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.
In the collection’s marvelous title story, two aging vampires in a sun-drenched Italian lemon grove find their hundred-year marriage tested when one of them develops a fear of flying. In “The Seagull Army Descends on Strong Beach, 1979,” a dejected teenager discovers that the universe is communicating with him through talismanic objects left in a seagull’s nest. “Proving Up” and “The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis”–stories of children left to fend for themselves in dire predicaments–find Russell veering into more sinister territory, and ultimately crossing the line into full-scale horror. In “The New Veterans,” a massage therapist working with a tattooed war veteran discovers she has the power to heal by manipulating the images on his body. In all, these wondrous new pieces display a young writer of superlative originality and invention coming into the full range and scale of her powers.
I had been looking forward to this book coming out, because I loved Karen Russell’s first book of short stories, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves. She is also the author of the much-acclaimed Swamplandia! which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. These stories did not disappoint! I was curious to see if there would be more set in Florida, but these span from Italy to New Jersey, from the plains to Antarctica. And just as I would have expected, the stories are at times startling, amusing, and sad. I will just say a few words about each, but this is a must-read.
Vampires in the Lemon Grove – two ancient vampires try to satiate their desires by eating lemons
Reeling for the Empire – human silkworms, vivid and terrifying.
The Seagull Army Descends on Strong Beach, 1979 – maybe the seagulls are the only ones really paying attention
Proving Up – starts as a struggling farm family story, ends in a … i can’t even…. *shiver*
The Barn at the End of Our Term – dead presidents alive in horses’ bodies
(actual presidents, not the band)… this one made me laugh more than any of the others.
Dougbert Shackleton’s Rules of Antarctic Tailgating – Sometimes you’re the whale, but you’re probably usually the krill.
The New Veterans – PTSD, massage, tattoos, and what is healing, exactly?
The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis – I couldn’t decide what I thought of this one. It is either about bullying or children who can turn into other things. Maybe both. Maybe neither.
The audio version is great, because each story has its own reader, really allowing for the differences in voice and feeling.
List of readers:
Vampires in the Lemon Grove read by Arthur Morey
Reeling for the Empire read by Joy Osmanski
The Seagull Army Descends on Strong Beach, 1979 read by Kaleo Griffith
Proving Up read by Jesse Bernstein (his accent is perfect for this story!)
The Barn at the End of Our Term read by Mark Bramhall
Dougbert Shackleton’s Rules of Antarctic Tailgating read by Michael Bybee
The New Veterans read by Romy Rosemont
The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis read by Robbie Daymond
The SFFaudio Podcast #195 – Polaris by H.P. Lovecraft, read by Jim Moon. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (11 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it by Jesse, Tamahome, Jim Moon.
Talked about on today’s show:
The Philosopher (an amateur magazine), is this a Christmas story?, The Festival, Lord Dunsany, The Necronomicon, Lovecraft’s Christianity, religion vs. Tradition, Lovecraft’s relationship to his characters, WWI, eldritch gibbering, fainting fits, Lovecraft loved his snoozing, reincarnation vs. mind transfer, time travel, alternate realities?, neanderthal in North America?, what is the setting?, The Horror Of The Museum, The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, swamps vs. bogs vs. fens, “Eskimos” vs. “Inutos”, dishonorable dirty fighting, The Shadow Out Of Time, Dagon, The Call of Cthulhu, The Tomb, it’s The Outsider in reverse, Atlantis, Athens, Lemuria, the Land of Lomar, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Hyperborea, King Kull, Mu, the Dream Lands, atavism, The Rats In The Walls, “a penchant for strange foods”, Jack London, Carl Jung, race memory, the evolutionary path, dishonorable yellow hordes, the yellow peril, “line up and die”, startings and endings, repeated phraseology, a dunsany-esque story, the Dunsany mode, Edgar Allan Poe, its like an extended prose poem, Silence: A Fable, Shadow: A Parable, Ligea is labyrinthine, “battered by adjectives”, The Highwayman by Lord Dunsany, poetic stories, accessible Dunsany stories, In The Fields We Live, “sinister, whimsical, and beautifully odd”, Victorian magazines, The King Of Elfland’s Daughter, C.S. Lewis, Michael Moorcock, world-building, a consistency of reality, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, lost epochs, “the wisdom of the Zobnarrian Fathers”, “bubble and blaspheme”, the alien outer gods, Lovecraft’s interest in astronomy, Charles Wain (aka the plow, aka the big dipper), mapping the skies, messages and impressions, Arcturus, Cassiopeia, Aldebaran, Philip K. Dick, “the world is alive”, a leering star, astrological time, if the seeing is good…, Lovecraft’s desire to be an astronomer, Lovecraft’s formal education.
Talked about on today’s show: Time Killer was nominated for a Hugo, the Blackstone Audio audiobook, Sheckley’s family of themes, a collage of images, Immortality, Inc. is a comedy, Bronson Pinchot’s narration, Peter Lorre, Midnight Cowboy, “those are real tears”, a cartoon, Buddhism, reincarnation, the yoga machine, “manipulation catches up to theory”, surviving beyond death, Futurama, suicide booths, New New York, Douglas Adams, Matt Groening, zombies, are we chicking or egging, Mindswap by Robert Sheckley (SFFaudio Podcast #076), Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, “you are not…”, are you your memories?, hundreds of trillions of assumptions, “why did communism fail?”, Tam knits, sweet sweet coffee, Harrison Bergeron, we need the CPU as well as the memory, Gregg would still be Gregg in another body, a body as an automobile for genes, aren’t skills a part of your mind, your memories?, bayoneting skills, Gregg wants longer pinkies, dynamic finger growth is optimal, episodic, the hunt, have the lawyer leave the room, “what if there is nothing more?”, this is a book about death, ghosts, walking through all the explanation for what happens after they die, tomb like an Egyptian, sane ghosts vs. nutjob ghosts, “the competition never ends”, “different dimension, same shit”, “transplant”, a black-market copy of a sensory recording of our hero’s story, interest in the twentieth century is waning, 1950s New York, Jesse has never been to New York, security theater, Gregg promises to take Jesse to New York, a private Winnebago?, the suspension of habeas corpus, Canada is a country that doesn’t work in theory (but works in practice), the United States as a utopian experiment, Australia has mandatory voting, Mayberry, “the right to die”, death is exactly like before you were born, you can only look forward to death, Mark Twain, death is just one damn thing after another, What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson, Dante’s Inferno, does love conquer all?, Cinderella, happily ever after, arguments that get all of us killed, Pakistan vs. India, tribalism, Ghandi vs. Jinnah, “the enemies of progress”, China, Buddhism, Confucianism, Shinto, ancestor worship, Khmer mythology, Hanuman the monkey king, “reality is only inside you”, are most people half-believers?, Sheckley doesn’t pick one way, did the serialization inform the storytelling, The Status Civilization, Sheckley looks at the world and laughs, there’s no thesis Sheckley is trying to explicate, Sheckley is “a sane Phil Dick”, horror vs. humor, Freejack is a loose adaptation of Immortality, Inc., Emilio Estevez and Mick Jagger, the role of the reader, the magic of radio (drama), The World According To Garp (film vs. novel), converting the nonconvertible, a romantic relationship, Aristotle’s Poetics, plot should follow necessarily (or at least probably) from that which came before, Accessory Before The Fact by Algernon Blackwood, “it all happens at the same time”, flat characters vs. round characters, do we live in a serial world?, if Hamlet was a television series, Gilgamesh still works, Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry vs. J.J. Abrams, an anthologic approach, Babylon 5 as the counter-example, Neil Gaiman, J. Michael Straczynski, Doctor Who, the vehicle of the series, will the dancing toilet paper company care?, Gregg: “I’m no longer god”