It is a grim Halloween in New York City. I will have some further thoughts as the facts emerge.
In more traditional observance, we have a scary movie for you, or, if you prefer, an even scarier video, and some truly terrifying audio. But, aside from the usual horrors, I thought this year we'd offer something a little different. Earlier this month, after our Sunday Poem, Mark Steyn Club Founding Member Robert Meador wrote with a request:
Kipling is a treasure. I see I am not the first to recommend his Just So Stories, but I'm sure I speak for Marvin and other felines everywhere: you should do a recording of 'The Cat That Walked By Himself'.
Well, I've always loved that particular tale. A lot of the Just So Stories are delightful and whimsical, but "The Cat That Walked By Himself" is also profound. So I took up Robert's suggestion and am pleased to offer it here as a Halloween bonus for Steyn Club members. It's a tale of domestication - from the days when "the Tame animals were wild":
The Dog was wild, and the Horse was wild, and the Cow was wild, and the Sheep was wild, and the Pig was wild—as wild as wild could be—and they walked in the Wet Wild Woods by their wild lones. But the wildest of all the wild animals was the Cat. He walked by himself, and all places were alike to him.
Of course the Man was wild too. He was dreadfully wild. He didn't even begin to be tame till he met the Woman, and she told him that she did not like living in his wild ways. She picked out a nice dry Cave, instead of a heap of wet leaves, to lie down in; and she strewed clean sand on the floor; and she lit a nice fire of wood at the back of the Cave; and she hung a dried wild-horse skin, tail-down, across the opening of the Cave; and she said, 'Wipe you feet, dear, when you come in, and now we'll keep house.'
To hear "The Cat That Walked By Himself", prefaced by my own aforementioned intro, please click here and log-in.
We launched The Mark Steyn Club earlier this summer, and I'm immensely heartened by all those SteynOnline supporters across the globe - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Surrey to the Solomon Islands - who've signed up to be a part of it. 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 - 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.
That said, we are introducing a few bonuses for our 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; next came The Time Machine by H G Wells; and then The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, and The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope. 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.
If you'd like to hear this serial, all you need to do is join the Club - either for a full year or, if you suspect we're some fly-by-night shifty Canuck scamsters and you want to see how it goes, a mere quarter. And, 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 opportunity to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly;
~Transcript and audio versions of The Mark Steyn Show, SteynPosts, and our other video content;
~My new quarterly newsletter The Clubbable Steyn;
~Our new video series of classic poetry;
~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.
One other benefit to membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, if you like or dislike this fifth 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 I regard it as principally your turf, to have at it as you so desire. And do join us for a brand new Tale for Our Time in November.