BBC R4 + RA.cc: Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson [RADIO DRAMA]

SFFaudio Online Audio

Gruselkabinett - Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson

I’ve posted about Robert Louis Stevenson’s murderous classic, Markheim, before (the audiobook and another radio drama). But, I’ve just discovered a very good new adaptation (from 2006) available at RadioArchive.cc. The sound design is excellent, and its lengthy enough to bring out most of the nuance in the text.

BBC Radio 4RadioArchives.ccMarkheim
Adapted from the story by Robert Louis Stevenson; Adapted by John Taylor; Performed by a full cast
MP3 via TORRENT – Approx. 45 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: February 1, 2006
On Christmas Day 1886 with London shrouded in fog, a man shadows a girl across Blackfriars Bridge towards the back streets of Holborn. His name is Markheim and his intentions are unremittingly dark.

Directed by John Taylor

Cast:
Tommy – Mark Straker
Markheim – Jack Klaff
Girl – Abigail Hollick
Visitor – Anton Rodgers
Crispin – Anthony Jackson

And for German listeners there’s THIS sexy sounding version produced as a part of a cool series called Gruselkabinett (which translates to “Chamber of Horrors”).

As a bonus I offer this newly created |PDF| and a vintage anlaysisby C. Alphonso Smith from Short Stories Old And New (1916):

Setting:
There is no finer model for the study of setting than this story affords. It is three o’clock in the afternoon of a foggy Christmas Day in London. If Markheim’s manner and the dimly lighted interior of the antique shop suggest murder, the garrulous clocks, the nodding shadows, and the reflecting mirrors seem almost to compel confession and surrender. “And still as he continued to fill his pockets, his mind accused him, with a sickening iteration, of the thousand faults of his design. He should have chosen a more quiet hour.” So he should for the murder; but for the self-confession; which is Stevenson’s ultimate design, no time or place could have been better.

Plot:
There is little action in the plot. A man commits a dastardly murder and then, being alone and undetected, begins to think, think, think. It is the turning point in his life and he knows it. Instead of seizing the treasure and escaping, he submits his past career to a rigid scrutiny and review. This brooding over his past life and present outlook becomes so absorbing that what bade fair to be a soliloquy becomes a dialogue, a dialogue between the old self that committed the murder and the new self that begins to revolt at it. The old self bids him follow the line of least resistance and go on as he has begun; the newly awakened self bids him stop at once, check the momentum of other days, take this last chance, and be a man. His better nature wins. Markheim finds that though his deeds have been uniformly evil, he can still “conceive great deeds, renunciations, martyrdoms.” Though the active love of good seems too weak to be reckoned as an asset, he still has a “hatred of evil”; and on this twin foundation, ability to think great thoughts and to hate evil deeds, he builds at last his culminating resolve.

The story is powerfully and yet subtly told. It sweeps the whole gamut of the moral law. Many stories develop the same theme but none just like this. Stevenson himself is drawn again to the same problem a little later in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” Hawthorne tried it in “Howe’s Masquerade,” in which the cloaked figure is the phantom or reduplication of Howe himself. In Poe’s “William Wilson,” to which Stevenson is plainly indebted, the evil nature triumphs over the good. But “Markheim,” by touching more chords and by sounding lower depths, makes the triumph at the end seem like a permanent victory for universal human nature.

Characters
If the story is the study of a given situation, Markheim, who is another type of the developing character, is the central factor in the situation. We see and interpret the situation only through the personality of Markheim himself. Another murderer might have acted differently, even with those clamorous clocks and accusing mirrors around him, but not this murderer. There is nothing abnormal about him, however, as a criminal. He is thirty-six years old and through sheer weakness has gone steadily downward, but he has never before done a deed approaching this in horror or in the power of sudden self revelation. He sees himself now as he never saw himself before and begins to take stock of his moral assets. They are pitifully meager, though his opportunities for character building have been good. He has even had emotional revivals, which did not, however, issue in good deeds. But with it all, Markheim illustrates the nobility of human nature rather than its essential depravity. I do not doubt his complete and permanent conversion. When the terrible last question is put to him – or when he puts it to himself – whether he is better now in anyone particular than he was, and when he is forced to say, “No, in none! I have gone down in all,” the moral resources of human nature itself seem to be exhausted. But they are not. “I see clearly what remains for me,” said Markheim, “by way of duty.” This word, not used before, sounds a new challenge and marks the crisis of the story. Duty can fight without calling in reserves from the past and without the vision of victory in the future. I don’t wonder that the features of the visitant “softened with a tender triumph.” The visitant was neither “the devil” as Markheim first thought him nor “the Saviour of men” as a recent editor pronounces him. He is only Markheim’s old self, the self that entered the antique shop, that with fear and trembling committed the deed, and that now, half-conscious all the time of inherent falseness, urges the old arguments and tries to energize the old purposes. It is this visitant that every man meets and overthrows when he comes to himself, when he breaks sharply with the old life and enters resolutely upon the new.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #189 – Tim Prasil’s MARVELLOUS BOXES

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastDecoder Ring TheatreMarvellous BoxesThe SFFaudio Podcast #189 – Jesse, Tamahome, Jenny, and Tim Prasil talk about the six episode anthology series Marvellous Boxes, recorded and podcast by Decoder Ring Theatre. But first we play an episode, Facing Cydonia.

Talked about on today’s show:
The Magic Of The Movies, The Crasher, horror, stage play (post Meridian Radio Players), Thinking In Trinary, Decoder Ring Theatre, Gregg Taylor, the Cobol Club, OTR, radio commercials, flash fiction, CBC, The Age Of Persuasion, “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!”, Plotting For Perfection (the short story), stage play, the Vera Van Slyke stories, occult detectives, Fitz-James O’Brien, audio dramatizations of the Vera Van Slyke stories, Black Jack Justice, The Red Panda Adventures, why be locked into the 1/2 hour audio drama format?, A Demon Once Removed, a one set one act play, Nicole (the peripheral character with a personality), Chekhov’s Gun, an alternate history, “Gregg Taylor need not be played by Gregg Taylor”, Orson Welles, history, Frozen Words Thawed, Remembering The Martians, an all black cast of MacBeth, The War Of The Worlds, H.G. Wells, The Tempest (as an alien contact story), William Shakespeare, a controversy over the character names in Facing Cydonia, Jenny will sing us a song, the boxes, “are there more boxes in you?”, ghosts, the button, the wax cylinder recorder, the Piltdown Man hoax, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an authentic hoax, Conan Doyle is the most gullible, the Cottingley Fairies, FairyTale: A True Story, Harry Houdini, Terry Jones, Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book, the EULA on wax cylinders, Thomas Edison, the most science-fictiony story, Plotting For Perfection, a femme fatale story without the femme fatale, “talk about your retro-causality”, “a box with a hole in it”, Andrea Lyons?, Scene Of The Crime, Remembering The Martians, racism, difference, tolerance, Doctor Who – The Power Of Three, fish people, are the Martians really dead?, binary fission, fruitful names, Jacob, Jason, Easter eggs, Finbar, The Silver Tongued Devil, The Sonic Society, Roger Gregg, it’s a pseudo-documentary, a joke/haiku, “conclusions should be drawn with a pencil not a pen”, Aliens Are Like Mirages, “it’s an indictment I’m just not sure what it’s an indictment of”, “if we had this power would we use it?”, the curiousness of the chaplaincy, prequels are for readers not writers, the miracle, the yup, human history in a nutshell, To Serve Man, narrative structure, why is X-Minus One a good name?, Marvellous Boxes as a name doesn’t have a super-punch, steampunky, “steamy contraptions”, Murdoch Mysteries (CBC TV), “a little less steam and a little more electricity”, Netflix in Canada sucks, Weeds, Walk Off The Earth.

Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #186 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Lady, Or The Tiger? by Frank R. Stockton

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #186 – An unabridged reading of The Lady, Or The Tiger? by Frank R. Stockton (17 minutes), read by David Federman – followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Tamahome, and Julie Hoverson (of 19 Nocturne Boulevard).

Talked about on today’s show:
Monty Hall, Let’s Make A Deal, a can of sardines, a donkey and a block of hay, the Dungeons & Dragons meaning of “Monty Hall”, use in schools, weighting the scales, what is the character of women?, equally loving and equally jealous, love vs. jealousy, how barbaric are women?, where are the female criminals, a fully barbaric king, trial by ordeal, a box with a viper, a box with a knife, the swift choice, a curious justice system, jaywalking into the people’s court, like father like daughter, women were so emotional, unmodernizable sexism, guilt, there are tigers behind both doors, The Price Is Right, imaginary morality in an imaginary land, fairness conflated with arbitrariness, “when he and himself agreed upon anything”, Julie’s problem with philosophy, game theory, a thought experiment, Ray Bradbury style stories convey Bradburian feelings vs. Rorschachian style stories which elicit only the reader’s feelings, The Discourager Of Hesitancy (a sequel to The Lady, Or The Tiger?), smile vs. frown, Batman, Two-Face’s decisions are not actually coin tosses, The Man in The High Castle by Philip K. Dick, I Ching, “the tiger does not eat the straw because the duck has flown away”, phone psychics should agree with their customers, “the cards are telling me…”, psychics as impartial observers, a Ponzi scheme, selection bias, is it a double bluff?, does the father know that the daughter knows?, what is the punishment for adultery?, obsolete pop-culture, zoot suit riots (not just a joke, seriously), “six of one, half a dozen of the other”, “as snug as a bug in a rug”, we have to invent rug technology, nitpicking, Bugs Bunny dialogue, Max Headroom (is still ahead of it’s time), “blipvert”, They Live, shantytowns in the Regan era, Shock Treatment, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

DC Comics - Unexpected,  Issue 106, Page 11

The Lady Or The Tiger (variation for a story in Amazing) preliminary art by Ed Emshweiller

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The Horla by Guy de Maupassant

SFFaudio Online Audio

If I had to name the one story that’s influenced my reading, and thinking, most in last couple of years I’d name The Horla by Guy de Maupassant. It possesses my mind like a dark and deep tunnel running through my imaginative landscape – if you haven’t heard it yet you should. Below you’ll find my preferred version, but there are more readings, and adaptations HERE – and we did a whole podcast about it, that’s HERE.

One new thing though is this |PDF| which I made from a scan of an issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries – it features the 1911 George Allan England translation.

LibriVoxThe Horla
By Guy de Maupassant; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 57 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 11, 2009
First published in Gil Blas; Oct 26, 1886.

The Horla by Guy de Maupassant

The Horla by Guy de Maupassant

The Horla by Guy de Maupassant

Posted by Jesse Willis

Moxon’s Master by Ambrose Bierce

SFFaudio Online Audio

Moxon's Master by Ambrose Bierce

I’m not a very good chess player, but I love playing. There’s a an elegance and a simplicity to the basics of it. And from those basic rules an incalculable complexity emerges – one that makes every game different. But I don’t much like playing against a computer. There’s little sense of victory if I win and if I lose I tend to question the point in playing at all. There’s something about pitting a mind against a mind – and most chess programs I’ve played against don’t seem to have one.

Moxon’s Master, by Ambrose Bierce, is about chess. It uses some basic analogies and metaphors – in just the way H.G. Wells does so well to make the implausible sound plausible. Bierce wields facts about plant tropism and Herbert Spencer’s definition of life in a skillful argument for machine intelligence. It’s rather masterful actually!

LibriVoxMoxon’s Master
By Ambrose Bierce; Read by Roger Melin
1 |MP3| – Approx. 28 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 2, 2012
First published in the San Francisco Examiner, April 16, 1899.

|PDF|

[Thanks also to Laura Victoria and Barry Eads]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #162 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The New Mother by Lucy Clifford

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #162 – The New Mother by Lucy Clifford, read by Heather Ordover (of Craftlit). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (21 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it by Jesse, Tamahome, Julie Davis, and Heather Ordover.

Talked about on today’s show:
Brownies!, The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven, what is the lesson of The New Mother, naughtiness will be punished without chance of redemption, Lucy Clifford’s children were good, the big people, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, button eyes, crafty, The Father Thing by Philip K. Dick, Philip K. Dick had two fathers, glass eyes and a wooden tail, stand the baby on it’s head, “don’t talk to strangers”, free range children, scared straight, dancing dogs, hopelessness, don’t give in to temptation, “listen to your mother”, the magic cupboards, cargo cult mindset, is the girl the devil?, Something Wicked This Way Comes, creepy warnings, has the girl been the victim of a curse?, a moral story, evil things sometimes look attractive, Anyhow Stories: Moral And Otherwise, the Wikipedia entry for Coraline, The Father Thing and Coraline have hope, horror, The Shining by Stephen King, G.K. Chesterton “fairy tales are more than true”, The Hanging Stranger by Philip K. Dick, To Kill A Mockingbird, Stand By Me, BB guns vs. aliens, did Dick read The New Mother?, Beyond The Door by Philip K. Dick, fantasy, the world is a magical place for children, the magic of housework, mom’s like God providing manna, the “good clock” that tries to keep going, frozen peas and creamed corn, the McCarthy era, The Twilight Zone, The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, child abuse, untrustworthy parents, “this is real”, stepping into adulthood, 19th century, 1950s, Coraline’s ineffectual parents, the Turkey and Blue Eyes, what happened to the turkey?, what’s up with the peardrum?, the Dictionary Of American Regionalisms, horrormasters.com, “it’s too heavy“, deception vs. self-deception, when do we learn do we naughty?, or do we learn it?, is it a game?, naughty vs. evil, reverse psychology, Tom Sawyer, a dead rat on a string, what’s the deal with the missing father?, fairy tales, Persuasion by Jane Austen, away at sea, fun garages, the feeling of bigness, Julie makes it all sound homey, Philip K. Dick’s father was a WWI veteran, pastoral vs. mechanized hell, Vietnam veterans, the new father in Coraline, the s-word, the movie of Coraline, a giant spider with bony arms, Neil Gaiman’s inspirations are classic literature, The Graveyard Book, The Jungle Book, Silas, Nobody Owens’ governess is named Mrs. Lupescu, Mr. Lupescu by Anthony Boucher, Weird Tales, Neil Gaiman is a fantasy master like J.R.R. Tolkien or Robert E. Howard, The Sandman, Aladdin, The Sandman: Season Of Mists, rescuing readers with Neil Gaiman, the teacher’s conundrum, there’s nothing better for a young reader than comics, Red Nails by Robert E. Howard, comic adaptations, don’t play down to your audience, Gargoyles, William Shakespeare, don’t pile on memorization, pile on fun, everything of value is learned through story, if you invert everything the girl in The New Mother you still don’t know what’s going on, is she just evil?, did she sit upon a baby?, are the two dogs the man and woman missing from the box?, many locks and many keys, unanswered questions, “perhaps you’ve lost yourself”, levels of naughtiness, being naught isn’t following orders, truth in advertizing, critical thinking, Grimm’s fairy tales, the etymology of “grim”, the University of Arizona, Grima Wormtongue, Harry Potter, Grimm, Once Upon A Time, Lee Arenberg, “to wend the grim tooth” (to recourse to harsh measures).

The New Mother - Then She Kissed Them
The New Mother - A Peardrum

Posted by Jesse Willis