The Weird Circle

September 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while. The problem was that even though I’ve spent a considerable amount of time working on it, it has been slow going. I figured it will be years more before I finished it at that rate. If you’ve got some ideas about the authors I haven’t been able to discover please drop a comment. In the meantime here’s what I’ve got:

The Weird CircleThe Weird Circle was a 1940s half hour radio drama series that ran 78 episodes in syndication from 1943 to 1945 in the USA.

One story I suggest fans of SF check out is What Was It? by Fitz-James O’Brien, this 1859 story, starts off with all the proto-typical mumbo jumbo about seances and haunted houses and then takes a more Science Fictiony turn. It’s also, according to Wikipedia, one of the earliest modern stories about invisibility. The show’s producers primarily drew upon early and mid-19th century gothic fiction stories for their adaptations.

The final story in this series, The Black Parchment, seems something like a French version of The Monkey’s Paw.

Episodes:

The Fall Of The House Of Usher
Based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: August 29, 1943
Provider: Archive.org

The House And The Brain
Based on the story by Edward Bulwer-Lytton; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: September 5, 1943
Provider: Archive.org

The Vendetta
Based on the novel by Honoré de Balzac; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: September 12, 1943
Provider: Archive.org

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym
Based on a novel by Edgar Allan Poe; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: September 19, 1943
Provider: Archive.org

Declared Insane
Based on a story by Honoré de Balzac; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: September 26, 1943
Provider: Archive.org
Based on the story Interdiction by Honoré de Balzac

A Terribly Strange Bed
Based on the story by Wilkie Collins; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: October 3, 1943
Provider: Archive.org

What Was It?
Based on a story by Fitz-James O’Brien; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: October 10, 1943
Provider: Archive.org

The Knightsbridge Mystery
Based on the story by Charles Reade; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: October 17, 1943
Provider: Archive.org
First published in Life in 1882, later republished in Argosy (UK) Jul 1931.

The Horla
Based on the story by Guy de Maupassant; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: October 24, 1943
Provider: Archive.org

William Wilson
Based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: October 31, 1943
Provider: Archive.org
First published in October 1839.

Passion In The Desert
Based on the story by Honoré de Balzac; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: November 7, 1943
Provider: Archive.org
Turned into a film.

Mateo Falcone
Based on a story by Prosper Mérimée; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: November 14, 1943
Provider: Archive.org
First published in 1829.
Turned into an opera.

The Man Without A Country
Based on Edward Everett Hale; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: November 21, 1943
Provider: Archive.org
First published in Atlantic Monthly December 1863.

Dr. Manette’s Manuscript
Based on a story by Charles Dickens; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: November 28, 1943
Provider: Archive.org
Adapted from the novel A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

The Great Plague
By Thomas Hood (?); Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: December 5, 1943
Provider: Archive.org
Adapted from the short story A Tale Of The Great Plague by Thomas Hood.

Expectations Of An Heir
Based on a story by Samuel Johnson; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: December 12, 1943
Provider: Archive.org
Adapted from The Lingering Expectation Of An Heir

The Hand
Based on a story by Guy de Maupassant (?); Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: December 19, 1943
Provider: Archive.org

Jane Eyre
Based on the novel by Charlotte Brontë; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: December 26, 1943
Provider: Archive.org

The Murders In The Rue Morgue
Based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: January 2, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Lifted Veil
Based on a novella by George Eliot; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: January 9, 1944
Provider: Archive.org
The Lifted Veil was first published in 1859.

The 4:15 Express
Based on the story by Amelia B. Edwards; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| -Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: January 16, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

A Terrible Night
Based on a story by Fitz James O’Brien; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| -Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: January 23, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Tell Tale Heart
Based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| -Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: January 30, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

Niche Of Doom
Based on a story by Honoré de Balzac; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| -Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: February 6, 1944
Provider: Archive.org
Based on the story La Grande Breteche by Honoré de Balzac.

The Heart Of Ethan Brand
Based on a story by Nathaniel Hawthorne; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| -Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: February 13, 1944
Provider: Archive.org
Based on the story Ethan Brand by Nathaniel Hawthorne. First published in .

Frankenstein
Based on the novel by Mary Shelley; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: February 20, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

Feast Of The Red Gauntlet
Based on a novel by Sir Walter Scott; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: February 27, 1944
Provider: Archive.org
Based on the novel Redgauntlet.

Murder Of The Little Pig
Based on a story by Émile Gaboriau; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: March 5, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

Specter Of Tappington
Based on the story by Richard Harris Barham; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: March 12, 1944
Provider: Archive.org
First published in 1837. Lieutenant Charles Seaforth is back from India, and will stay in “the oak room” a notoriously haunted room in Tappington manor. But when a skeletal specter steals Seaforth’s pants in the night he’s forced to wear his tropical shorts to breakfast!

Strange Judgement
; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: March 19, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

Wuthering Heights
Based on the novel by Emily Brontë; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: March 26, 1944
Provider: Archive.org
First published in 1847.

Curse Of The Mantle
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: April 2, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Cask Of Amontillado
Based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe; Performed by a full cast
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: April 9, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

A Rope Of Hair
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: April 16, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

Falkland
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: April 23, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Trial For Murder
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: April 30, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Werewolf
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: May 7, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Old Nurse’s Story
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: May 14th, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Middle Toe Of The Right Foot
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: May 28, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Dream Woman
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: September 3, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Phantom Picture
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: September 10, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Ghost’s Touch
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: September 17, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Bell Tower
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: September 24, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

Evil Eye
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: October 1, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Mark Of The Plague
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: October 8, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Queer Client
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: October 15, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Burial Of Roger Melvin
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: October 22, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Fatal Love Potion
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: October 29, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

Mad Monkton
Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: November 5, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Returned
Based on a story by Neville Brand (?); Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: November 12, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Executioner
Based on the story by Honoré de Balzac; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: November 19, 1944
Provider: Archive.org
First published in 1830.

Rappaccini’s Daughter
Based on the story by Nathaniel Hawthorne; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: November 26, 1944
Provider: Archive.org
First published in 1844.

The Wooden Ghost
Based on a story by Sheridan Le Fanu; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: December 3, 1944
Provider: Archive.org
Adapted from Schalken The Painter by Sheridan Le Fanu. First published in 1839.

The Last Days Of A Condemned Man
Based on the novel by Victor Hugo; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: December 10, 1944
Provider: Archive.org
First published in 1829.

The Warning
????; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: December 17, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Doll
????; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: December 24, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

The Diamond Lens
Based on the story by Fitz-James O’Brien; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: December 31, 1944
Provider: Archive.org
First published in 1858 in The Atlantic Monthly.

The History Of Dr. John Faust
Based on a story by anonymous; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: January 7, 1945
Provider: Archive.org
Based on a chapbook story Historia von D. Johann Fausten first published in 1587.

Duel Without Honor
????; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: January 14, 1945
Provider: Archive.org

The Spectre Bride
Based on a story by William Harrison Ainsworth; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: January 21, 1945
Provider: Archive.org
First published in 1822.

The Tapestry Horse
????; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: January 28, 1945
Provider: Archive.org

The River Man
????; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: February 4 1945
Provider: Archive.org

Ancient Mariner
Based on a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: February 11 1945
Provider: Archive.org
Based on The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. First published in 1798.

The Oblong Box
Based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: February 18 1945
Provider: Archive.org

The Mysterious Bride
Based on a story by James Hogg; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: February 25, 1945
Provider: Archive.org
First published in 1830.

The Thing In The Tunnel
Based on a story by Charles Dickens; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: March 4, 1945
Provider: Archive.org
Based on The Signal-Man by Charles Dickens. Later adapted as an audio drama for Hall of Fantasy (1950), Suspense (1956), Nightfall (1982) and Seeing Ear Theatre (1998?). A spectral figure in a dark railway tunnel has a message

The Moonstone
Based on the novel by Wilkie Collins; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: March 11, 1945
Provider: Archive.org
Based on the novel The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. First published in 1868.

The Pistol Shot
Based on a story by Alexander Pushkin (?); Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: March 18, 1945
Provider: Archive.org
Based on the short story The Shot by Alexander Pushkin. First published in 1830.

The Possessive Dead
????; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: March 25, 1945
Provider: Archive.org

The Goblet
Based on the story by Ludwig Tieck; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: April 1, 1945
Provider: Archive.org
Translated from German into English in 1827. Donaldo is the governor of an Italian island. He chooses a woman of low birth as his bride to be and gives her a series of engagment gifts, a silver ring, a silver pendant, and a silver goblet. The problem is, Francesca, his intened, has falllen in love with the silversmith!

The Case Of Monsieur Valdemar
Based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: April 8, 1945
Provider: Archive.org
Based on The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar by Edgar Allan Poe. First published in 1845.

The Shadow
Based on a story by Hans Christian Andersen; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: April 15, 1945
Provider: Archive.org
Based on The Shadow. First published in 1847. Classified as a “fairy tale.” A man’s shadow becomes another person and tries to control his life.

Bride Of Death
By ????; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: April 22, 1945
Provider: Archive.org
A beautiful woman is fated to marry a dead man.

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde
Based on the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: April 29, 1945
Provider: Archive.org

The Red Hand
By ????; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: May 6, 1945
Provider: Archive.org
A money hungry husband bent on murder chases his wife across France.

The Haunted Hotel
Based on a story by Wilkie Collins; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: May 13, 1945
Provider: Archive.org
First published in 1878. Set in Venice.

Markheim
Based on the story by Robert Louis Stevenson; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 25 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: May 20, 1945
Provider: Archive.org
This is a radical adaptation, set in a contemporary (to 1945) setting, and providing much of the presumed back-story (stuff that isn’t actually in the text of Stevenson’s original tale). First published in 1885 |ETEXT|.

The Black Parchment
By ????; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: May 27, 1945
Provider: Archive.org
Raphael Roland, a degenerate Parisian gambler intent on suicide, saves a drowning man in the Seine. In response he’s given a certain black parchment, written is Sanskrit, that grants wishes to the bearer. But, as an owner’s wishes are granted the parchment gets smaller and smaller and its owner gets older and older.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Horla by Guy de Maupassant

September 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The subject of SFFaudio Podcast #125 [which will be live Monday September 12th, 2011] is The Horla, a sort of ghost story by Guy de Maupassant. If you’re still not familiar with this particular Guy let me place him in context for you. He was one of the inventors of the short story and a master of the form. The stories he wrotes hold up incredibly well, being completely fresh despite being more than century old. His style is simple, straightforward and even more accessible than the works of either H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe (despite their tales having been written in English and his being written in French). Poe’s writings, of course, all preceded Guy de Maupassant. In fact Poe died the year before Maupassant was born! There’s kind of a succession going on here…

Poe -> Maupassant -> Lovecraft

…Maupassant died in in 1893, Lovecraft was born in 1890. But unlike so many of Maupassant’s tales, the ones that leave you smirking sympathetically at a collection of colourful characters, The Horla is not a tale of a social faux pas with an ironic twist – instead, I judge it as being three-fifths Science Fiction, two-fifths Horror, and 100% totally freaky!

Check out this haunting passage:

“The vulture has eaten the dove,
and the wolf has eaten the lamb;
the lion has devoured the sharp-horned buffalo,
and man has killed the lion with arrow, sword and gun;
but the Horla is going to make of man what we have made of the horse and the ox:
his chattel,
his servant
and his food,
by the mere exercise of his will.
Woe to us.”

I think what I like best about The Horla is the strong bent towards skepticism and naturalistic explanation that’s exhibited by the unnamed protagonist. He comes across like a hard Science Fiction reader, full of excitement for the wonders of the universe. He’s unwilling to accept magical explanations for the obviously strange phenomena he witnesses. He tells us his story in diary entries that seem to track both his mood, variously ebullient and depressed, as well as the facts and impressions of the strange happenings on his estate and elsewhere in France. When he leaves his seaside home, where the bulk of the action takes place, he relates a story that sounds like it must be fully supernatural. And in Paris, where he has first hand experience of disturbing para-psychological phenomena (post-hypnotic suggestion), he reserves judgement. And finally, when lying in bed he repeatedly experiences something we today might describe as sleep paralysis. Is it that the narrator insane? Or does the universe have a secret that is not yet widely known? Find out for yourself!

Here are two fantastic audiobook versions:

LibriVoxThe Horla
By Guy de Maupassant; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 57 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 11, 2009
|ETEXT|

Hypnobobs - The Horla by Guy de MaupassantThe Horla
By Guy de Maupassant; Read by Jim Moon
1 |MP3| – Approx. 57 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Hypnobobs
Podcast: February 22, 2011
“Mr Jim Moon delves into classic French literature to unearth a seminal vampiric tale of creeping fear, dread and madness”

And from the same podcaster, a thorough and fascinating exploration the story and the film adaptation:

Hypnobobs - Diary Of A MadmanDiary Of A Madman
1 |MP3| – Approx. [DISCUSSION]
Podcaster: Hypnobobs
Podcast: March 05, 2011
“This week Mr Jim Moon launches into an in-depth discussion of Guy de Maupassant’s The Horla. Also we have a look at its screen adaptation – Diary of a Madman starring Vincent Price.”

There have been two audio dramatizations:

The Weird CircleThe Horla
Based on the story by Guy de Maupassant; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 25 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: October 24, 1943
Provider: Archive.org

Mystery In The AirMystery In The Air – The Horla
By Guy de Maupassant; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 25 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: NBC Radio
Broadcast: August 21, 1947
The Horla, written in 1887 by Guy de Maupassant, is an unusual horror tale about an invisible alien entity that seeks to inhabit and control human beings. It was cited by Lovecraft as being the inspiration for his classic story, The Call Of Cthulhu, and as an important forerunner to the weird horror genre pioneered by himself, August Derleth, Clark Ashton Smith, and others, in the early-mid 20th century. This version, from Mystery in the Air (oddly, a summer replacement for the Abbott and Costello Show), benefits from a brisk script and a wonderful live performance by Peter Lorre as your weekly raging psychopath.”

Two stunning illustrations, by Lynd Ward, from The Horla:

The Horla - illustration by Lynd Ward

The Horla - illustration by Lynd Ward

An uncredited illustration from Library Of The World’s Best Mystery And Detective Stories, Volume 4:

The Horla - illustration from Library Of The World's Best Mystery And Detective Stories Volume 4

Here’s the trailer for the very loosely adapted 1963 movie starring Vincent Price:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Commentary: The History and Fiction of Invisibility

January 18, 2010 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

Feathers

SFFaudio MetaAfter three recent podcasts (two for SFBRP, one for the SFFaudio Podcast) I’ve prepared a listening list of the topic of INVISIBILITY. Invisibility is, I argue, ultimately not a scientific phenomenon but rather a literary one. When we use the word “visible” we are referring to something that is either seen or see-able. I can say something is more (or less) visible than something else and be correct. This concept of gradations of visibility is quite legitimate, and doesn’t often lead to any conceptual difficulty. But, we also have a tradition of negating concepts that we think we understand well – and then expecting that negation to exist too.

For instance. First consider the concept of pressure. Then consider these two sentences:

“This bottle is pressurized.” <-(Looks ok) "That bottle is unpressurized.” <-(Looks ok) Now consider the concept of visibility. And consider two more sentences: "This feather is visible." <-(Looks ok) "That feather is invisible.” <-(Looks... no wait! It's not ok.) So what's the difference between these two concepts and their respective negations? First, there is the problem of a conceptual equivocation in the concepts. The adjectives "pressurized" and "unpressurized" actually refer to the contents (or lack thereof) in the bottle, and not the bottle itself. Whereas in the second pair the adjectives “visible” and “invisible” refer only to the feather.

No matter, as you might be thinking, is 100% transparent. This is not completely obvious. Air seems invisible to us, but in reality even air isn’t actually 100% transparent. One strange, if incomplete, definition of MATTER might be “that which cannot be invisible.” Invisibility, therefore, can be only properly attributed to the absence of something. A perfect vacuum would be perfectly transparent, but as you are probably now realizing a vacuum is not actually a thing. It is the absence of anything.

To be sure there can be, and certainly are: unseen feathers (a black feather in an unoccupied cave), feathers that are hidden (behind something else), or even a feather that is camouflaged to look like something else. And that is the extent of feathers and their non-visibleness. The only further kind of feather we could imagine that is actually invisible must therefore be a wholly fictional feather.

So when we say things like “a glass cup is invisible in water” we can only be speaking metaphorically.

What we really mean is that the glass cup is hidden from us, it is camouflaged. This kind of invisibility is no more persuasive than saying a large city is invisible to a blind man. The city is of course visible, it is just not visible to him. And likewise the cup is visible, just not to our eyes in that medium. So the question then becomes, is it ever conceivably possible to make a man non-visible in the medium of air?

And that’s when we come to my answer.

Only in fiction.

The best expression of this is probably in the movie Mystery Men (1999). Wherein the Invisible Boy is “able to turn invisible, but only when no one is looking at him.”

So here finally, in chronological order of imagination, are just a few of the many uses of the fictional concept of invisibility:

LIBRIVOX - The Republic by PlatoThe Ring Of Gyges (extracted from Book II Part I of The Republic)
By Plato; Read by Sibella Denton
1 |MP3| – Approx. 31 Minutes [PHILOSOPHY]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: February 22, 2009
Gyges, a shepherd in the service of the king of Lydia, discovers a gold ring that can make him invisible. It, along with his covetous nature are the means by which he murdered the King and won the affection of the Queen.
Written 360 B.C..

The Weird CircleWhat Was It?
Based on a story by Fitz-James O’Brien; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: Syndicated to radio stations including
Broadcast: October 10, 1943
Provider: Archive.org
The story upon which this radio play was based was first published in 1859. The Weird Circle was a 1940s half hour radio drama series that ran 78 episodes in syndication from 1943 to 1945 in the USA.

LibriVox - The Invisible Man by H.G. WellsThe Invisible Man
By H.G. Wells; Read by Alex Foster
13 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 4 Hours 54 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: 2006
The Invisible Man (1897) is one of the most famous science fiction novels of all time. Written by H.G. Wells (1866-1946), it tells the story of a scientist who discovers the secret of invisibility and uses it on himself. The story begins as the Invisible Man, with a bandaged face and a heavy coat and gloves, takes a train to lodge in a country inn whilst he tries to discover the antidote and make himself visible again. The book inspired several films and is notable for its vivid descriptions of the invisible man–no mean feat, given that you can’t see him!

Podcast Feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/invisible-man-by-h-g-wells.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LibriVox - Miss Pim's Camouflage by Lady StanleyMiss Pim’s Camouflage
By Lady Stanley; Read by Grant Hurlock
31 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 49 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: September 28, 2009
Mid-WWI, staid Englishwoman Miss Perdita Pim suffers a sunstroke gardening and gains the power of invisibility. She becomes a super-secret agent, going behind German lines, sometimes visible, sometimes not, witnessing atrocities & gleaning valuable war information

Podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/miss-pims-camouflage-by-dorothy-stanley.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Have a really visible day folks!

More Feathers

Posted by Jesse Willis

SFPRP: Smoke by Donald E. Westlake and more invisible men

January 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Luke Burrage, in the second of two consecutive shows with me as a guest on Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, is talking about Smoke by Donald E. Westlake and other stories about invisibility. We thoughrouly examine the invsiblity meme, discuss its strengths and weaknesses and chat about possible upcoming topics of conversation!

The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast SFBRP #079 – Smoke and more invisible men
1 |MP3| – Approx. 58 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: SFBRP.com
Podcast: Monday, January 18, 2010

Here’s what we talked about:
Luke’s The Invisible Man podcast (SFBRP#78), The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, Donald E. Westlake’s Smoke, invisibility, Freddie Urban Noon, crime, Smoke is an invisible man story done right, Memoirs Of An Invisible Man by H.F. Saint, Memoirs Of An Invisible Man (the 1992 film), invisibility in Fantasy (J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings), invisibility in Science Fiction (The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells), invisibility in a comic crime story, what are the problems with being an invisible thief?, humor, New York, Richard Stark, hard boiled crime, 5 Writing Lessons Learned from Donald Westlake, “When the phone rang Parker was in the garage killing a man.”, The Writing Excuses Podcast, Luke’s review of Makers by Cory Doctorow (SFBRP #74), big tobacco, Westlake’s way of telling a story “he went into the unspeakable kitchen.”, Westlake is a masterful writer of sentences, Peg Briscoe (Freddie’s girlfriend) is a competent confederate, how do you steal things when you’re invisible? (people will see the stolen goods floating down the street!), how do you sell stolen goods when you’re invisible? (you’ll need a confederate), invisibility is a small but well known meme, comparing the memes of invisibility and time travel, nailing small coffins and flogging tiny horses, The Man With The Getaway Face by Richard Stark, the Stark novels are faced paced and utterly absorbing, the differences between Stark novels and Westlake novels, The Hunter by Richard Stark, Payback (the 1999 film), more invisible men, Hollow Man (the 2000 film), Sony used a fake reviewer to shill its movies, unlikeable characters in novels vs. film, the concept of invisibility is a human concept and not a worldly phenomenon (and what that does to our perception of possibility), negating a phenomenon doesn’t create a new phenomenon, invisibility in The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series, Jack Ward, The Sonic Society, Superman, why Superman is impossible, invisible men cannot smoke or drink or eat if they want to remain wholly invisible, Neil Morrisey, The Vanishing Man (1998), future memes and themes for podcasts: THE YELLOW PERIL, when will China take over the world? (soon), David Wingrove’s Chung Kuo series, The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer, the Judge Dee mysteries, Starship: Flagship by Mike Resnick, Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick |READ OUR REVIEW|, ***watch out for the false ending*** Alan Moore‘s The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Captain Nemo, Mina Harker, Allan Quatermain, the National Treasure series, Indiana Jones,
6 Insane Fan Theories That Actually Make Great Movies Better, the best television show ever made: The Adventures Of Young Indiana Jones, doing something with a television show that no-one has ever done on TV before or since, automating your podcast with Audacity, python.

http://www.sfbrp.com/?feed=podcast

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #046

January 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #046 – Jesse and Scott talk audiobooks, hard SF, current theatrical movies, Kenneth Oppel‘s Skybreaker and the new Gene Wolfe audiobooks at Audible.com! We also debut a new feature (boldly stolen from the late lamented Sofanauts Podcast). RIP.

Talked about on today’s show:
bananas, Smoke by Donald E. Westlake, invisibility, humor, the Richard Stark novels are only funny to psychopaths, crime, Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You by Donald Westlake (Westlake’s open letter to Science Fiction on why he’s not writing SF anymore), Philip K. Dick’s interview on Hour 25, Those Sexy Vintage Sleaze Books: A Blog About Vintage Soft Core Paperbacks, Robert Silverberg, Lawrence Block, paperbackswap.com, The Ax and The Hook by Donald E. Westlake, The Engines Of God by Jack McDevitt, Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke, aliens, xenoarcheology, terraforming, Tom Weiner, hard SF, 2010: Odyssey Two by Arthur C. Clarke, exoplanets, social science fiction, soft SF, The Windup Girl by Paulo Bacigalupi, androids, first contact, Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer |READ OUR REVIEW|, how to win any argument about modern SF: bring up Ted Chiang, The Story Of Your Life by Ted Chiang, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, Starship: Flagship by Mike Resnick, hero characters doing villainous things, Island Of The Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, Summer Of The Monkeys by Wilson Rawls, Dolphin Island by Arthur C. Clarke, hovercraft, Australia, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, marine biology, District 9, the MacGuffin in District 9 is stupid, Avatar, Sharlto Copley, Star Trek, Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel, Full Cast Audio, audio drama, Science Fiction, alternate history, Fantasy, airships, pirates, lifting gasses, phrenology, Howard Hughes, Thomas Edison, Graphic Audio, Brandon Sanderson‘s Warbreaker, Elizabeth Moon‘s Serrano Legacy series, audio drama is for truckers!, Jesse’s pick of the week: William Friedkin‘s Sorcerer (1977), laserdiscs, the great thing about laserdiscs!, VHSrips!, The Wages Of Fear (1953), Scott’s Pick of the week: Gene Wolfe’s The Book Of The New Sun (a novel in four parts), narrated by Jonathan Davis, the SFFaudio Yahoo! Group, Audible.com, Blake’s 7 The Early Years – Jenna: The Trial / The Dust Run (Vol. 1.5), Carrie Dobro, Babylon 5: Crusade, the Blake’s 7 television series, Blake’s 7 is the best audio drama space opera series ever!, Brian AldissHelleconia series, Non-Stop by Brian Aldiss, Best SF Stories of Brian W. Aldiss, the fix-up novel, Dreamsongs by George R.R. Martin |READ OUR REVIEW|, Maps In A Mirror by Orson Scott Card, short stories turned into novels, Karen Makes Out (a short story), Out Of Sight (a novel) by Elmore Leonard, Out Of Sight (the film), Karen Sisco, Meatball Fulton‘s Ruby The Galactic Gumshoe, NPR, Recorded Books, The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross, what Jesse wants for his birthday: the complete fiction of Ted Chiang in audio, The Bishop’s Heir by Katherine Kurtz, the Deryni series, David Weber, series should end!

Posted by Jesse Willis

SFPRP: The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

January 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Luke Burrage, in the first of two shows with me as a guest on Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, is reviewing and talking about The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells. Its a fun exercise, we run down the whole book and talk about other invisibility stories too. Have a listen…

The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast SFBRP #078 – H.G. Wells – The Invisible Man
1 |MP3| – Approx. 58 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: SFBRP.com
Podcast: Monday, January 18, 2010

Here’s what we talked about:
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, the public domain status of the writings of H.G. Wells, Luke and Jesse in conversation, The War Of The Worlds, The Island Of Dr. Moreau, The First Men In The Moon, Luke’s review of The Time Machine, Sussex, invasion literature, mad scientist, horror, thriller, the village of Iping, invisibility, scientific invisibility, What Was It?, haunted house, the 2000 film Hollow Man, Smoke by Donald E. Westlake, the development of the invisibility meme, creating tension in a scene with exposition, Luke’s review of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, the Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan Raiders Of The Lost Ark story conference |PDF|, a Nazi monkey, Griffin (the titular Invisible Man) as an anti-hero, The Ring Of Gyges (found within Plato’s The Republic), invisibility as a cipher for moral character, invisibility is good for nothing other than spying, if you’re an invisible person you’ll need a confederate, The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Miss Pim’s Camouflage by Lady Stanley, WWI, Invisible Agent, WWII, isolation, moral isolation, anonymity, Eric Rabkin’s point about, refractive index, albinism, the sleight of hand that H.G. Wells uses in The Invisible Man and The Time Machine, The Crystal Egg by H.G. Wells, Mars, long distance communication, what is the serious problem with invisibility? [the answer is a DEFEATER for any truly HARD SF story], the background for The Time Machine is Charles Darwin, evolution and the class system, the background for The War Of The Worlds is invasion literature, war and colonialism, Eddie Izzard‘s colonialism through flags, the background for The Invisible Man is personal responsibility, isolation and moral character, Thomas Marvel (the tramp with an invisible friend), the parallels between The Invisible Man and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson and Fawlty Towers, psychopathy, sociopathy, the one ring’s invisibility, invisibility for burglary is only half as useful as you’d expect, imagine the Sauron’s ring in the hands of Denethor, Boromir, or Gandalf!, the filmspotting podcast, visit Luke’s website!

http://www.sfbrp.com/?feed=podcast

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Posted by Jesse Willis

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