cook County to the Cook Islands, West Virginia to the West Midlands. As I said at the time, membership isn't for everyone, but it is a way of ensuring that all our content remains available for everyone.
That said, we are offering our Club members a few extras, including our monthly audio adventures by Dickens, Conrad, Kafka, Gogol, H G Wells, Baroness Orczy, Jack London, Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Louis Stevenson - plus a piece of non-classic fiction by yours truly. You can find them all here. We're very pleased by the response to our Tales - and we even do them live on our annual Mark Steyn Cruise, assuming such ventures are ever again permitted, and sometimes with special guests.
I'm truly thrilled that one of the most popular of our Steyn Club extras these last three years has been our nightly radio serials. If you've enjoyed them and you're looking for a present for a fellow fan of classic fiction, I hope you'll consider our special Club Gift Membership. Aside from Tales for Our Time, The Mark Steyn Club does come with other benefits:
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The chance to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly;
~Transcript and audio versions of The Mark Steyn Show, Mark's Mailbox, and our other video content;
~My video series of classic poetry;
~Booking for special members-only events, such as The Mark Steyn Christmas Show;
~Priority booking for the next Mark Steyn Cruise, assuming we're ever again allowed to hold such a thing;
~Advance booking for my live appearances around the world (assuming "live appearances" become a thing once more);
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~and the opportunity to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
To become a member of The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and don't forget that special Gift Membership. As soon as you join, you'll get access not only to The Marching Morons but to all the other yarns gathered together at the Tales for Our Time home page.
One other benefit to membership is our Comment Club privileges. So feel free to let rip if you feel either the tale or my reading thereof is really moronic. And do join us tomorrow for Part Two of The Marching Morons.