Following tonight's appearance with Tucker on the telly, here we go with Part Four of Jack London's timely tale of re-primitivization: The Scarlet Plague.
Thank you for your kind comments about this latest audio serialization. Michael Trueblood, a First Month Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club from Pennsylvania, writes:
OMG, this is great. My fb post this morning:
Up at 0500 this morning. Not because of any alarm clock. It's just when I happened to wake up. Practiced guitar for a while. Made a pot of coffee. In the morning twilight, I can see it's snowing. Bit of a surprise after such a beautiful day yesterday.. I'm in a little bit of pain. Took a tumble yesterday, and for just a moment, I thought I had broken my neck. Nothing that serious, though. I'm sitting on the couch listening to Mark Steyn read Jack London's The Scarlet Plague.
I'm not a recruiter for The Mark Steyn Club, but if you're not a member, you're missing out.
Thank you, Michael - and I hope your, er, broken neck has cleared up: Glad to hear that Tales for Our Time is the cure for what ails; maybe they should try it for Covid.
In tonight's episode, you'll be surprised how quickly it all falls apart:
New York City and Chicago were in chaos... A third of the New York police were dead. Their chief was also dead, likewise the mayor. All law and order had ceased. The bodies were lying in the streets un-buried. All railroads and vessels carrying food and such things into the great city had ceased runnings and mobs of the hungry poor were pillaging the stores and warehouses. Murder and robbery and drunkenness were everywhere. Already the people had fled from the city by millions—at first the rich, in their private motor-cars and dirigibles, and then the great mass of the population, on foot, carrying the plague with them, themselves starving and pillaging the farmers and all the towns and villages on the way.
Michelle Dulak, a First Day Steyn Clubber from Oregon, always likes to try to figure out our theme music, and feels this time that I dropped too big a clue in my introduction:
Right, Mark, well, this time I know the music, though I'm a bit sad that you mentioned Poe, which rather gives it away. I wonder where you found it, though? My recording is with string quartet, as it was originally, but yours sounds like string orchestra.
Sorry about that, Michelle. I mentioned en passant that Jack London had been influenced by Edgar Allan Poe's short story of 1842, The Masque of the Red Death. The French composer André Caplet was one of several composers inspired by the work, and it's true that the chamber version is better known - but the bulkier instrumentation in fact came fifteen years earlier and, to my ear, suited the needs of our tale rather better. Nothing against string quartets: As you'll know, we closed yesterday's Mark Steyn Show with one.
Tales for Our Time is now almost four years old. So, if you've a friend who might be partial to our classic fiction outings, we have a special Gift Membership that, aside from audio yarns, also includes video poetry, live music and more. And I'll be doing a live-performance Tale for Our Time at sea on this fall's Mark Steyn Cruise - with special guests and fun galore.
Please join me tomorrow evening for Part Five of The Scarlet Plague.