Welcome to the thirtieth radio serial in our popular series Tales for Our Time, and it's a spooky tale we'll be running nightly in these days before All Hallows' Eve. This comes by way of persistent request over the last two years. Thus Robert, a First Fortnight Member of The Mark Steyn Club from Ottawa:
And for Tales for Our Time, what about Algernon Blackwood's The Wendigo (greatest Canadian novella ever)?
The Wendigo was written by Algernon Blackwood in 1910 and first appeared in a collection called The Lost Valley and Other Stories. Over the ensuing decades, it came to eclipse both the eponymous Lost Valley and the other stories, too - and today it stands (with "The Willows") as one of the twin pillars on which Blackwood's reputation rests. Our tale begins on the edge of the Ontario wilderness:
A considerable number of hunting parties were out that year without finding so much as a fresh trail; for the moose were uncommonly shy, and the various Nimrods returned to the bosoms of their respective families with the best excuses the facts of their imaginations could suggest. Dr Cathcart, among others, came back without a trophy; but he brought instead the memory of an experience which he declares was worth all the bull moose that had ever been shot. But then Cathcart, of Aberdeen, was interested in other things besides mooseâ€”amongst them the vagaries of the human mind...
In my introduction to this story, I tell a little of Algernon Blackwood's autobiography and the circumstances that brought him from a Kentish boyhood to the wilds of Canada:
I remember clear night-skies ablaze with brilliant stars; I remember the moon rising behind the black wall of forest across the water. All night the river sang and whispered... The wonder of the present dominated. These woods, this river, ruled the world, and somewhere in the heart of that old forest the legendary Wendigo ...had its awful lair.
The legendary Wendigo? What's that? Well, we're about to find out. To hear me read Part One, prefaced by my own introduction to Algernon Blackwood's tale, Mark Steyn Club members should please click here and log-in.
We now have over two years' worth of my audio adaptations of classic fiction starting with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's cracking tale of an early conflict between jihadists and westerners in The Tragedy of the Korosko. To access them all, please see our easy-to-navigate Netflix-style Tales for Our Time home page. We've introduced a similar tile format for my Sunday Poems and also for our audio and video music specials.
We launched The Mark Steyn Club over two years ago, and I'm overwhelmed by all those members across the globe who've signed up to be a part of it - from Fargo to Fiji, Vancouver to Vanuatu, Cook County to the Cook Islands, West Virginia to the West Midlands. 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.
That said, we are offering our Club members a few extras, including our monthly audio adventures by Dickens, Conrad, Kafka, H G Wells, Baroness Orczy, Jack London, Scott Fitzgerald, John Buchan, Robert Louis Stevenson - plus a piece of non-classic fiction by yours truly. You can find them all here. We're very pleased by the response to our Tales - and we even do them live on our annual Mark Steyn Club Cruise with special guests. We'll be presenting another Tale for Our Time along with live editions of The Mark Steyn Show and much more on our third annual cruise.
I'm truly thrilled that one of the most popular of our Steyn Club extras these last two years has been our nightly radio serials. If you've enjoyed them and you're looking for a present for a fellow fan of classic fiction, I hope you'll consider our special Club Gift Membership. 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 chance to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly (such as this coming Wednesday's);
~Transcript and audio versions of The Mark Steyn Show, SteynPosts, and our other video content;
~My video series of classic poetry;
~Booking for special members-only events such as the three coming up next month;
~Priority booking for the above-mentioned Third Annual Mark Steyn Club Cruise from Rome to Gibraltar, Barcelona and Monte Carlo with Michele Bachmann, Conrad Black and my other guests;
~Advance booking for my live appearances around the world;
~Customized email alerts for new content in your areas of interest;
~and the opportunity to support our print, audio and video ventures as they wing their way around the planet.
To become a member of The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and don't forget that special Gift Membership. As soon as you join, you'll get access not only to The Wendigo but to all the other yarns gathered together at the Tales for Our Time home page.
One other benefit to membership is our Comment Club privileges. So, whether you agree that this is all time greatest Canadian novella, or you'd rather listen to Justin Trudeau read Little Black Sambo, then feel free to comment away below. And do join us tomorrow for Part Two of The Wendigo.