Welcome to the thirteenth episode of our current Tale for Our Time: The Fixed Period, Anthony Trollope's first venture into dystopian fiction, and a book that was a colossal flopperoo back in 1882. Happily, however, you seem to feel differently about it, and I thank you for all your perceptive comments about its thesis.
In tonight's episode of The Fixed Period, courtesy of President Neverbend at a loose end one day, we at last get to visit what will be the final resting place of every citizen of Britannula:
The place was called Necropolis. The name had always been distasteful to me, as I had never wished to join with it the feeling of death. Various names had been proposed for the site. Young Grundle had suggested Cremation Hall, because such was the ultimate end to which the mere husks and hulls of the citizens were destined. But there was something undignified in the sound,—as though we were talking of a dancing saloon or a music hall,—and I would have none of it. My idea was to give to the mind some notion of an approach to good things to come, and I proposed to call the place "Aditus." But men said that it was unmeaning, and declared that Britannulists should never be ashamed to own the truth. Necropolis sounded well, they said, and argued that though no actual remains of the body might be left there, still the tablets would remain. Therefore Necropolis it was called. I had hoped that a smiling hamlet might grow up at the gate, inhabited by those who would administer to the wants of the deposited; but I had forgot that the deposited must come first. The hamlet had not yet built itself, and round the handsome gates there was nothing at present but a desert...
Hmm. He should have gone for "Dignitas" rather than "Aditus". Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read Part Thirteen of The Fixed Period simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes can be found here.
~Philip Mason, a First Fortnight Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club from Texas, writes of some unfinished business:
I thought for a time you were entertaining the idea of potentially "publishing" your outstanding tale titled Escape from Windsor.
I don't know if that's still a possibility. But honestly, I'd be happy if you were willing to print it out on your personal printer, staple it together, autograph it on the front page.
What say you to such an idea? :)
Thank you for your offer, Philip. In fact, it's called The Prisoner of Windsor, but, as I was saying to Sue Cook the other day, I'm a bit wobbly on book titles myself. We do intend to publish it between hard covers, but I've been so swamped with things I haven't had a chance to give it the once-over. It's coming, I promise, if I live long enough.
If you've yet to hear any of our Tales for Our Time, you can do so by joining The Mark Steyn Club. For more details, see here - and don't forget our special Gift Membership. I'll be hosting Part Fourteen of The Fixed Period right here tomorrow evening. Just ahead of that we'll have Rick McGinnis's Saturday movie pick.