Welcome to the final installment of our latest Tale for Our Time - published in 1951, C M Kornbluth's mordant tale of future "progress" The Marching Morons. John Wilson, a First Week Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club from Colorado, writes:
This tale is both prescient and hysterically funny. But who would have guessed that C M Kornbluth wrote the prequel to America Alone? 'Children that should have been born never were.' Somehow Mr Kornbluth travelled forward in time and stole that line from you. Causes one to consider that maybe this tale isn't a work of fantasy, but a documentary. Hmm....
Indeed. About ninety percent of everything boils down to demographic arithmetic. John's fellow John, a Steyn Club member from Illinois, adds:
Taking into consideration body of work, C M Kornbluth is the greatest sci-fi short story writer of all time.
Whoa, John. That's high praise indeed.
In tonight's concluding episode, radio listeners begin to notice the sudden introduction of Venusian matters into their favorite soaps and quizzes:
MONA: Darling, it's so good to see you again!
BUZZ: You don't know how I've missed you on that dreary Venus run.
SOUND: Venetian blind run down, key turned in door lock.
MONA: Was it very dull, dearest?
BUZZ: Let's not talk about my humdrum job, darling. Let's talk about us.
SOUND: Creaking bed.
We always get queries about the music. In this case, I felt it had to be, because of the title, a march. But I felt it had to be, also because of the title, a faintly preposterous march. That's harder than you might think. Then I remembered the Bohemian composer Julius Fučík. Mr Fučík is the victim of an excellent jest by posterity. He wrote a march called "Entry of the Gladiators" that is supposed to be stirring and heroic, and almost as soon as it was out there in the world it was adopted by the circus as entrance music for the clowns, for which purpose (and no other) it is played to this day. And then I recalled another Fučík march, titled the "Gigantic March", and figured that, if music for gladiators can be repurposed for clowns, then music for giants can be repurposed for morons.
Thank you so much for your compliments about Tales for Our Time during this time of looting and lockdown. Some like the ripping yarns for boys, some the more genteel social comedy for girls, but of the tales in totality all seem to be in favor. Thank you too for your kind words about our Covid-spawned audio edition of The Mark Steyn Show.
If you enjoyed our time with C M Kornbluth, I hope you'll join me next month for a brand new and very different Tale for Our Time. And, if you've yet to hear any of our Tales, you can enjoy the first three years' worth of audio adventures - by Conan Doyle, Kafka, Conrad, Gogol, Dickens, Baroness Orczy, Jack London, Louisa May Alcott, Robert Louis Stevenson and more - by joining The Mark Steyn Club. For details on membership, see here - and, if you're seeking the perfect present for a fellow fan of classic fiction, don't forget our Steyn Club Gift Membership. Sign up a pal today!