It's time for Part Seven of our latest Tale for Our Time: my variation on H G Wells, with Eloi and Morlocks relocated to the twenty-first century.
In last night's episode of Out of Time death came apparently randomly to one of the young flatmates of South Kensington, and the others reacted it to just as passively as the Eloi do in Wells's original. But a lot of listeners found the episode almost unbearably sad. Joy, a Mark Steyn Club member from the English East Midlands, writes:
A mysterious disease stalks the planet. Now it even has a name.. SADS...more than sad, you had better better beware of "catching" it since it usually proves fatal.
Thank you Mark and like you I get so angry at the stupidity of people that I have stopped trying to tell them that this is NOT normal, in fact I fear "normal" is gone forever.
On the other hand, James Lamb, a California Steyn Clubber, thought it was yours truly who had been stricken by SADS:
When I saw "Death Comes Suddenly" in my email feed my heart was in my throat. I thought the worst had happened! Now I feel so relieved! Leave it to Mark Steyn to trigger such a range of emotions all in the space of a few seconds.
To be honest, James, in my present decrepitude I don't think I'd really qualify for that "Death Comes Suddenly" headline.
In tonight's episode, our time-traveller tries yet again to figure out what his new friends actually do:
These people were idle and, in a societal sense, useless. Yet they were clothed in pleasant fabrics that must at times need renewal, and their spongey footwear, decorated like their shirts with apparently random words, were nevertheless fairly complex specimens of pedal engineering. Somehow such things must be made. And these little people displayed no vestige of a creative tendency. None had laboured in a workshop or manufactory. One had been an aspiring "rapper" until being told it was culturally appropriative, one had been an "apper", which is someone who helps create an "app", a third was a consultant to someone who was setting up a non-binary helpline, a fourth was writing a book...
Ah, at last! A profession I recognised! "I have done some writing," I said, with what I fancied was a certain modesty. "A few pieces for The Pall Mall Gazette."
"Oh, I write creatively," said Theo, with an airy wave of his hand. "I did a module. Two. I'm working on a novel."
"What's it about?" I asked, just to be polite.
He guffawed. "'What's it about?' The cry of the white supremacist everywhere!"
I didn't quite follow...
So Theo explains it to him.
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can listen to me read Part Seven of our tale simply by clicking here and logging-in. And, if you're playing catch-up on Out of Time, you can start fresh with Part One and have a good old binge-listen here.
Last night's episode including an aside from our time-traveller:
Like friend Doyle here, I am a man of science.
Fritz Geiger, a First Weekend Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, responds from Georgia:
Oddly enough, Doyle was *not* a man of science; he was a "spiritualist."
(But it's possible, of course, that the narrator didn't know that.)
Ah, but don't forget this is the Conan Doyle of 1895. He did not speak publicly about spiritualism until twenty years later. At the time of our story, he was just a couple of years out of medical practice, regarded himself as a "man of science", and can certainly claim the mantle more persuasively than, say, Anthony Fauci.
Please join me tomorrow, Sunday, for the latest audio edition of my Song of the Week on Serenade Radio live around the world at 5.30pm UK time - that's 12.30pm North American Eastern.
If you'd like to join Joy, James and Fritz in The Mark Steyn Club, we'd love to have you along for our seventh season. So please click here for more info - and don't forget, for fellow fans of classic fiction and/or poetry, our Steyn Club Gift Membership.