Welcome to the latest in our series of audio adventures, Tales for Our Time. This month's pick is Jack London's biggest bestseller of his lifetime, Burning Daylight - and I thank you for your kind words about our opening episodes. Josh Passell, a First Weekend Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, writes:
You say Burning Daylight has been filmed several times, but I'd like to see any movie scene better London's white-knuckled description of a mere hand of poker. Even the size of the bets, placed over 110 years ago, had me sweating.
That's very true, Josh. Even though this is a book that roams far from the Yukon to California's Sonoma Valley and midtown Manhattan, it includes some of Jack London's best ever and most vivid Arctic writing. In tonight's episode of Burning Daylight, the eponymous hero makes a night og it:
It was known on the Yukon that when Burning Daylight made a night of it, wrath and evil were forbidden. On his nights men dared not quarrel. In the younger days such things had happened, and then men had known what real wrath was, and been man-handled as only Burning Daylight could man-handle. On his nights men must laugh and be happy or go home. Daylight was inexhaustible. In between dances he paid over to Kearns the twenty thousand in dust and transferred to him his Moosehide claim. Likewise he arranged the taking over of Billy Rawlins' mail contract, and made his preparations for the start. He despatched a messenger to rout out Kama, his dog-driver—a Tananaw Indian, far-wandered from his tribal home in the service of the invading whites. Kama entered the Tivoli, tall, lean, muscular, and fur-clad, the pick of his barbaric race and barbaric still, unshaken and unabashed by the revellers that rioted about him while Daylight gave his orders.
Hmm. Can you still say "the pick of his barbaric race and barbaric still"? Probably not - but here at SteynOnline we like muscular writing conveying a very precise sense of time and place.
If your tastes run to something a bit more directly pertinent to our times, you can hear my Orwellian adventure, Nineteen Eighty-Four, here.
If you have friends who might appreciate Burning Daylight, Nineteen Eighty-Four or our other tales, we have a special Steyn Club Gift Membership that lets them in on that and on all the other fun in The Mark Steyn Club.
If you've only joined the Steyn Club in recent days and missed our earlier serials (Conan Doyle's The Tragedy of the Korosko, Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent, Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel, Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda, plus Kipling, Kafka, Dickens, Gogol, Louisa May Alcott, P G Wodehouse, H G Wells, Scott Fitzgerald and more), you can find them all on our easy-to-access Netflix-style Tales for Our Time home page. Indeed, it's so easy to access that we've introduced a similar format for the audio editions of The Mark Steyn Show.
The Mark Steyn Club is now in its fifth year, and helps keep all our regular content - whether in print, audio or video - out there in the world for everyone. In return, membership confers, aside from Tales for Our Time, a few other benefits:
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The opportunity to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly, such as this Thursday's;
~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 (if live stage shows are ever decriminalized);
~Advance booking for my live appearances around the world, assuming any such things ever take place again;
~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 please join me tomorrow for Part Four of Burning Daylight.