The SFFaudio Podcast #530 – The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs; read by Mr Jim Moon. This is an unabridged reading of the story (29 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Mr Jim Moon, Julie Davis, and Maissa Bessada
Talked about on today’s show:
Harper’s Monthly, September 1902, the illustration Maurice Gryffonhagen, 1900, rejected by The Strand, too morbid, maybe morbid, am elaborate explanation to make it a naturalistic story, out of character for W.W. Jacobs, comic tales about sailors and boating, messing about on the water, a spooky tale, the characterization of the family, perfect, warm, a fool (in a nice way), joking around, blame is neutralized, Mrs White is meta, something out of the Arabian Knights, antimacassar, a lace doily, hair oil, smoking jackets, fezs to prevent hair stink, to keep your clothes from becoming smoky, other smells, no six showers a day, that dark turn, small sketches, we feel it when the tragedy happens, Lakesnam Villa vs. Laburnum Villa, The Lady Of The Barge, a tree, ornamental, friendly, poisonous seeds, a golden chain tree vs. a snake, chances vs. changes, Otto Penzler’s Big Book Of Ghost Stories, 203 separate publications, 5th grade reading, ingrained in the culture, everybody knows that idea, be careful what you wish for, The Toll House, Herbert White, Mr. White, the company name: Maw and Meggins, the Sergeant Major Morris, a jerk, how dare you, wish for death in the end, take money for it too, he threw it in the fire, they always turn bad, conflated, The Bottle Imp by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Twilight Zone, “and so it came to me”, their humourous attitude vs. his seriousness, they’re us, a dreamer, just to look around, 21 years of it, totally clicking, the number three, three times seven, the three family members, three different men, all the wishes get used, no natural sequel, all its wishes used up, many adaptations, most of the adaptations are pretty terrible, The Simpsons adaptation, the dried turkey sandwich, squirming like a lakesnam, very visual, rule out all the logical terrible consequences, “alive and whole”, The CBC Nightfall audio drama, Chris Wiggins, a friend of Vandredei, cursed objects, Friday The Thirteenth: The Series, a doll that kills people at night, classic!, a teacup with strangling ivy, a pair of faith healer’s white gloves, super-creepy, disconnected from the movie series, there was a plan for a cursed hockey mask, late at night, a spell put on it by a very holy man, the moral of the story, fate ruled people’s lives, get to the wishes, nothing comes of nothing (King Lear), Lucretius‘ On The Nature Of Things, the clutches of a dread, he doesn’t want to be that kind of guy, “just a bit of what you might call magic, perhaps”, reading his actions, a great bit of gossip, the other reading, get him lubricated, his three listener leaned forward, his host fills it for him, in vino veritas, rubicund, they met in a bar, he doesn’t stay the night, does he have an arm?, how you could do sequels to this, his glass topped against his strong teeth, a bad dude, he’s careless, I don’t know, a first time reader of this story: “Give it to me.”, stories where wishes are granted, deals with the devil, how you word what you want, classic fairy tales, Grimms Bros, the magic (talking) fish, stuff you lot, one gloss, embroider, half finished, The Mouse, The Bird, And The Sausage (is probably about polyamory), Hansel And Gretel, an even older one, Charles Perrault, a woodcutter or a fisherman, if you spare me I’ll grant you three wishes, I wish I had a sausage, you wasted a wish, Interstate 60 (2002), a half-leprechaun, negative wishes, the 1948 film adaptation, The Monkees’ Paw, Tales From The Crypt (1972), Wish You Were Here, Robin Hood, back from the dead, eternal pain, the HBO Tales From The Crypt adaptation, kinda fun, The Alfred Hitchcock Presents adaptation from the 10th season, Lee Majors as Herbert, races in Haiti, all just foreign, witch doctoress, frills and elements, the dynamics, the husband starts it off, the wife and the son encourage it playfully, “wish to be an emperor, father”, he never will!, ill-gotten gains, a little monster on the sideboard, something simian looking back from the fire, there’s no blame, the last bit out loud, such a great job reading it, thank goodness, ask for him whole, go away, other glosses, almost perfect for what it does, maw = ma, meggins = beggins, an insurance company, three sections, how adaptations could work, the 2013 adaptation, in name only, built into the story, reverse order, the sergeants story, got close, it rewards you but not in the way you wanted, he will never share, some interaction, the fakir, the paw as India’s revenge on England, the face he put on, enforce government will, as a revenge story, wishes for immortality, be happy that we’re mortal, voodoo, A Podcast For The Curious, M.R. James, industrialization, coincidence or not, when Julie was not a Christian, when a coincidence happens and it was meant for you to understand (you know it), I’m going to be talking to Julie, discover it for themselves, a solid believer in whatever it is, evaluate for yourself, they get it, we get it, it means nothing, the story means what it means because of the framing, a long time ago Jesse had another website (Aural Noir), merged together, hidden away, Jesse knows all the movies about grifters, James Coburn in Harry In Your Pocket (1973), Jesse’s D&D class was always thief barbarian or barbarian thief, this is a scam, a naturalistic way of explaining this story, having sold the paw, Nigerian prince scams, a crate full of Monkey’s Paws, a scam that works this way, bet on tonight’s horserace “Laburnam to win in the first race”, Bet on “Lakesnam to win”, for today’s results…, this was a scam that was actually employed, a known scam, framing it from inside your house, adaptable as a play (none of the scenes are set outside the house), a new silk hat, it means something, we’re not liable, inside the family circle, “what about the knocking on the door, Jesse?”, we never actually see the zombie here, what the author intended to tell us is contained in his text, the psychology going on, chess to while away the evening, living vicariously, I’m a mysterious stranger, reverse psychology, literally the way con-men work, [Jesse describes the opening scam in The Sting (1973)], a dark and stormy night outside, stories of this kind, a very self aware story, stories are valuable, a confection, massive power over us, this need not be a horror story, a different genre, a Star Trek: Discovery episode with Harry Mudd, an now forgotten genre: the club story, the Jorkens stories by Lord Dunsany, Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales Of The White Hart, Asimov’s The Black Widowers, the Binscombe Tales by John A. Whitbourn, “The Monkey’s Spa”, Japanese snow monkeys (cursed to be comfortable), If I Had Three Wishes, it never works out, a comfortable lesson, the father says he’s happy, the guilt is so evenly spread, the meta-chess move, a metaphor for the story, why she’s so desperate, Jordan Peele, comedy and horror turn on the same thing, hilarious or horrific, E.F. Benson, Ripping Yarns, Michael Palin and Terry Jones, “The Curse Of The Claw”, looking through old magazines, The Haunted Tomb by C.H. Shanan, Assoc. M. Inst. C.E., that tomb was haunted, you’re the detective, a ghost story or a Scooby Doo story, stories of the uncanny (we find out some truth about reality we were not privy to prior), everybody knows about magic (it’s just rare), things seem to be magical (the Gothic tradition), Weiland by Charles Brockden Brown, The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, a knife raised over his girlfriend, Scooby Doo is Gothic!, Old man Willard!, the new Scooby Doo is opposite, they’re detectives, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound Of The Baskervilles, a boundary hedge, salt tax, Lagaan (2001), exotic stuff, just a slip of a lad, a rubicund visage, a wondrous horrible story, a masterful story, a joy to read, could have been written yesterday, where the hell I am, damn near one take, 30 or 40 doilies, very easy for kids to read, answers to homework, 5th grade, 10 years old, Poe, what the heck is a tarn?, I found a tarn, he breath inaudible, good writing, a callback, mother and father, American Gothic.
The SFFaudio Podcast #523 – The Tomb by H.P. Lovecraft; read by D.E. Wittkower. This is an unabridged reading of the short story (32 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Evan Lampe.
Talked about on today’s show:
The Vagrant, March 1922, June 1917, Weird Tales, 1926, his first adult story, so polished, Jesse’s favourite Lovecraft story, personality, Jervas Hyde or Jervas Dudley, how you interpret the events of the story, I want to be somewhere else, Polaris, WWI, a civil war among the Teutonic races, complex loyalties, bacchanalians, beautiful not horrific, Gaudeamus, lyrics for an Ale Storm, out of character, out of place, the one flaw in the story, that’s the point, possessed, genetic connection, lucky for me, dreamed all day, are the events all real, humouring him?, a palliative?, Hiram should be black in the film adaptation, an aged and simple minded servitor, who like me loves the churchyard, he insults everybody, an archetype, the male nanny, the absent nanny in The Outsider, everybody is kindly, a kindly espionage, insane boy, insanely lonely boy, the opening, three sentences, this refuge for the demented, a comedy piece, a disclaimer, even funnier, I’m smarter than all of you, a psychologically sensitive few, Supernatural Horror In Literature, he’s right, the premise of The Call Of Cthulhu, this is just truth, there is no sharp distinction between the real and the unreal, flashes of supersight, more bragging, a truth that most people never think about, epistemology, a construction, not looking vs. not seeing, maybe my blue is your red, the wine dark sea, orange, an article about blue, rare in nature, the history of race, Asians as the yellow race, a hoax, George Psalmanazar, Formosa, Taiwan, Grey Owl, he’s a fraud, putting on an artificial personality, what resonates, something very real, childhood, everybody gets one, we’re always looking back, that whole experience, a very autobiographical story, “Jesse Willis: Dreamer and Visionary”, literally true, born into a wealthy family, ancient and little know books, 1711, Boston gentry, a coach-ride away, somewhere in Lovecraft country, his connection to Poe, a reincarnation of Poe, how can this be?, visited Edgar Allan Poe’s grave, the inventor of monomania, The Black Cat
FOR the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief.
an open temperament vs. insane psychopath, “pen”, neither expect nor solicit empathy, a penknife, walking on eggshells for this poor broken boy, such a sympathetic character, The Green Dragon Inn, the Hobbits are interested in Earthly pleasures, a sex party across the Brandywine, making so many Tooks, fear of thunderstorms, an interesting detail, an overlay, this is the goth kid, imposing too much of the libertine upon Lovecraft, the horror is losing control, Beyond The Wall Of Sleep, The Shadow Out Of Time, a story about adolescence, he can’t admit that, Lovecraft is horrified, a straight up bacchanalia, gay blasphemy tore from my lips, Castro’s confession in The Call Of Cthulhu
Suddenly a peal of thunder, resonant even above the din of the swinish revelry, clave the very roof and laid a hush of fear upon the boisterous company.
if that’s the case…, playful, restrained, echoed early on
I do not think that what I read in these books or saw in these fields and groves was exactly what other boys read and saw there; but of this I must say little, since detailed speech would but confirm those cruel slanders upon my intellect which I sometimes overhear from the whispers of the stealthy attendants around me. It is sufficient for me to relate events without analyzing causes.
other stuff going on in the hollow
I have said that I dwelt apart from the visible world, but I have not said that I dwelt alone. This no human creature may do; for lacking the fellowship of the living, he inevitably draws upon the companionship of things that are not, or are no longer, living.
the trees, the rocks, and the graves, a walk with one of his aunts, a man out of time (born two centuries too late)
Close by my home there lies a singular wooded hollow, in whose twilight deeps I spent most of my time; reading, thinking, and dreaming. Down its moss-covered slopes my first steps of infancy were taken, and around its grotesquely gnarled oak trees my first fancies of boyhood were woven. Well did I come to know the presiding dryads of those trees, and often have I watched their wild dances in the struggling beams of a waning moon—but of these things I must not now speak.
as a toddler, The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen, dryads and nymphs, fancies, he makes of them friends, another way to tell this story, from the Private Eye’s POV, is the P.I. lying?, What?!, he doesn’t actually ever go in there, the key is a dream key, a Dreamlands story, he never actually goes into that tomb, astral projection, he’s a dreamer, in the woods and the books, a bolt of lightning, by what miracle?, what colour is this dress?, a supernatural agency, a malevolent force
“Sedibus ut saltem placidis in morte quiescam.”
from The Aeneid, “give a dead man a place to rest in”, unquiet dead, he’s a ghost, very sensitive, he’s going to get what he wants in the end, kind of beautiful, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, the Halloweening season, suspicion of festivals and gathering, Halloween is the return of the spirits, placate the spirits, basket of emptiness, when we read Roman history, ancient roman documents, Cicero is just a dude, Marcus Aurelius, Hiram was a buddy of Solomon, a Tomb of Hiram, the Comb or Tomb of Hiram, extreme antiquity, Lovecraft’s awareness, little call-outs, the only book that gets mentioned, textual references, the Arkham Insiders podcast (the German version of The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast), Plutarch’s Lives, Frankenstein, a worm eaten translation, a true story, the life of Theseus, tokens of destiny, the time was not yet ripe, the will of fate, he does learn to do this, unlocking things with his dreams, a box in the attic that contains the key, entirely plausible, predicted, he’s 11 years old, so well put together, so much detail, a dozen times, Parallel Lives of the Noble Greek and Romans, aspects, Romulus, listening through a hole, spied upon, the blank slate, ivory tower, a mix, a monster and a well-spoken gentleman, the effect, a self-harm story, wearing the black beret and black nail polish, creepy and good, a great story, latch onto the festivities, understanding Lovecraft’s view of history of the Atlantic and civilization and race, the Georgian playfulness, very very bad,
Then, whispered Castro, those first men formed the cult around small idols which the Great Ones shewed them; idols brought in dim aeras from dark stars. That cult would never die till the stars came right again, and the secret priests would take great Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth. The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom. Meanwhile the cult, by appropriate rites, must keep alive the memory of those ancient ways and shadow forth the prophecy of their return.
freedom and degeneration and evil, dive into Lovecraft’s letters, quite an adventure, barbarism and the frontiers, long rants, freedom is going to bring us all down, letters to Robert E. Howard, civilization vs. barbarism, talking past each other, the Alexandrian chaos, hybridity, interracial marriage, witches, Maroon communities, pirates, zootsuiters, celebrating freedom, building a wall, 122 of the Weird Tales version, charnel conviviality, I must not describe, the THING happened, you absolutely must read The Loved Dead by H.P. Lovecraft and C.M. Eddy Jr., that’s his bent, the greatest sense of humour,
For a week I tasted to the full the joys of that charnel conviviality which I must not describe, when the thing happened, and I was borne away to this accursed abode of sorrow and monotony.
I should not have ventured out that night; for the taint of thunder was in the clouds, and a hellish phosphorescence rose from the rank swamp at the bottom of the hollow. The call of the dead, too, was different. Instead of the hillside tomb, it was the charred cellar on the crest of the slope whose presiding daemon beckoned to me with unseen fingers. As I emerged from an intervening grove upon the plain before the ruin, I beheld in the misty moonlight a thing I had always vaguely expected. The mansion, gone for a century, once more reared its stately height to the raptured vision; every window ablaze with the splendour of many candles. Up the long drive rolled the coaches of the Boston gentry, whilst on foot came a numerous assemblage of powdered exquisites from the neighbouring mansions.
presiding x2, powder (and ash), faces and wigs, “throng”,
With this throng I mingled, though I knew I belonged with the hosts rather than with the guests. Inside the hall were music, laughter, and wine on every hand. Several faces I recognised; though I should have known them better had they been shrivelled or eaten away by death and decomposition. Amidst a wild and reckless throng I was the wildest and most abandoned. Gay blasphemy poured in torrents from my lips, and in my shocking sallies I heeded no law of God, Man, or Nature.
out of control, the lighting bolt in Frankenstein, The Witch-Cult In Western Europe by Margaret Murray, druids, cthonic religions, Cultures Of Darkness: Night Travels In The Histories Of Transgression by Bryan D. Palmer, carnival, masquerades, secret societies, cultural night, anti-capitalist, resistance comes out at night, on the side of the state, Livy’s account of the bacchanalians, Augustus’ moral reforms, men have to get married, promiscuous character, more uncleanliness, small government, morally transgressive, some YouTube idiot, it’s always moral decline, not great at economics or politics, sensitive to night, astronomy and night walks, not directly inspired by a dream, dreams are central, ultimately connected, super-creative and imagination connected, full of fancies, is there a victory here? or is it a tragedy?, that barred room, not a triumph, We Can Build You by Philip K. Dick, delusion, connection with his ancestors, some philosophy line: being-toward-death, thantophilic
It is midnight. Before dawn they will find me and take me to a black cell where I shall languish interminably, while
insatiable desires gnaw at my vitals and wither up my heart, till at last I become one with the dead that I love.
My seat is the foetid hollow of an aged grave; my desk is the back of a fallen tombstone worn smooth by devastating
centuries; my only light is that of the stars and a thin-edged moon, yet I can see as clearly as though it were mid-day. Around
me on every side, sepulchral sentinels guarding unkempt graves, the tilting, decrepit headstones lie half hidden in masses of
nauseous, rotting vegetation. Above the rest, silhouetted against the livid sky, an august monument lifts its austere, tapering
spire like the spectral chieftain of a lemurian horde. The air is heavy with the noxious odors of fungi and the scent of damp,
mouldy earth, but to me it is the aroma of Elysium. It is still–terrifyingly still–with a silence whose very profundity bespeaks
the solemn and the hideous. Could I choose my habitation it would be in the heart of some such city of putrefying flesh and
crumbling bones; for their nearness sends ecstatic thrills through my soul, causing the stagnant blood to race through my
veins and my torpid heart to pound with delirious joy–for the presence of death is life to me!
incredibly connected to this story, Ashes, very delectable, not a cannibal story, utterly delightful.