As many of you know, I got clobbered by a couple of heart attacks, and then again just last month by some post-cardiac issues that may or may not be related. And, in consequence, some of our regular features have become a little less regular than they once were. I regret that, so I'm happy to announce, albeit from my Italian sickbed, the return of a SteynOnline favorite. That's to say:
Welcome, belatedly, to the sixtieth audio adventure in our series Tales for Our Time.
Usually this feature offers pertinent classics by great authors - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jerome K Jerome, P G Wodehouse - but come the torrid weeks of global boiling we like to lower our standards and offer a summer entertainment by yours truly. (One of them has even made it to hard covers.)
In the original novella, a fellow in late Victorian England saddles up the eponymous contraption, propels himself forward and finds himself in a world where humanity has divided into two: the Eloi, a small, soft, passive, decadent, vegetarian elite among whom one can scarce tell the boys from the girls, and the Morlocks, a dark, feral, subterranean underclass. This is supposedly London in the year 802,701 AD.
That's the only thing Wells got wrong: the date. He was off by a mere 800,690 years. If he'd set his time machine to nip ahead just a hundred or so to the early 21st century, he'd have been bang on target.
And that's even truer a decade on. So, while we start more or less as Wells did, you can probably guess where we're headed. I've also modified the original's framing device - although said modified framing is entirely derived from reality. And you'll notice that the trio of Tales for Our Time veterans cited above - Conan Doyle, Wodehouse, Jerome K Jerome - are all on hand to speed the Time Machine on its first voyage.
You don't need to have read the Wells original to get this caper - although, if you haven't heard my serialization, you're more than welcome to check it out. Otherwise, to listen to me read the first part of Out of Time, Mark Steyn Club members should please click here and log-in.
~We have all kinds of tales in our archives, from the social comedy of Jane Austen to futuristic fantasy from Rudyard Kipling. Tales for Our Time in all its variety is both highly relevant and a welcome detox from the madness of the hour: over six 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 Hundred Years Ago Show.
We launched The Mark Steyn Club over six 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 audio adventures by Dickens, Conrad, Kafka, Trollope, Gogol, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, F Scott Fitzgerald, George Orwell, Baroness Orczy, Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson - plus various pieces 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 occasionally, and sometimes with special guests.
I'm truly thrilled that one of the most popular of our Steyn Club extras these last six-plus 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, such as Friday's;
~Transcript and audio versions of The Mark Steyn Show and our other video content;
~My video series of classic poetry, which returns next month;
~Booking for special members-only events, such as The Mark Steyn Christmas Show, assuming I'm ever again well enough for such events;
~Advance booking for other just-about-live appearances around the world, including February's Mark Steyn Caribbean Cruise;
~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 Out of Time 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, if you think Out of Time is a waste of time, feel free to have at it.
And do join us tomorrow evening for Part Two of our Steyno-Wellsian dystopia, and every night circa midnight Greenwich Mean Time thereafter.