We launched The Mark Steyn Club last month, and I'm immensely heartened by all those SteynOnline supporters - from Cleveland to the Cook Islands, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Hungary to Hong Kong - who've signed up to be a part of it. As I said at the time, Founder Membership isn't for everyone, but it is a way of ensuring that all our content remains available for everyone - all my columns, audio interviews, video content, all our movie features and songs of the week. None of it's going behind a paywall, because I want it out there in the world, being read and being heard and being viewed, and maybe changing an occasional mind somewhere along the way. The point of The Mark Steyn Club is to come up with a way to keep funding some of the more logistically complex and labor-intensive stuff, like my interview with former Aussie PM John Howard, or the live show from Ottawa. So I thank those longtime readers, listeners and viewers who've volunteered to be part of that.
That said, we are introducing a few bonuses for our Founding Members - not locking up our regular content, which will always be free, but admitting members to a few experimental features, such as this new audio series. In Tales for Our Time I revisit some classic fiction I've mentioned in books and columns over the years - old stories that nevertheless speak to our own age. Our first serialization was The Tragedy of the Korosko by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes. You can hear all fifteen episodes by clicking here, and scrolling down. As I said last month, if it turns out a total stinkeroo, we shall never speak of it again.
But to judge from your reaction we avoided stinkeroo status. So we're back with our second serialization. The Tragedy of the Korosko figured heavily in the conclusion of my book America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It. This new audio excitement features a novel that provided a central metaphor in the sequel to America Alone, After America. It's a classic, definitive piece of Victorian sci-fi by H G Wells, The Time Machine, set way in the future in the year 802,701 AD.
As I say in tonight's introduction, that's the only thing Wells got wrong: He was off by a mere 800,685 years. The society he conjures - in which humanity has bifurcated into a soft passive Eloi and the ravenous, predatory Morlocks - is pretty much spot on for the fin de civilisation west of the early 21st century. Indeed, many commentators deployed the analogy for the feeble Eloi-like reaction to recent Morlock provocations of terrorism: You bomb us, run us over, decapitate us - and those who survive light candles and exchange flowers and sing songs.
As before, we'll post an episode a day of Tale for Our Time, and you can either enjoy it as a book at bedtime twenty minutes before you lower your lamp - or pile up the chapters and listen to the whole thing on a long car journey. I always like reading stories, and I did do a little of it professionally a zillion years ago. So, if it works, we may release it as an audio book on CD or Audible a ways down the road. But for the moment it's an exclusive bonus for Mark Steyn Club members. To hear Part One of The Time Machine, prefaced by my own introduction to the book, please click here and log-in.
Founder Membership is for a limited number and a limited time only: We've just a few spots left. And, aside from Tales for Our Time, it does come with other benefits:
~A free personally autographed book or CD;
~Exclusive Steyn Store member pricing on over 40 books, mugs, T-shirts, and other products;
~The chance to engage in live Q&A sessions with yours truly;
~Transcript and audio versions of The Mark Steyn Show, SteynPosts, and other video content;
~My new quarterly newsletter The Clubbable Steyn, the first issue of which ships later this month;
~Advance booking for my live appearances around the world;
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~and the chance to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
To become a Founding Member of The Mark Steyn Club, please click here.
One other benefit to Founder Membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, if you like or dislike this second Tale for Our Time, or consider my reading of it a bust, then feel free to comment away below. I weigh in on the comment threads myself from time to time, but, like a Morlock venturing among the Eloi, only when night falls and preferably on a full moon. So it's mainly your turf, to have at it - and join us for Part Two of The Time Machine tomorrow.