It’s that time of year again: time to gather round for a bone-chilling storytime. I’m so sad not to be joining you all at Lotties’ Lounge, Tippe & Drague, Floating Bridge, The Palace Theatre, Capitol Cider, The Pine Box, or any of the other wonderful venues where we’ve done ‘Ales from the Crypt over the past years. This year we’ll drink alone, but allow me to read you something scary on each of the 13 nights between now and Hallowe’en.
The House of the Nightmare, by Edward Lucas White. A car accident, a dark lonely road, a seemingly abandoned house, and a strange boy. Recorded July 2020.
The Red Lodge, by H. Russell Wakefield. A man moves into an old house with his family and begins to suspect that it is haunted. Recorded live, October 2017.
The Red Room, by H.G. Wells. Do you dare to spend just one night alone, in the Red Room? Recorded September 2020. Continue reading “13 Tales for 13 Nights of Halloween”
It was amazing, astounding, this loss of communication with the world. It was exactly as if the world had ceased, been blotted out. …With the coming of the Scarlet Death the world fell apart, absolutely, irretrievably.
– The Scarlet Plague, by Jack London
Just a handful of years after the novella quoted above came out, the world was plunged into a global pandemic that claimed over 50 million lives. Jack London didn’t live to see it, but he had recently witnessed the ominous return of the Black Death, a startling outbreak of bubonic plague in turn-of-the-century San Francisco that is recounted in David Randall’s Black Death at the Golden Gate. What’s more, he had the foresight to know that worse – much worse – was to come:
Now this is the strange thing about these germs. There were always new ones coming to live in men’s bodies. …the more men there were, the more thickly were they packed together on the earth, the more new kinds of germs became diseases. There were warnings. Soldervetzsky, as early as 1929, told the bacteriologists that they had no guaranty against some new disease, a thousand times more deadly than any they knew, arising and killing by the hundreds of millions and even by the billion.
While not all of the predictions in London’s vision of America circa 2013 ring true – personal dirigibles, anyone? – his pandemic prophecies have only gained force. In H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, humankind is saved by micro-organisms; in London’s The Scarlet Plague, these same germs turn on us, and almost win. Looking back from the year 2073 on the devastation, an old man attempts to teach his grandsons how to relight the torch of civilization, with the aid of that most precious tool: books! Continue reading “Pandemic Post-Apocalyptic Podcast”