Welcome to the thirteenth episode of our current audio adventure: Out of Time, my variation on a theme of H G Wells, set in a world in which the Eloi and Morlocks show up 800,000 years ahead of schedule.
We had a few complaints about the cliffhanger endings of our early episodes, leaving listeners breathless on the edge of their seats. But last night's cliffhanger was a little too well hung. 1984 Is Today tweets:
Aaaaaaah! You can't end it there!!!
Oh, yes, we can. Speaking of Nineteen Eighty-Four being today, don't miss my own serialization of George Orwell's masterpiece. A lot of the acting was almost credible, as Victoria Principal once described her own performance in Dallas. In fact, it took such a toll on my voice that in my present state I doubt I could manage it.
Last we heard, Joe Cressotti, a First Week Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, had only caught up to the night before's episode, and our Victorian time-traveler's descent into England's ugly little secret of "grooming gangs". He writes:
Yes, going 'deeper and deeper into the circles of Hell' is a nice way of putting it.
Perhaps because of the narrative framing, I sometimes feel while listening that the events being described are way off in the future. The ridiculousness of things is so palpable that I share the narrator's disbelief that such a world should come to exist. Then I have to remind myself that this is going on right now. The dark turn of the present chapter made this all the more poignant.
Thanks, Mark, for writing this really important book. I hope you will be able soon to get it to a wider audience. It holds to our world a mirror, showing our flaws and fallenness with frightening clarity.
In the meantime I will root for Weena and hope for some kind of happy ending, however that's possible.
Thank you, Joe. I'll be interested to know whether he's still rooting for Weena after yesterday's development.
In tonight's episode of Out of Time, our protagonist finds himself offered tickets for the Ashes:
'Whatever gave you the idea that I liked cricket?' I asked.
Weena replied that I had been visibly shaken during that momentary confusion between cricket – the orthopteran insect which forms the basis of the twenty-first-century diet – and cricket – the peculiar obsession of you fellows. And, upon reflection, I could see what she meant. Adrift in this strange alien land, I was more sympathetic to the view promoted by so many of you in this room and that I had always dismissed as sentimentalist drivel – that there is something in this particular team sport that represents the eternal verities of an undying England.
'Cricket!' I yelped. 'Just the ticket!'
To be frank, in a topsy-turvy world in which the white man was brown and his good lady wife sported a membrum virilis, I was reassured to know that at least, of all the old England, cricket had survived. Perhaps Barrie and Doyle and Hornung and Mason had had a point, after all.
~We have had some queries about why a previous Tale for Our Time, The Prisoner of Windsor, is not easily available in public libraries. Well, I would have thought the reason for that is obvious. But our British Columbia readers will be relieved to hear that it is now in the Burnaby Public Library. We shall await with interest to see if this prompts a stampede from fellow librarians across the province.
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 Out of Time right here tomorrow evening. Just ahead of that we'll have Rick McGinnis's Saturday movie pick.