We hope you enjoyed today's Clubland Q&A. If you missed the live broadcast, the action replay will be posted here later this evening.
Meanwhile, here comes Part Five of my serialization of The Thirty-Nine Steps, written in 1915 by John Buchan, very quickly, while convalescing from a duodenal ulcer, and never out of print in the century since. It is, as I said in my introduction, an absolute corker - although on that score Andrew Jones, a first-week Founding Member from Queensland, begs to differ:
I prefer the term 'smackin' to corker but am always prepared to agree to disagree. It's the kind of fence-sitter I am...
Mr Jones adds:
For me 'To Build a Fire' was a very powerful piece indeed. I could truly feel for the characters, man and beast. Thank you Mr Steyn. All neck-bolt snapping displays are forgiven.
The neck-bolt-snapping is, I believe, a reference to this, not to Mrs Shelley's Frankenstein monster. "To Build a Fire" , by Jack London, is one of the greatest short stories ever written, and was a joy to read. It's certainly our most primal tale to date - just a man, a dog, and the elements. The Thirty-Nine Steps is in a certain sense more urbane yet just as raw: it's about the civilized world as a veneer, below whose surface all the darker currents seethe - even when, as in tonight's episode, those darker forces are aided by the newest technology:
It was now about seven o'clock, and as I waited I heard once again that ominous beat in the air. Then I realized that my vantage-ground might be in reality a trap. There was no cover for a tomtit in those bald green places.
I sat quite still and hopeless while the beat grew louder. Then I saw an aeroplane coming up from the east. It was flying high, but as I looked it dropped several hundred feet and began to circle round the knot of hill in narrowing circles, just as a hawk wheels before it pounces. Now it was flying very low, and now the observer on board caught sight of me. I could see one of the two occupants examining me through glasses.
If you follow our Saturday movie dates, you'll know that Hitchcock, after directing The Thirty-Nine Steps, tucked away that scenario and revived it in North by Northwest. Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear Part Five of our adventure simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes of The Thirty-Nine Steps can be found here, and previous Tales for Our Time here.
For more on The Mark Steyn Club, please see here. If you've a chum who enjoys classic fiction, we've introduced a special Mark Steyn Gift Membership that lets you sign up a chum for the Steyn Club and then choose a personally autographed welcome gift for them - either a book or CD. You'll find more details here - and scroll down to the foot of the order form for the choice of books/CDs.
See you for Part Six of The Thirty-Nine Steps tomorrow.