Author Topic: PseudoPod 648: The Canal  (Read 479 times)

Bdoomed

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PseudoPod 648: The Canal
« on: May 20, 2019, 09:17:12 PM »
PseudoPod 648: The Canal

Author: Everil Worrell
Narrator: Scott Campbell
Host: Alasdair Stuart

“The Canal” was first published in Weird Tales, December 1927 and was later made into a TV episode on Rod Serling’s popular series, Night Gallery.


Show Notes:

A surprisingly in depth look at the origin of the Campbell quote Alasdair uses: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/05/23/campbell-treasure/



Past the sleeping city the river sweeps; along its left bank the old canal creeps.

I did not intend that to be poetry, although the scene is poetic—somberly, gruesomely poetic, like the poems of Poe. I know it too well—I have walked too often over the grass-grown path beside the reflections of black trees and tumble-down shacks and distant factory chimneys in the sluggish waters that moved so slowly, and ceased to move at all.





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« Last Edit: November 16, 2019, 03:14:46 AM by Bdoomed »
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Fenrix

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Re: PseudoPod 648: The Canal
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2019, 02:54:19 AM »
I might just have to take exception to the impression that our protagonist was just an edgelord. It seemed that she hit him with Renfield thrall pretty early, and that colored a lot of his obsession. There's a lot of interesting bits to unpack separating his trallish obsession from his privilege, along with considering the source of her loathing of him.

Also, I wonder how much of the perception of the character may have depended on which version of the text Alasdair read. I just went through the cleaned document we had that was easy to post, and noticed several of the more compelling bits of writing were missing. For example, this paragraph was in the magazine (and narration) but not in the text:

"With a start, I realized the nature of my thoughts, and for an instant lost all thought in surprize. Never in my twenty-two years had I felt love before. My fancies had been otherwise directed—a moss-grown, fallen gravestone was a dearer thing to me to contemplate than the fairest face in all the world. Yet, surely, what I felt now was love!"

That bolded sentence above (emphasis mine) shrinks a predisposition while being so delightfully goth.

Here's another:

“One or two nights more and you will walk beside me,” I called to her. “I have watched the water at noon, and it hardly moves at all. I threw a scrap of paper into the canal, and it whirled and swung a little where a thin skim of oil lay on the water down there—oil from the big, dirty city you are well out of. But though I watched and watched, I could not see it move downward at all. Perhaps tomorrow night, or the night after, you will walk on the bank with me. I hope it will be clear and moonlight; and I will be near enough to see you clearly—as well as you seem always to see me in darkness or moonlight, equally well. And perhaps I will kiss you—but not unless you let me."

That paragraph is also missing, and that last sentence has a distinct impact on how the protagonist is perceived.

I guess I have some text cleanup to do and look at where the versions deviated. I am curious to see what editor trimmed up this story and when, affecting those subtle but critical changes.
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Fenrix

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Re: PseudoPod 648: The Canal
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2019, 03:53:19 PM »
Another thing that occurred to me while revisiting this episode was the interesting snapshot of the shift in the landscape and development of the city as canals are on the way out and automobiles and the internal combustion engine are on the way in to manage transport. This cultural shift and the destruction it wreaks is reflected by the story of our vampire trapped in the canal.

Digging into the history of the document, both the original and reprint that appeared in Weird Tales match the version that Scott narrated. The abridged text appeared in an anthology published a decade or so ago. I'm not sure when that abidgement happened between 1935 and 2009, but there is prose excised throughout the document to the tune of about 2,000 words. Another delightfully goth line excised in the abridged version:

"A graveyard at night was to me a charming place for a stroll and meditation."

The abridged version completely changes the ending, too. While I appreciate some of the grammatical fixes, I wouldn't have chosen the ones that altered the stylistic choices, and certainly not major plot points. Particularly considering these changes were likely not made after discussing with the author. I've updated the text on our page to match the original version that appeared in Weird Tales.
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Sgarre1

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Re: PseudoPod 648: The Canal
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2019, 07:36:56 PM »
Good catch - there's a likelihood that those edits came from the editor of the anthology at the time, possibly for space consideration (and if not, probably with a rather dismissive attitude towards the source). Which, if the latter, bugs me - because while I believe editing is important, once the work's been published than that is the text the author signed off on.

Yeah, I love all the geographic/urban outlands detail as well!

Marlboro

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Re: PseudoPod 648: The Canal
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2019, 09:37:18 PM »
Just a heads up: the link posted above goes to PseudoPod 647: The Algorithms for Love.

Bdoomed

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Re: PseudoPod 648: The Canal
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2019, 03:14:57 AM »
Good catch! Fixed
I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?