Talked about on today’s show:
1922, mean and bad people who all look very pretty, act so sweet, physically beautiful, even the ugly people are distinctive, surprised, Julie has read it three or four times, Terence read it in two sittings, the LibriVox was too slow, he wrote a tonne of books, super-popular, very exciting, you read it as fast as he wrote it, he dictated his writings, he roared through them, Kevin J. Anderson does the same thing, very extensive Wikipedia biography, aha!, he used every part of the buffalo, stuff that happens in his life, he’s the bad guys, they all go to the South of France, he wrote King Kong, the best way to approach him, using themselves, churning out a great adventure, more complete, the angel and the other woman, you can’t like her but you can admire her, she’s so complete, Lydia liked her, Maissa enjoyed it like candy, the author loved her (the angel), so nefarious, Jack O’ Judgement, Batman/Joker character, what genre is this?, suspense, is she going to get away with it?, will she do it, it wasn’t suspenseful, armchair interesting, interesting jumping, that style of writing/thinking, working the plot out on the fly, putting out a novel in three days (with no editing), he’s got magic, breaking it down, funny lines, Terence’s neighborhood, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Nice, San Remo, the true reason they go down there, he has to get rid of his money as quickly as possible, you can’t drink and drug that much, the best way to get rid of money, very exotic, a few sound problems at the beginning of the audiobook, we open with the conclusion of a murder case, how can we get our client off even though he’s been convicted, the lawyers flout the law, family loyalty, they knew she was guilty, she’s his white whale, will you please just take these steps?, falling under the sway of a charismatic personality, unrelenting naivete, Edgar Wallace is the main character, he was working for a newspaper, how many times he got married, there was dictation, To Catch A Thief (1955), a very strange taffy-pull, a reverse Les Misérables, off to North Africa, Edgar Wallace plot wheel, what kind of Edgar Wallace plot you’re in, wheel of blind trails by which the hero is mislead or confused, planted clues, false confession, document forged, go around the room, having those prompts, watching Jean have to improvise, somebody is going to get Lydia, double plans, “oh great, the chauffeur’s in love with me”, when Lydia’s being shot at on the raft, there’s something funny about it, things become more and more far-fetched, A Series Of Unfortunate Events, Jesse’s mom read him a book for Christmas (A Peculiar Curiosity by Melanie Cossey), the reason that book exists as it does, trying to make everything right, he’s much more like Elmore Leonard, I don’t know anything about diving, go find out about that stuff for me, dialogue driven crime sort of stuff, that external research, Civil War reenactors, “farbs” they’re in it for the weekend, it’s just what we do, Alexander Dumas, set in London, John Buchan’s The 39 Steps, less he-man, Wallace was in love with his villain, this malignant disease, forgotten to say her prayers, a broken moral compass, damn!, it’s natural to her, I fear life without money, the cold mutton of yesterday, the people reading these books, she’s a sociopath, deep into his biography, when he joined the army, Edgar Wallace is named after Lew Wallace author of Ben Hur, religious as an undercurrent, the premise is uniquely interesting, her debts are because she’s so moral, some rando stranger somewhere on the internet dies, we’ll marry him off, that hook is so important, ooh hey!, this wide eyed innocent but quite competent lady, can she compromise her moral values and the plot is rolling along, did Jesse doctor the audiobook’s speed?, some sort of weird forced marriage?, by any means necessary, genre expectations, Brewster’s Millions (1985), a false tension, George Barr McCutcheon’s novel Brewster’s Millions, new clothes, new place, she IS a fashion plate,
The novel revolves around Montgomery Brewster, a young man who inherits 1 million dollars from his rich grandfather. Shortly after, a rich uncle who hated Brewster’s grandfather (a long-held grudge stemming from the grandfather’s disapproval of the marriage of Brewster’s parents) also dies. The uncle will leave Brewster 7 million dollars, but only under the condition that he keeps none of the grandfather’s money. Brewster is required to spend every penny of his grandfather’s million within one year, resulting in no assets or property held from the wealth at the end of that time. If Brewster meets these terms, he will gain the full 7 million; if he fails, he remains penniless.
Edgar Wallace’s dream, the house always wins, whatchu gonna do with that money?, the kind of plot premise that starts off this money, she marries a murderer, he’s suicided, she’s an heiress loose on the goose, study with the Italian masters, It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), our anti-hero is a “femme fatale”, she cuts the guy’s hand, your handkerchief please, she’s a monster, a very attractive monster, brought to justice?, she hoodwinks one more guy, it’s for the wildlife, you don’t want to hurt a dolphin, she’s met her match, Jesse got the sense the cycle was going to repeat, she meant it, he’s an interesting man, the last line, five million francs, money did not interest her, a sphere of might and power, an intellectual is somebody who has discovered something more interesting than sex, he was likeable, he loves her anyway, simpering, saving Lydia, love was more important, chose something good at the end, fooled by Mr Jags, the train station, he’s gonna follow her, because I have a criminal mind, a wholesome respect for the law, Jack Glover = Jag, who was the angel of terror?, at no moment does she inspire terror, Jag is the Hyde aspect of Jack Glover, the two angels, she conducts terror, she feels terror, Jean might corrupt Lydia, a first class criminal, born 600 years to late, Lucrezia Borgia, Dexter, a do good framework, did Edgar Wallace know Jags was gonna be Jack, the character shift is pretty massive, a very good fellow (illiterate and speaks amazing French), I wouldn’t mind a pipe, a disguise, Julie agrees with Terence, too much weight on the dictation?, a flow of consciousness, increasingly outlandish, he knew and he didn’t know, fiction writing, seeing connections, plots in opposition, a twist that inverts, deliberate, trying to hide identity, Carmilla, Mircalla, an acronym of your own name, a tribute to Edgar Wallace, its hard to tell, this is a job for Superman!, from a writer’s perspective, he was there the whole time, one alternate title: The Destroying Angel, a quote from Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke, maybe both are the angel of terror, disguised, her beauty is her disguise, lookism, I’ll get you my pretties!, the opening of Chapter 2, the writing is “choice”, mmmm yes,
Lydia Beale gathered up the scraps of paper that littered her table, rolled them into a ball and tossed them into the fire.
There was a knock at the door, and she half turned in her chair to meet with a smile her stout landlady who came in carrying a tray on which stood a large cup of tea and two thick and wholesome slices of bread and jam.
“Finished, Miss Beale?” asked the landlady anxiously.
“For the day, yes,” said the girl with a nod, and stood up stretching herself stiffly.
She was slender, a head taller than the dumpy Mrs. Morgan. The dark violet eyes and the delicate spiritual face she owed to her Celtic ancestors, the grace of her movements, no less than the perfect hands that rested on the drawing board, spoke eloquently of breed.
“I’d like to see it, miss, if I may,” said Mrs. Morgan, wiping her hands on her apron in anticipation.
Lydia pulled open a drawer of the table and took out a large sheet of Windsor board. She had completed her pencil sketch and Mrs. Morgan gasped appreciatively. It was a picture of a masked man holding a villainous crowd at bay at the point of a pistol.
“That’s wonderful, miss,” she said in awe. “I suppose those sort of things happen too?”
The girl laughed as she put the drawing away.
“They happen in stories which I illustrate, Mrs. Morgan,” she said dryly. “The real brigands of life come in the shape of lawyers’ clerks with writs and summonses. It’s a relief from those mad fashion plates I draw, anyway. Do you know, Mrs. Morgan, that the sight of a dressmaker’s shop window makes me positively ill!”
at the end of this chapter is a review of this book, Philip K. Dick, the promise of the book:
“Since when has the Daily Megaphone been published in the ghastly suburbs?” asked the other politely.
He saw the girl, and raised his hat.
“Come along, Miss Beale,” he said. “I promise you a more comfortable ride—even if I cannot guarantee that the end will be less startling.”
a nice turn of phrase, Mrs Cole Mortimer was a chirpy pale little woman of forty-something, descriptions of the south of France, my soul has been in a hundred collisions, she had no sense of metaphor, page 52, waiting for the detective to arrive, picturesque dressing gown and no-less picturesque pajamas, to impress, the staging and artifice, hoodwinked all the way through, the ability to surprise while we’re in the know, cotton candy, it’s very old, on LibriVox, Lee Elliott was a good narrator, getting professional about our amateurism, Terence is sounding good, our show, Terence’s sound is terrible, content is king, sometimes narrators have really good taste, Phil Chenevert does tonnes of science fiction, narrating a novel is a huge commitment, “yup I’m doing another one for money, Jesse”, the narrator of Weiland (Karen Joan Kohoutek), Greener Than You Think by Ward Moore, almost like reading a super-old style comic book, this mysterious cloaked and masked character, no one knows who he is, Moon Knight, a minor Marvel character, The Joker, The Riddler, youre almost on the evil guy’s, The Shadow, Orson Welles, a giant prosthetic nose, Wallace didn’t live that long, proto-superhero magazines, the foreshadowing of that, The Spider, Doc Savage (the guy with the big shiny muscles), Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins, Buckaroo Banzai, failed MCUs (Marvel Cinematic Universes), an aspect like the Watchmen, Sherlock Holmes, Zorro, the evolution, James Bond, superhero-like stories, going in blind, understanding the phenomenon, we couldn’t quit reading, on his writing process, Brian Aldiss, you begin with a striking image, a crazy robot on the moon firing into the void, he probably began with the beautiful evil woman, there is a huge unity to the story, imagistic unity, Jack and Jean’s story, there’s this 1971 movie, nope it’s not that, conventions stuck in the period in which it is set, House, M.D. works much better, differential diagnostics, he’s a consulting doctor, what Arthur Conan Doyle really did, very Agatha Christie territory, to see the actors chewing up the scenery, set it after WWII, Casino Royale by Ian Fleming, get some colour, Jean would laugh at Dexter, you’re wasting your talents!, as any flapper would pick up any nut, proto-feminism, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Scarlett Johansson as Jean,
Talked about on today’s show:
1798, Wieland: or, The Transformation: An American Tale, first novel, the first author who got paid for a living in the United States, a weird first big novel, a weird country, a founding document is a strange book, Bryan’s thesis, connectivity issues, Bryan’s dissertation, Edgar Huntly, the doppleganger as a motif, the romantic era, British poems, not allowed to include Americans, teaching, the gimmick is sleepwalking, murder, Indian war, Skywalk: The Man Unknown To Himself, talking to Americans, in and out of fashion or focus, prefering the manly nature stuff, freakishly bizarre, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, and H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror In Literature, James Fennimore Cooper, The Last Of The Mohicans, American muscular exceptionalism, written for women, a female protagonist, a horror story, violence against women, murder, Natty Bumppo, waking up in a cave, like Rambo, violent novels, religious violence, nature, nature worship, nature is terrifying, incinerator by divine pyrotechnics, American Writers: 100 Pages At A Time, dense, super-high level vocab, distancing from the events, the whole back half, a very strange recommendation,
Of Mrs. Radcliffe’s countless imitators, the American novelist Charles Brockden Brown stands the closest in spirit and method. Like her, he injured his creations by natural explanations; but also like her, he had an uncanny atmospheric power which gives his horrors a frightful vitality as long as they remain unexplained. He differed from her in contemptuously discarding the external Gothic paraphernalia and properties and choosing modern American scenes for his mysteries; but this repudiation did not extend to the Gothic spirit and type of incident. Brown’s novels involve some memorably frightful scenes, and excel even Mrs. Radcliffe’s in describing the operations of the perturbed mind. Edgar Huntly starts with a sleep-walker digging a grave, but is later impaired by touches of Godwinian didacticism. Ormond involves a member of a sinister secret brotherhood. That and Arthur Mervyn both describe the plague of yellow fever, which the author had witnessed in Philadelphia and New York. But Brown’s most famous book is Wieland; or, The Transformation (1798), in which a Pennsylvania German, engulfed by a wave of religious fanaticism, hears voices and slays his wife and children as a sacrifice. His sister Clara, who tells the story, narrowly escapes. The scene, laid at the woodland estate of Mittingen on the Schuylkill’s remote reaches, is drawn with extreme vividness; and the terrors of Clara, beset by spectral tones, gathering fears, and the sound of strange footsteps in the lonely house, are all shaped with truly artistic force. In the end a lame ventriloquial explanation is offered, but the atmosphere is genuine while it lasts. Carwin, the malign ventriloquist, is a typical villain of the Manfred or Montoni type.
is the next book about x-ray specs, the Binding of Isaac, based on a true story in upstate New York, your local history, Washington Irving, Anthony Boucher’s They Bite, the cannibalism aspect, religious fanaticism, Carwin is a bit villainous, a thing going on with the maid, a genealogy of religious madness, an unreliable narrator, quite unhinged, a very Lovecraftian theme, inheriting the sins of the father, forbidden knowledge, ancient French protestants, this sounds like Lovecraft, half buried in dust and rubbish, his eyes were not confined, seek and you shall find, connection to madness, looking for her father’s old writings, Carwin in her closet, don’t read the book we’ll interpret it for you, teach the Indians how to be good Christians, his own personal religion, twice a day without fail, craziness and religion, really strange, early American history, the American Revolution, The Peopling Of British North America by Bernard Bailyn, America as a Marchland, a marquis, slavery, new religious movements, cults, no established church, a weak echo, Netflix’s Wild Wild Country, the Albigensians, not having a positive view of religion, religious frenzy: the end, a more traditional religious education, an unhinged freethinking frontier religion, the argument of religious authorities, Augustine, the best thing for humans is a good theocracy, Sunday School, mandatory belief, a Comics Code Authority Stamp, if you don’t like it I won’t write any more, William Godwin’s Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams, anarchism, what’s the lesson here besides beware of ventriloquists, she isn’t as naive as she sometimes seems to be, a transformation from the brother into Carwin, a rustic friendly atmosphere, science and astronomy, traumatized by nightmares, a nightmare story, her savior is a rapist, I said I was going to rape you because it seemed best at the time, it feels so gothic, throw your voice to get out of dangerous situations, throw your voice to the garbage can behind your muggers, that’s bullshit, The Secret Of Ventriloquism by John Padgett, written for a Thomas Ligotti fansite, 1943, “Benders”, the Kansas serial killer benders, that father was insane, god was talking to him, so full of coincidence, Clara is not reliable, a sign of mental illness, the case that inspired Wieland, we could almost diagnose, showing up at a neighbor’s house naked, not just genetics but also disease, Guy de Maupassant, Who Knows?, The Horla, burn the house down, the brother is definitely insane, the father has been insane for a long time, voices attributed to a stranger with Spanish characteristics, Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, charms for protection against vampires, a castle in an American forest, a temple, mysterious stranger, the father’s death and spontaneous combustion, a state of insensibility, his imperfect account, bearing a lamp, a blow from a heavy club, an imperfect tale, half the truth has been suppressed, how it ends, the divine ruler, the religious vs. the rational explanation, the boyfriend, the uncle, a professional, the voices, the original kills in New York, struck by lightning, both natural and supernatural, a sound up on the temple, a pistol discharged, a blazing light, a very striking image, a cloud impregnated with light, a burning bush, ball lightning, naked and scorched and bruised, clothes removed and reduced to ashes, never explained, so devout god visited him and he saw god’s sideboob, Poe is dealing with Radcliffe 50 years later, what’s going on up front, Mulder and Scully, crucial to the Gothic, Gothic explicae, The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis, Scooby-Doo, the final chapter, making sense of real phenomenon, lets find out what it is, H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, the temptation of the Ring of Gyges story, a temptation to intervene, always rationalizing, past tense, for those people who want to know what happened to my family, this is her Stormy Daniels book, an essay in Vanity Fair three years later, no one would really write this that way, written for our benefit this way, putting it in the best light, I was paying her, what else is going on, the children, the maids, an upper class family, playing musics and discussing philosophy, suffering from syphilis, paranoia, hearing voices, a psychotic break, Lovecraft’s dad, a gang of men are raping my wife, went to the hospital, a hushing up, can this be rationalized without modern disease theory and modern psychology, In Cold Blood, so familiar, Gary Cole, Fatal Vision, a gang of hippies, Charles Manson, threat of the week, a narcissistic sociopath, Pleyel’s experience, “drifter”, he’s the Rasputin of this mess, lets have a secret meeting, no you idiot, don’t do it!, maybe I should, he’s hiding in your closet, let’s split up, a horror movie trope, drawn to the flame, the implications towards incest, transformed into a Spaniard, Carwin, this non-Spanish crypto-Spanish dude, some guy who doesn’t like me in Ireland, the British Gothic tradition, the Catholic South is very sexual, Othello, every Radcliffe novel, a ritual thing to do, a classic geographical imagination, part-time Spanish part-time English, Germans and Scotch-Irish and Jews, an inherited move, what Jeffrey MacDonald told the investigators, high heeled boots, “Acid is groovy, kill the pigs.”, the American Revolution angle, hostile to hierarchies and institutions, the corruption of old Europe, Saxony, Chapter 5, the good king, the Prussians, the horrors of war, which eventually happens, Thomas Paine, views on marriage, gender politics, the final scene, no general critique of institutions, a normal life, happiness in France, a Lord in Saxony, The Rats In The Walls, why they moved to the U.S., the Delapore family was murdered by one member and then praised by the neighborhood, the secret of the family was passed down, his family seat, the whole cycle of horror, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound Of The Baskervilles, the Canadian who comes into take the Baskerville estate, returning to Europe where the sins were ingrained in the family name, start a religion afresh, principled and thoughtful, rigid thinking, too rational, what could have caused this?, a pair of aunts who married a pair of brothers, hints of incest, she’s expecting her brother there, “that’s weird, man”, emotion and passion vs. rationality, a movement driven in part by the Enlightenment, violent, slavery, siding with reason, mental illness, the scene of this contest, a duel, a malignant figure, I leave you to moralize on this tale, Robinson Crusoe goes hunting in Spain, a problem with pagination, a double-tongued deceiver, if only they had gone to church, you gotta think this problem through, a Kantian answer, an 18th century chestnut, the human brain is a pretty good machine until the passions wreck the place, frailty, Robespierre and the Goddess of Reason, The Dunwich Horror, Providence by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows, who is he talking to, these are your idols, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, a horror book, you don’t wanna go that way, one take on America, American Culture 101, the spontaneous combustion, horror movie scenes, don’t do it!, don’t go down in the basement, hewing trees, where you keep the monsters (the basement), most of the horror takes place upstairs, closets, when did basements become popular?, cellar, I lurked through the day, a trap door, a storm cellar, so strange, so weird, so foundational, the opposite of James Fenimore Cooper, William Faulkner, Pierre by Herman Melville, all the heads we’re driving over, Melville’s gone nuts, overblown writing for 200 pages, frustration, speaking to something that everybody knew about then, why was Poe obsessing about premature burial?, fake news, preserved like the bones of a dinosaur, historical criticism, a Gothic dream of factionalism, the Civil War, Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House Of The Seven Gables, Young Goodman Brown, The Minister’s Black Veil, disconnected from religion but surrounded by people who are connected, swimming with the church team, freezing rain, Quaker meetings, another set of friends, the Philosophical Society, equal in extent, very much of the enlightenment, a biloquist, all the voices were Mel Blanc, digging graves in your sleep, astral projection, The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar, the biggest hoaxer of them all, Channel Zero, creepy pasta, Candle Cove, the tooth monster, about grief, a mobile haunted house, almost perfect, uncanny, a rundown Rustbelt city, modern folklore, a local legend, ventriloquism, that’s so weird, sleepwalking, Rutger Hauer and very meaty, infecting my dreams.
The SFFaudio Podcast #507 – Seaton’s Aunt by Walter de la Mare; read by Mr Jim Moon. This is an unabridged reading of the short story (1 hour 36 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, Maissa Bessada, and Wayne June
Talked about on today’s show:
aunt?, ownt?, The London Mercury, April 1922, H.P. Lovecraft, pretty damn interesting, is it a ghost story?, Robert Aickman, Fontana Book Of Ghost Stories (Volume 1), M.R. James,, E.F. Benson, Thomas Liggoti, is it a vampire story?, a very successful ghost story, is it a witchcraft story?, necromancy, psychic vampirism, all about mood and sustaining a mood, atmospheric, very, creepiness sneaks in, chills up and down the spine,
“Deserving of distinguished notice as a forceful craftsman to whom an unseen mystic world is ever a close and vital reality is the poet Walter de la Mare, whose haunting verse and exquisite prose alike bear consistent traces of a strange vision reaching deeply into veiled spheres of beauty and terrible and forbidden dimensions of being.”
in a letter to Clark Ashton Smith, rumors about an ancient castle under which is a conclave of demons, not truckle with psychological fudging, real life stories, never tipped over the abyss, a feeling of being haunted, the weight of disbelief, monster,
“Of the shorter tales, of which several volumes exist, many are unforgettable for their command of fear’s and sorcery’s darkest ramifications; notably Seaton’s Aunt, in which there lowers a noxious background of malignant vampirism”
Shades Of Darkness adaptation, 9/10ths close to the book, a big switcheroo, switching the roles, dialogue from the story, adaptations are people interpreting, interpretive decisions, the girl Alice, more life to her at the beginning, the casting, what a role, a role of a lifetime, no eating, a mountain of a woman vs. doll-like, that thin and hungry look, her hair, a wig, dark hair, all this history, how intense people are, things going on, the number of parallel things that are happening, the first meeting the second meeting, the school, the strand, creepier, it feels like an actual memoir, weary of for no good reason, Withers, why is he telling this story, a chapter in a memoir, not very good person, Seaton’s not perfect, maybe this aunt is very moral, she does pretty much everything wrong, a huge colossal biotch, from a shit’s point of view, “a creature”, why does she act that way, she’s a prick or in league with the devil, she is a monster (in a any sense of the word), a horrible person, spite, little mind games, this is not Seaton’s story, may ownt, an extraordinary figure, a non-supernatural story, what made a person like this?, maybe she just way to much Lovecraft when she was young, we English, pongo, ape, monkey, bribed every time, some jam, lunch, expensive wine, the everyman, self-involved, does she kill him?, the roles were switched, bells and sparks, that chess scene,
Seaton’s aunt was wearing an extraordinary kind of lace jacket when we sidled sheepishly into the drawing-room together. She greeted me with a heavy and protracted smile, and bade me bring a chair close to the little table.
“I hope Arthur has made you feel at home,” she said, as she handed me my cup in her crooked hand. “He don’t talk much to me; but then I’m an old woman. You must come again, Wither, and draw him out of his shell. You old snail!” She wagged her head at Seaton, who sat munching cake and watching her intently.
his room is full of cages, down at the pond, a dysfunctional family,
“And we must correspond, perhaps.” She nearly shut her eyes at me. “You must write and tell me everything behind the creature’s back.” I confess I found her rather disquieting company. The evening drew on. Lamps were brought in by a man with a nondescript face and very quiet footsteps. Seaton was told to bring out the chess-men. And we played a game, she and I, with her big chin thrust over the board at every move as she gloated over the pieces and occasionally croaked “Check!”—after which she would sit back inscrutably staring at me. But the game was never finished. She simply hemmed me defencelessly in with a cloud of men that held me impotent, and yet one and all refused to administer to my poor flustered old king a merciful coup de grâce.
teaching chess, the aunt and Withers are parallel, Arthur chose him, something of his aunt there, toying and sparing,
“There,” she said as the clock struck ten—”a drawn game, Withers. We are very evenly matched. A very creditable defence, Withers. You know your room. There’s supper on a tray in the dining-room. Don’t let the creature over-eat himself. The gong will sound three-quarters of an hour before a punctual breakfast.” She held out her cheek to Seaton, and he kissed it with obvious perfunctoriness. With me she shook hands.
“An excellent game,” she said cordially, “but my memory is poor, and”—she swept the pieces helterskelter into the box—”the result will never be known.” She raised her great head far back. “Eh?”
It was a kind of challenge, and I could only murmur: “Oh, I was absolutely in a hole, you know!” when she burst out laughing and waved us both out of the room.
immoral behavior, a cloud of men, how she treats her nephew, Withers or Johnson or Wither or Smithers, another dig, tapping into something very British, mirrored, a dishonest narrator, passing judgement on all and sundry, a hideous old beast, she’s not such a bad old stick, a dull stolid chap, what’s expected, a public school attitude, everyone’s a jolly good sort, a mask for bad behavior, a cavalier with the truth, very calculated, foibles of behavior, you are nothing to me, it’s a test, dare you correct an old lady, is she’s too self aware?, if this were a true memoir, they sneak into her room and hide in her closet, too intellectual for her own good, why she’s a miss, about half way through the book,
We turned and walked slowly towards the house, across whose windows I confess my own eyes, too, went restlessly wandering in search of its rather disconcerting inmate. There was a pathetic look of draggledness, of want of means and care, rust and overgrowth and faded paint. Seaton’s aunt, a little to my relief, did not share our meal. Seaton carved the cold meat, and dispatched a heaped-up plate by an elderly servant for his aunt’s private consumption. We talked little and in half-suppressed tones, and sipped a bottle of Madeira which Seaton had rather heedfully fetched out of the great mahogany sideboard.
I played him a dull and effortless game of chess, yawning between the moves he himself made almost at haphazard, and with attention elsewhere engaged. About five o’clock came the sound of a distant ring, and Seaton jumped up, overturning the board, and so ending a game that else might have fatuously continued to this day.
no malice, interpretation, he’s turning into her, becoming more sympathetic to her, my aunt, we lost all our money, fairly obvious, the aunt has spent the inheritance, stopping at the chemists to get rat poison, WHY?, is Seaton trying to kill his aunt?, a half-term holiday, for his own use, another parallel, what’s with the bangle?, only when pirating, a craze for wearing a ring, a craze for wearing bangles, wearing a rubber band as a bangle, a little affectation, a bit of jewelry, more adult, a bit glamorous, to be interesting and opulent, bullying, perfectly horrid, a touch of the tar brush, not white enough, a bit debonair, a bit gypsy,
I can scarcely describe with what curious ruminations I led the way into the faded, heavy-aired dining-room, with this indefinable old creature leaning weightily on my arm—the large flat bracelet on the yellow-laced wrist.
they are isolated, a maiden aunt, a malevolent creature, sometimes people are weird, weird household cultures, lobster mayonnaise, game sausages, the salad is the monster, a gargantuan appetite, you can’t scare me with your ghost stories, I’ll take it, she’s sure to be quite decent to you, code for child sexual abuse, she’s just a woman, does she lie ever?, the eye in the room, is this an Innsmouth story?, a lot of fishy eyes in this story, Irving S. Cobb’s Fishhead, frog boy?, did he go to the pond, or the sea?, her younger brother, she might be being misread, people turning into dust, Seaton is turning into his aunt, something you like to eat, so interesting,
We walked up the village street, past the little dingy apothecary’s and the empty forge, and, as on my first visit, skirted the house together, and, instead of entering by the front door, made our way down the green path into the garden at the back. A pale haze of cloud muffled the sun; the garden lay in a grey shimmer—its old trees, its snap-dragoned faintly glittering walls. But now there was an air of slovenliness where before all had been neat and methodical. In a patch of shallowly-dug soil stood a worn-down spade leaning against a tree. There was an old broken wheelbarrow. The roses had run to leaf and briar; the fruit-trees were unpruned. The goddess of neglect brooded in secret.
the Goddess of neglect, what the hell does that mean?, the whole opposite view of this whole thing, he’s dying, is he digging his own grave?, his way to try to get away, a keen naturalist, he’s making the best of a bad situation, I like wildness, forklift trucks to do her goddamned hair, the keys to his trust fund, salving a scrap of conscience, a bit of a tightfist, the money is running out, nuts and fruit, he doesn’t want to get too fat, tadpoles, between becoming what he’s going to be, the aunt croaks, he will never,
on one memorable occasion went to the length of bestowing on me a whole pot of some outlandish mulberry-coloured jelly that had been duplicated in his term’s supplies. In the exuberance of my gratitude I promised to spend the next half-term holiday with him at his aunt’s house.
expensive madeira, she sounds like a Lovecraft,
She confided in us her views on a theme vaguely occupying at the moment, I suppose, all our minds. “We have barbarous institutions, and so must put up, I suppose, with a never-ending procession of fools—of fools ad infinitum. Marriage, Mr. Withers, was instituted in the privacy of a garden; sub Rosa, as it were. Civilization flaunts it in the glare of day. The dull marry the poor; the rich the effete; and so our New Jerusalem is peopled with naturals, plain and coloured, at either end. I detest folly; I detest still more (if I must be frank, dear Arthur), mere cleverness. Mankind has simply become a tailless host of indistinctive animals. We should never have taken to Evolution, Mr. Withers. ‘Natural Selection!’—little gods and fishes!—the deaf for the dumb. We should have used our brains—intellectual pride, the ecclesiastics call it. And by brains I mean—what do I mean, Alice?—I mean, my dear child”—and she laid two gross fingers on Alice’s narrow sleeve—”I mean courage. Consider it, Arthur. I read that the scientific world is once more beginning to be afraid of spiritual agencies. Spiritual agencies that tap, and actually float, bless their hearts! I think just one more of those mulberries—thank you.
sounding like Thomas Ligotti, everything sucks, the trap of pessimism, a certain truth to it, justification for all manner of barbarity and horror, survival of the fittest, neoliberal morality, atmosphere building, the deaf for the dumb, intellectual pride, what do I mean Alice?, I mean courage, spiritual agencies, an attack on spiritualism, worst wedding toast ever, worst host ever, my child brother died in it, sleep well, how big a deal, another theory, one more of those mulberries, bastard squirrels, almost all vegetation, pop goes the weasel, Babylonian mythology, silkworms, death and rebirth, they spin their own shroud, Seaton should run away, the horse, she never will or she never would, she knows everything we’re doing, is she telepathic?, does she know the boy is buying rat poison?, cages and boxes, a box with a worm in it, role reversal, a switch, something strange happens near the end, off to tea, she calls him Arthur, is that you Arthur?, the ghost of Arthur?, get out, she doesn’t know, she killed him but she doesn’t even know, a voracious appetite, getting psychically fatter, she’s lost her source of food, she’s dying, conversing with the dead, still floating around the house, nothing to feed off anymore, not wholly embodied, that all seeing eye, seeing into other people’s minds, is he first in his class?, maybe if you apply the rules of science it’s almost like she’s in a superposition, the pile of clothes on the floor, the shoes two meters apart pointing at each other, a bundle of clothes, she’s in her room and she’s not in her room, Schrödinger’s Aunt, she’s just a human being, this story does both, a horror story, she’s a vampiric-witch who can talk to ghosts, The Terrible Old Man by H.P. Lovecraft, Spanish gold, easy pickings, bottled souls, old shipmates, three new bottles, his yard, moss covered totemic gods from the South Seas, Smithers Withers Johnson, not wholly of this dimension, why she’s so weird, an alien trapped on Earth, she knows she’s a shit, he does the exact same stuff as she does, not of this earth, a tragedy, the whole takeaway, feeling a little guilt, a life tragedy, nothing but a trap, you’re either a feeder or you’re the food, not an Oscar Wilde, outside of society, so masterfully put together, another way of going, she’s mean because she gives him the small room, who made the room full of cages and boxes, playing goth music all night, all about interpretation, a reflection of me (being in a cage), interesting parallels, a black widow spider, Wayne doesn’t buy that she’s innocent, in league with the devil, what happened to her brother?, a theory for Mr Jim Moon, The Terror Of The Blue John Gap by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, mother of pearl, a monster in the mine, a letter Seaton, Samuel Seaton, the painting on the wall, the one with the eye is S. Seaton, retelling it as a modern story, he has a VIC 20!, security cameras in every room, we have the same kinds of issues and problems today, most manifest in her awareness of what she’s doing, self-conscious, Alice is almost consciousless, did she move away?, who did she escape?, a weird race of two, the deep one crown in a chest of jewlery, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, trying to find a place to put my sympathy, they’re screwed individually and in combination, All Hallows by Walter de la Mare, a sour church, Blackwood and Machenesque, a BBC Radio abridgement, the story becomes insane without pauses,
you know your space, a powerfully interesting way of writing, layering in themes that are almost ineffable, just words, so much is the way its told, a liberated thoughtful lady, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, occult skill, charged with mockery and bitterness, ruined, processing through a filter of hate, began to play the opening bars of Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata. The piano was old and woolly. She played without music. The lamplight was rather dim. The moonbeams from the window lay across the keys. Her head was in shadow. And whether it was simply due to her personality or to some really occult skill in her playing I cannot say: I only know that she gravely and deliberately set herself to satirize the beautiful music. It brooded on the air, disillusioned, charged with mockery and bitterness. I stood at the window; far down the path I could see the white figure glimmering in that pool of colourless light. A few faint stars shone, and still that amazing woman behind me dragged out of the unwilling keys her wonderful grotesquerie of youth, and love, and beauty. It came to an end. I knew the player was watching me. “Please, please, go on!” I murmured, without turning. “Please go on playing, Miss Seaton.”
No answer was returned to my rather fluttering sarcasm, but I knew in some indefinite way that I was being acutely scrutinized, when suddenly there followed a procession of quiet, plaintive chords which broke at last softly into the hymn, A Few More Years Shall Roll.
what significance did the hymn have for her?
I confess it held me spellbound. There is a wistful, strained, plangent pathos in the tune; but beneath those masterly old hands it cried softly and bitterly the solitude and desperate estrangement of the world. Arthur and his lady-love vanished from my thoughts. No one could put into a rather hackneyed old hymn-tune such an appeal who had never known the meaning of the words. Their meaning, anyhow, isn’t commonplace.
I turned very cautiously and glanced at the musician. She was leaning forward a little over the keys, so that at the approach of my cautious glance she had but to turn her face into the thin flood of moonlight for every feature to become distinctly visible. And so, with the tune abruptly terminated, we steadfastly regarded one another, and she broke into a chuckle of laughter.
engaging with him like an adult, the clothes of a man, his coat is too big for him, so grateful for the invitation, I really appreciate it because I’m dying, the paranoid literal ghost haunted victim of an in-league-with-the-devil-aunt, nothing more than a coffin, my brother William died, there’s hundreds of eyes like that in the house, I shan’t stand it much longer, did Seaton commit suicide?, all my plans are falling into place, the old mulberry jelly trick, we are told he has lavish pocket money, that would be in character, so lonely, the bangle as an amulet against her, Alice Outram, some good stuff, a now lost medieval village in Derbyshire, early 1900s travel, piggy back rides and hiding in closets, candles, a fascinating story, Seaton is definitely a liar, you were supposed to best man, more on the ball, creeped by the aunt, you hypocrite, a mismatch between emotions and what people say, being clever and arch, snarky, is it about control or just being playful, so much free-rangeness, allowed bullying to flourish, snapchat bullying, the mistakes of perception that you have in childhood, a confession story, somewhere in there Withers is having an argument with Seaton, some guilt, mistreating the old bird, what she says, calculated cruelty, emotionally abusive, emotionally neglectful, no sexual or physical abuse, she never lies to him, she never gaslights him, that never happened, you’re wrong, she demeans him, she knows everything that I think and what I do, he’s a squashed human, squashed at school, victimness, uninterested in his emotional being, baby monkeys, the monkey Withers, a monkey in with a tadpole, very subversive, what is the question, what is this story?, not fantasy, not science fiction, definitely weird fiction, vampire is stronger than ghosts (in here), prehistoricism, eternal evil, Silurians (Doctor Who reference), Doggerland, it feels so Lovecrafty because of all the fish, he is doomed, The Rats In The Walls, The Moon Bog, The Grove Of Ashtaroth by John Buchan,
And again I paused irresolutely a few paces further on. It was not fancy, merely a foolish apprehension of what the raw-boned butcher might “think” that prevented my going back to see if I could find Seaton’s grave in the benighted churchyard. There was precious little use in pottering about in the muddy dark, merely to discover where he was buried. And yet I felt a little uneasy. My rather horrible thought was that, so far as I was concerned—one of his extremely few friends—he had never been much better than “buried” in my mind.
dark!, a dark philosophy,
I was not a man of the world, nor was I much flattered in my stiff and dullish way of looking at things by being called one; and I could answer her without the least hesitation.
“I don’t think, Miss Seaton, I’m much of a judge of character. She’s very charming.”
“I think I prefer dark women.”
“And why? Consider, Mr. Withers; dark hair, dark eyes, dark cloud, dark night, dark vision, dark death, dark grave, dark!”
she’s goth, yo,
Perhaps the climax would have rather thrilled Seaton, but I was too thick-skinned. “I don’t know much about all that,” I answered rather pompously. “Broad daylight’s difficult enough for most of us.”
The SFFaudio Podcast #492 – Morella by Edgar Allan Poe – read by the great and powerful Wayne June. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (17 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants include Jesse, Paul Weimer, Mr Jim Moon, and Wayne June!
Talked about on today’s show:
A Tale, The Southern Literary Messenger, April 1835, Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, November 1839, you will not believe how Lovecraftian it is, very Edgar Allan Poe, The Thing On The Doorstep, Hypnos, turns of phrase, Cool Air, shall I say it was gelatinous?, The Statement Of Randolph Carter, the moment of Morella’s decease, its tenement of clay, an interest in a woman, there’s nothing more romantic than the death of a beautiful woman, The Philosophy Of Composition, Berenice, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, Elenora, Morella, berry-nice, Ligeia, a ghost, I’m gonna burn the house down, The Raven, crack the house open, the movie adaptations, Roger Corman’s Tales Of Terror (1962), Vincent Price, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Haunted Palace is an H.P. Lovecraft story, redeeming value, interesting, shedding what doesn’t happen in the story, what is the name of the main character, the unnamed narrator, get shocked, the narrator is passive participant in the events around him, active in his twisted perspective, an unreliable narrator, statements based on assumptions, The Black Cat narrator is 100% a liar, a victim, he’s nuts, a weird lifestyle, a weird lifestyle, reading German philosophy, this text is hard to read, a comic book version, an adaptation of the 1962 movie, Amicus anthology film, Elenora, Leonora, “hey you, child!”, “my beloved”, Gideon Locke, more like the The Fall Of The House Of Usher without the friend, The Haunting Of Morella (1990), Countess Elizabeth Báthory, bathing in maiden’s blood, lots of nudity, lots of lesbianism, scared topless, Busty Coeds vs. Lusty Cheerleaders, Gothic romanticism, Richard Corben’s adaptation, 19th century education, familiarity with Plato’s Symposium, personal identity, a nodding acquaintance with Fichte’s accused pantheism, Pythagoreans, Wayne did so much research on this story, it’s no wonder that people don’t get it, this is amazing, its beautiful, high level vocab words and giant sentences, it is creepy too, the epigraph, in vino veritas, in praise of Eros, he didn’t find her sexy, erotic love, a phenomenon capable of vanquishing man’s natural fear of death, conquering death itself, preserving her consciousness in reincarnation, forbidden books, those Pressberg chicks, the mere dross of early German literature, Locke, John Locke, Poe says: “Wow, this is some heavy shit!”, a witch, a lich, a way to renew life, the motifs that are in here, none of this is translatable to film in a non-commercial style, plant growth, the flowers and the vine, the hemlock and the cypress, persistent, frequently planted in graveyards, funeral decoration foliage, The Tree by H.P. Lovecraft, an olive tree of oddly repellent shape, autumn, a metaphor of renewal, there’s a lot to it, life after death, her disappearance from the tomb, as Morella lost life her daughter takes her first breath, a sense that Morella is not evil but rather she is mistaken, not addressed, the all importance of personal identity and survival of the consciousness, replace or become, the self-same person as her daughter?, displacing her daughter’s identity?, theological ideas, Catholic dogma, morally gray, light grey, dark evil, Poe was a reviser, laid vs. placed, tinged with tainted, subtle polishing, these vs. those, this and that, a way of pushing things away, a whole omitted section to do with Catholicism, a rainbow from the firmament, Sancta Maria, it totally changes the story, that makes her a monster, pushed into the evil camp, comparison to Mary, Hail Mary (1985), your daughter, her daughter, parthenogenesis, Jesus is a girl dressed as a guy, she looks identical to her mother, making a clone, your own genetics, a fantasy story, a science fiction story, the Catholic stuff distracts, a failed experiment, it really changes the tenor of the story, The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, health problems with the clones, the naming, the true name, speaking the name breaks the spell and kills the child, Wilbur Whateley style, a tale of possession, Doctor John Dee, philosophy, alchemy, why is he doing that?, a symbolic story, how hard grief is, seeing a dead relative in the next generation, a symbolist story rather than a Gothic one, mysticism vs. science, Lovecraft as a science fiction writer, instead of characterizing her as a witch he characterizes her as advanced arcane philosophy and science, lower as in closer to the ground, what is identity?, how he talks about his daughter, two lustrums (ten years), my child and my love, now he’s the father, a mother figure, guiding his hand in his reading, enkindling and disquisitions, he become that for her, like Alia the brother of Muadib from Frank Herbert’s Dune, imbued with the mind of a reverend mother, someone much wiser than she, Annabelle Lee, there’s no visualization of their home, they have their own family tomb, the black slabs of our ancestral vault, baptism/christening, a cemetery connected to a church, fate, like flitting shadows, the wind in the firmament, a very Poe-ism, a semi-manorial estate, a big library, an isolated or cloistered life, Miranda, The Tempest, sexy times, it has to be symbolic, a witch or a litch, hot vs. beautiful, curly black hair, a broad white forehead, to encompass all those brains, her erudition made her happy, the art in Wayne June’s YouTube video, a wild interpretation, what if this is a gender flipped story?, what if Morella is Poe, he was a wooer, wooing with poems, devotion, vocab, she represents his respect for erudition, deep thought and philosophy, immortality, 178 years later, a powerful set of images, oblique quick references, losing his fascination with Morella, being fearful of Morella’s studies, the promised land, Hinnon became Ge-Henna, sacrifices to Baal and Moloch, a huge oven, not milk and honey but burning babies, Heaven and Hell, son of Dagon, God’s not the only god around, as to the nature of our studies, terrible studies, reluctant fascination, Warren always dominated me and sometimes I feared him, firm and fat in their tombs for a thousand years, some heavy shit, where is this text from?, when is he telling the story in relation to the events?, is he telling his doctor, I am writing this under an appreciable mental strain, The Hound, an unequal partnership, the whole Poe as Morella thing, strange meaning, like Poe and Lovecraft’s intertextuality, full of references, a deep dive to uncork meaning, the pinnacle of the educational stuff, this is an audiobook story!, then then, when pouring over the forbidden pages, a Roof Bear Morella drawing, inhabiting him, a forbidden spirit, her cold hand, rake up from the ashes of a dead philosophy, hour after hour I would linger at the music of her voice, those two unearthly tones, reading like a woman and slowly the voice changes to that of Wayne June, two unearthly tones, too unearthly, so far from the Earth, hypnotizing him, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Parasite, voodoo town, Jamaica, it’s a whole thing, Metzengerstein, Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar, how to get girls by hypnosis, 3D glasses, hernia supports, that’s how Poe gets girls, the girl does that to him, he’s gender flipped it, the object of mourning rather of action, disabuse Jesse of this, Jim’s up, Jesse convinces Mr Jim Moon of his crazy theory, hard to get, The Cask Of Amontillado, The Masque Of The Red Death, so straightforward and so beautiful, adding poems, The Conqueror Worm, Poe was canny with getting sales, booze doesn’t buy itself, paper to write to girls, The Island Of The Fay, The Science Of Kissing!! by Charles Peterson, super metoo movement, it’s great to be Turkish because they really know how to kiss, as practical as that, foreseen to foretold, what demon urged me, ebb and flow, the repeat, horrible horrible death, knell to fell, a tiny little polish, an iterative process of refining, the definite version, all in Greek, pronouncing the Greek phonetically, a maniac on style and form, The Philosophy Of Composition, that certain sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain thrilled me, except for Hawthorne, Poe’s nickname was Tomahawk Poe, hated by his peers (those who didn’t admire him), collected a lot of scalps, “Itself, by itself solely, one everlastingly, and single.”, the ability to establish personal… identity, what the French call an orgasm, la petite mort, Aristophanes, hermaphrodite, lesbians belong to this category, the different kinds of attraction, nothing is off limits for the Greeks, wanting to grow together, Plato’s theory, being a hermaphrodite sphere was cool, love and eros, the beast with two backs, why we seek a soul mate, my better half, what is the it in “itself”?, if you achieve perfection of appreciation of beauty you will be unifying your existence with that which is the beautiful, she has a beautiful mind (but not face or body), she lives only in the regard of the narrator, Poe is immortal but only as long as there are people to read his stuff, denuded, existence is not continued, sad and sad about the lost of a loved one, the ghost comes back and says “it’s okay”, a suicide note, this is why I did it, Poe loves to play with the formatting, The Oval Portrait, how the narrator came to be wounded, it doesn’t add to the symbolism, its a beautiful message, the events are less important than the creation of that beautiful images, undiscussed details, up to the reader to decide, what demon urged me to breathe that sound?, literal?, daemon, a personal spirit, his muse, a program running in the background, the Greeks knew it all,
What fiend spoke from the recesses of my soul, when, amid those dim aisles, and in the silence of the night, I whispered within the ears of the holy man the syllables—Morella? What more than fiend convulsed the features of my child, and overspread them with hues of death, as starting at that scarcely audible sound, she turned her glassy eyes from the earth to heaven, and, falling prostrate on the black slabs of our ancestral vault, responded—”I am here!”
what a shocker!, she had her eyes on the Earth, falling backwards, ending in the last seconds, what happened to the body?, a stupid ghost story, the vegetation, planted from a seed, growing up, the roots going deep into the cellar, who knows what horrible juices they suck, as the second Morella has grown, the end of the cycle, she’s a lich who failed, the new body lives until the point that she’s named, women jr., Ivanka, a secondary world society, the right name for her, a terrible dad, she lives longer but she doesn’t have a full life, oops she died, foiled again, given her another name, Dude, you have to name me something else, a lich story, a fabulous story, how concise it is, this much work, very few, very dense, so effective, exactly as long as it has to be, Gothic romance,
German gothic fiction is usually described by the term Schauerroman (“shudder novel”). However, genres of Gespensterroman/Geisterroman (“ghost novel”), Räuberroman (“robber novel”), and Ritterroman (“chivalry novel”) also frequently share plot and motifs with the British “gothic novel”
a nun in New York who wrote about haunted castles on the Rhine river, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Undine, Lorelei, mere dross, worthless, rubber, dregs, those mystical writings, her favourite and constant study, the philosophy of the day, Shelling, the dross of philosophy, presuppositions, authority, it goes against the Ship of Theseus, every cell and molocule and atom is replaced, eating and breathing and pooping changes, carbon dating, when the ship returns home no part of it is the same piece but all the pieces resemble the same thing, attains or regains, like Plato would have us do in the Realm of the Forms (The Republic), suddenly she gets that last little piece of the puzzle, overload, you get the impression she died right then and there at her baptism, the exact wording, they’re just rich, murmured ever more, the opposite of the adaptations, a different sort of feel, her from the moment of birth or earlier, the breath thing is so important, spirit, undfeatable, a thesis for the ages!