Reading, Short And Deep #157 – The Cosy Room by Arthur Machen


Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #157

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Cosy Room by Arthur Machen

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Cosy Room was first published in T.P.’s Weekly, May 1908.

Podcast feed

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

LibriVox: Fear by Achmed Abdullah

SFFaudio Online Audio

Wow! I’m loving this story, as narrated by John Feaster. Sez Feaster of his narration “it’s more a performance than a reading” and that’s absolutely true – Feaster seems to be taking the events of the plot very personally, and that lends power to what is the sort of twistily fantastic tale you’d see on something like Alfred Hitchcock Presents. And yet, Achmed Abdullah’s pulpy writing seems damned good too!

And, if even half the stories about the author, as detailed over on the Wikipedia entry for him, are true, he may be one of the most fascinating writers I’d never heard of.

Alexander Nicholayevitch Romanoff (aka Achmed Abdullah) was, apparently, a Russian born relative of the last Czar, the son of an Afghan princess, an Academy Award nominated scriptwriter, an officer in the British, Indian, and Turkish armies (serving in India, Afghanistan, Tibet, Africa, China, and Turkey), as well as being a Muslim, a Catholic, and a spy!

By Achmed Abdullah; Read by John Feaster
1 |MP3| – Approx. 22 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: June 19, 2010
First published in Detective Story Magazine, 1919.

[Thanks to Julie Hoverson for the recommendation!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant

Aural Noir: Online Audio

Sometimes titled “The Diamond Necklace” this story is a 3,000 word short story that is often upheld as a tale at, or very near, the pinnacle of ironic fiction. Guy de Maupassant’s short story La Parure is usually given the English title “The Necklace” – despite “La Parure” literally translating into English as “The Finery”.

The Necklace has been reprinted hundreds of times, in books, textbooks and newspapers. It has been collected volumes of “mystery or detective” stories – which is pretty damn odd considering that it has neither a detective nor a mystery in it. And stranger still, it has been anthologized in collections with titles like Masterpieces Of Terror And The Unknown and Isaac Asimov Presents The Best Horror And Supernatural Of The 19th Century.

How does this modest little tale, featuring a Parisian couple, and their acquaintances, a story with no supernatural elements at all qualify as a “supernatural” tale?

How can a story, like The Necklace, in which nobody dies, or is even physically injured, be considered ‘a tale of terror or horror’?

Perhaps the mystery lies not within such questions, but instead with one’s interpretation. Perhaps, just as with the translation from one language to another, there are kinds of horrors, kinds of terrors, indeed kinds of fates which can only be classified as a moral horror, a social terror, or one of life’s little mysteries that leaves us asking questions like the ones above.

Guy de Maupassant has created a story for the ages, a mystery story in which you, the reader, are the detective. Your job is to solve the case of…

LibriVoxThe Necklace (La Parure)
By Guy de Maupassant; Read by Patti Cunningham
1 |MP3| – Approx. 19 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 21, 2009
Mathilde is a beautiful bride of a mid-level Parisian bureaucrat. Her natural elegance and grace seem somewhat out of place with her husband’s junior position. This is the story of a beautiful woman who works hard and gets everything she wants. First published in the February 17, 1884 issue of Le Gaulois (a French daily newspaper).

Here’s the cover illustration (artist unknown) for La Parure from the October 8, 1893 issue of Gil Blas (a Parisian literary magazine):

The Necklace (La Parure) illustration from Gil Blas, 1893

The most evocative illustrations I’ve seen for The Necklace are by Gord Rayner- they accompany an uncredited radio style play adaptation (for four actors) in the 1960s Canadian textbook entitled Sense And Feeling edited by R.J. Scott. Here’s the 12 page play |PDF| and here are the illustrations:

THE NECKLACE - Illustration by Gordon Rayner from SENSE AND FEELING

THE NECKLACE - Illustration by Gordon Rayner from SENSE AND FEELING

THE NECKLACE - Illustration by Gordon Rayner from SENSE AND FEELING


Here’s a wonderful radio dramatization that keeps most of the tale intact:

Favorite Story Favorite Story – The Necklace
Adapted from the story by Guy de Maupassant; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 27 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: KFI
Broadcast: October 7, 1947
Heather Angel … Mathilde Loisel
Hans Conried … Pierre Loisel

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Memory Palace: The Mad Gasser Of Matoon and Edgar Allan Poe’s death-day

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Memory Palace with Nate DiMeoOne of the cool things about podcasting is that it’s old enought now to have developed it’s own distinct ethos. I’ve mentioned my favorite history podcast on SFFaudio before, it’s called Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. Carlin takes the dramatic events of real history and makes them into a story – an amazing history story, told by an enthusiast. Another program I’ve long enjoyed is much more frequent than Carlin’s slowly releasing podcast. It follows essentially the same formula, but delivers the history in tiny five minute (or so) doses. Here are the most recent two podcasts from the feed of Nate DiMeo’s The Memory Palace.

a gas gas gas
By Nate DiMeo
1 |MP3| Approx. 6 Minutes [HISTORY STORYTELLING]
Podcaster: The Memory Palace
Podcast: October 28, 2009
This show tells the story of “The Mad Gasser of Mattoon.”

this ungainly fowl
By Nate DiMeo
1 |MP3| Approx. 5 Minutes [HISTORY STORYTELLING]
Podcaster: The Memory Palace
Podcast: October 16, 2009
This show tells what happened to Edgar Allan Poe on his death-day.

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Posted by Jesse Willis