Just ahead of Episode Twelve of Out of Time, thank you again for your kind comments about this latest and all our other Tales for Our Time. Over six years ago now, we launched this series of audio adventures on a whim, threw it together somewhat hastily, and learned on the job. So I'm enormously grateful for your appreciation of it. This latest tale, my summer diversion on a theme of H G Wells, has prompted a wide range of reaction. Peter Lucey, a First Week Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club from the English Home Counties, writes:
Just catching up with this marvellous epic! A real joy, and many thanks of course. I'm away for a few days and look forward to a 'binge-listening' treat on my return.
Wrt Eloi and Morlocks, I regularly re-read (the late) Shiva Naipaul's extraordinary book Black & White (Journey to Nowhere in the US edition). A harrowing and penetrating account of the Jonestown mass suicide - and the history and growth of the Jim Jones' People's Temple. He compares the 1960s privileged Californians to the Eloi... ("Eloi and Morlocks, the New Age is replete with both".)
Ah, there's a name that takes me back, Peter. Shiva's widow, the delightful Jenny Naipaul, was my editor at The Spectator for some years, and one of my very favorites over the decades. It is a long time since I have read Black & White, but from this distance I am inclined to regard "1960s privileged Californians" as comparatively sane compared to today's Eloi. Certainly, if their younger selves were to be spirited back to today's not-so-Golden State, I think they would at least recognize that their childhood's promised land is now incrreasingly a decrepit dump.
How fast has the pace accelerated since then? We are about to find out. In tonight's episode of Out of Time, our Victorian time-traveler seeks to heal the rift between him and Weena:
We both of us felt bad at what had come between us. She wanted to forget it, and I could not. I sought to propose something to renew our affection – an outing, a visit to an art exhibition - but I lacked knowledge of such attractions. Fortunately, the same thought had occurred to Weena. So the next night we went to what she called 'the pictures' – not an art gallery, but a kind of play in moving photographs, such as those French fellows have recently presented in Paris. It seems incredible as I think of it now, but so many of the things that most excite these creatures of the future are mere refinements of inventions of our present decade, more or less – the latest 'pictures', the newest telephone, a motor-wagon with a 'touch-screen' phonograph...
The picture was an idiotic story, possibly rooted in Herr Nietzsche's musings on the Übermensch, but reduced to child-like simplicity with men and women flying around the skies fighting with each other...
On the other hand, our time-traveler is in for a surprise ending. If you're a member of The Mark Steyn Club you can hear Part Twelve of Out of Time simply by clicking here and logging-in. All previous episodes can be found here.
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Please join me tomorrow for Part Thirteen of Out of Time.