That Spot by Jack London is a 4,000 word story. Not generally considered to be either Fantasy or Science Fiction, it nevertheless borders both. I also think, depending on your mood, it can also be seen either as horror story or a comedy.
Any way you classify it, That Spot is absolutely wonderful.
Jack London had the intellect, experience, disposition, hunger, and temperament of ten men (or at least one very queer dog).
Protecting Project Pulp No. 39 – That Spot
By Jack London; Read by Steven Howell
1 |MP3| – Approx. 28 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Protecting Project Pulp
Podcast: April 8, 2013 Two Americans in the Yukon purchase a strange dog for a song, and it haunts them for the rest of their days. First published in Sunset Magazine, February 1908.
The SFFaudio Podcast #201 – The Inn (aka Ulrich The Guide) by Guy de Maupassant, read by Mirko Stauch. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (34 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse and Mirko.
Talked about on today’s show:
Where and why, more and more Maupassant, is there a definitive list of Guy de Maupassant SFF stories?, German translations, the BBC audio drama adaptation of The Inn, RadioArchive.cc, a ghost story, the twist in the end or the twist middle, great writing, an ambiguous ghost story, a psychological happening, the dog’s reaction, revenant, “it becomes the monster”, Louise Hauser, is Ulrich dead?, Gaspard, The Others, Maupassant tricks us, “they bury themselves”, Ulrich is punished for no reason, the voice, white noise, Ulrich’s religious beliefs, Cologne on a cold night, the ravens!, the audio drama improves on the short story!, a filling metaphor, “the immense ocean of pale mountain summits”, mainstream, the vertical issue, Wolfgang von Goethe, “only a very stable character”, a proto-cosmic horror, The Festival by H.P. Lovecraft, a Christmas story, describing nature, the second meaning, “arose from the snow itself”, “he’s alone on the Moon”, being alone, cabin fever, we are alone in the cosmos, community allows us to hide from the harsh truth, gambling, “I would have brought a bunch of books”, “illiterate mountain peasants”, a lonely island, did Gaspard fall into a crevasse?, nature is the monster, the unknown is more terrifying, the terror of the soul, undeserved guilt, “eighteen degrees of frost”, “he was of a sleepy nature”, 1886, Guy de Maupassant visited the Alps, riddled with disease, the Inn at Schwarenbach, The Shining by Stephen King, an internal flaw, “he could speak no human words”, Nightflyers by George R.R. Martin, Perry Rhodan, Silent Running, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson, the dog as a symbol, the dog as a companion, the importance of routine for the lonely, the demon of loneliness, “all is busy work before the grave”, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Castaway, The Piece Of String (aka The Piece Of Yarn), “eating a sandwich that you find on the sidewalk”, he dies alone and unloved, “two feets”, every Norman is trapped in disbelief, it could have happened to us!, his hair turned white, Supernatural Horror In Literature by H.P. Lovecraft, “the unseen”, “the outer blackness”, able to appreciate the immensity of reality, Honey Boo Boo, The Horla by Guy de Maupassant, The Call Of Cthulhu, “when I think of H.P. Lovecraft I don’t think of immense tentacles.”
The SFFaudio Podcast #172 – Scott and Jesse talk, in the fifth of a six part series, about the books XVII, XVIII, XIX and XX of The Odyssey.
Talked about on today’s show:
Scott is struck, building tension, the nurse, “to be wroth against”, Eumaeus, names are handy, Hiro Protagonist, Neal Stephenson, parody, William Gibson, Eurycleia, Odysseus rolls a saving throw against a stool, first bum fight in literature, twinning, Odysseus is Athena’s avatar on Earth, The Iliad vs. The Odyssey, being of two minds, gods as metaphors, externalization, a primitive version of Matthew 25:40, “my good for nothing belly”, appetites, metastory, the tip jar is open, Turkic and Gaelic bards, Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag, “reached for the good things close at hand”, “Odysseus Goes To Town”, Eric Shanower, Argos (the hound), “the black hand of Death”, it’s not an anti-slavery polemic, the washing of the feet, the stringing of the bow, Julian Jaynes’s idea about The Iliad and The Odyssey and consciousness, Penelope is just as smart as Odysseus, the prelude to the crisis, the walls turn red, Yuri Rasovsky’s The Odyssey, Blackstone Audio.
Tony Smith, of StarShipSofa, was telling me, a few months ago, that he was working on a new podcast. I’m not much for plans. I don’t like to be disappointed. I don’t want to know what’s coming out next month or next year. Instead, I look backwards into what I see as the ever settling waters of history.
Tony had said the show was going to be crime fiction themed. He was excited. I was non-committal. But, now I’m excited.
That show he mentioned has come to fruition and is perfectly wonderful.
The first episode of Crime City Central features a short story by one of the world’s all-time best crime fiction writers, Lawrence Block. Keller The Dog-Killer was first published in the May 2008 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine – but it was originally a part of a novel, called Hit Parade, which itself was a part of a series of short stories that were fix’d-up into another novel (and then spawned more novels, which themselves were fairly episodic – and which included Hit Parade) – hence this short story. The “Keller” series features the adventures of Keller. He’s a shy stamp collector and curiously amiable freelance hit man who operates out of New York. You’d probably not want to know Keller in real life – he’s rather dangerous. But as a fictional character, he’s very fun to hang out with.
Aficionados know that Lawrence Block often narrates his own audiobooks, and he does a great job at it. But the narration here by reader Ray Sizemore is top shelf too. He does a seamless back and forth between Keller and Dot (his agent) and the story flows very smoothly.
There are few authors worthy of re-writing Edgar Allan Poe – few would dare – and of those few fewer still would succeed in the attempt. Jack London is one such and his short story, Moon Face, is one such success. Sometimes subtitled “A Story Of Mortal Antipathy” this story runs nearly the same length as the Poe story that I think inspired it. I’ve read one essay that argues it was inspired by The Tell Tale Heart, but I think it is another. Sure, the unnamed protagonist may be insane, but I think there’s still something to his lunacy – we can go for decades without encountering our own personal Claverhouse – then one day he will appear – and his mere presence is enough to set one’s teeth on edge.
By Jack London; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 13 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 01, 2009
First published in The Argonaut, July 21, 1902.