Escape Artists
September 24, 2018, 08:48:59 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1]
  Print  
Author Topic: Pseudopod 366: To Build A Fire  (Read 6175 times)
Bdoomed
Pseudopod Tiger
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4858


Mmm. Tiger.


« on: December 28, 2013, 02:17:42 AM »

Pseudopod 366: To Build A Fire

by Jack London

“To Build A Fire” originally published in The Century Magazine in August, 1908. It is an oft-cited example of the Naturalist movement that portrays the conflict of man vs. nature. It is also reflects what London learned in the Yukon Territory. It can be read here.

JACK LONDON (1876-1916) was an American writer best known for outdoor adventures like THE CALL OF THE WILD, many of them permeated with a sense of terror and the sublime. As a young man, London dropped out of the University of California to tramp the country, sail the seas, and brave the hardships of Alaska’s Klondike gold rush. Much of his fiction celebrates a brawny life force; his heroes triumph over the extremes of physical adversity through raw strength and will, or else they succumb, in the end, to the pitiless forces of nature. London eventually became a convert to socialism and, in THE IRON HEEL (1907), depicted a 1930s America ruled by a fascist dictatorship. Yet unquestionably his most fiendish villains are the shadowy revolutionary cult in THE MINIONS OF MIDAS (1901), who, preaching an extreme form of Social Darwinism, attempt to extort millions of dollars from the nation’s industrialists by the random murder of scores of ordinary citizens. Mankind, in London’s fiction, can be every bit as pitiless as nature..

Your reader this week – Wilson Fowlie – has been getting more and more into voice work ever since 2008, when he read his first story for Podcastle. He recently lost his full-time job, so he’s actively looking for paid voice work. If you like the way Wilson tells a story, snap him up quick! And if you’re in the Vancouver, Canada area – or even if you just love a good show chorus – check out The Maple Leaf Singers, the group he directs. You can find them at their own website or their Facebook page.



“At twelve o’clock the day was at its brightest. Yet the sun was too far south on its winter journey to clear the horizon. The bulge of the earth intervened between it and Henderson Creek, where the man walked under a clear sky at noon and cast no shadow. At half-past twelve, to the minute, he arrived at the forks of the creek. He was pleased at the speed he had made. If he kept it up, he would certainly be with the boys by six. He unbuttoned his jacket and shirt and drew forth his lunch. The action consumed no more than a quarter of a minute, yet in that brief moment the numbness laid hold of the exposed fingers. He did not put the mitten on, but, instead, struck the fingers a dozen sharp smashes against his leg. Then he sat down on a snow-covered log to eat. The sting that followed upon the striking of his fingers against his leg ceased so quickly that he was startled. He had had no chance to take a bite of biscuit. He struck the fingers repeatedly and returned them to the mitten, baring the other hand for the purpose of eating. He tried to take a mouthful, but the ice-muzzle prevented. He had forgotten to build a fire and thaw out. He chuckled at his foolishness, and as he chuckled he noted the numbness creeping into the exposed fingers. Also, he noted that the stinging which had first come to his toes when he sat down was already passing away. He wondered whether the toes were warm or numb. He moved them inside the moccasins and decided that they were numb.

He pulled the mitten on hurriedly and stood up. He was a bit frightened. He stamped up and down until the stinging returned into the feet. It certainly was cold, was his thought. That man from Sulphur Creek had spoken the truth when telling how cold it sometimes got in the country. And he had laughed at him at the time! That showed one must not be too sure of things. There was no mistake about it, it was cold. He strode up and down, stamping his feet and threshing his arms, until reassured by the returning warmth.”



Listen to this week's Pseudopod.
Logged

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?
Varda
Rebound
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2710


Definitely not an android.


« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2013, 10:58:44 AM »

Has this gone live on the iTunes feed yet? I've been checking in and refreshing since last night, but the episode doesn't show up as available for download. Sad
Logged

Medical Microfiction: Stories About Science
http://rckjones.wordpress.com
Bdoomed
Pseudopod Tiger
Moderator
*****
Posts: 4858


Mmm. Tiger.


« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2013, 03:45:31 PM »

Not getting it here either, so you're not alone.  In the meantime, it can be played from the website or the link at the bottom of this episode post Smiley
Logged

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?
Sgarre1
Editor
*****
Posts: 1184


"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2013, 05:26:51 PM »

I think I have the answer from ITunes

"Dear podcast provider,

Submit a Podcast will be temporarily unavailable from Saturday, December 21, to Friday, December 27, 2013.

During that time, Submit a Podcast will not be accessible and you will not be able to submit new podcasts. Processing of metadata changes to existing podcasts will be delayed.

If you have any additional questions, contact us."

So it seems like there'll be a short lag before it shows up.
Logged
Varda
Rebound
Hipparch
******
Posts: 2710


Definitely not an android.


« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2013, 02:23:49 PM »

I hate to be that person, but just an FYI, this one still hasn't hit iTunes, at least for me.

I know I could just listen to it on the 'site, but for some reason, I really fancy listening to this guy freeze to death on my next run, probably because misery loves company. Grin
Logged

Medical Microfiction: Stories About Science
http://rckjones.wordpress.com
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2013, 11:50:57 AM »

I've heard this one somewhere before!  I can't remember when.  As the story was starting out, I was thinking "Hey, this is the one where the guy builds a fire under a tree and the snow falls down onto the fire."  Maybe high school English?  Probably sophmore year.  There was one year where our teacher Mr. Mutchelknaus (Mr. M to everybody) had us read for almost an entire semester stories where people were murdered or died and I think this might've been one of them.  I heard some of the other people in my class say that as though it were a bad thing--I had no problem with it.

Anyway, well read by Wilson, good story.  I can see the hesitation about the racist word, though I think that London used it because people recognized what plant he was referring to without much thought.  I can see why EA gave Wilson the option to leave it out, and the story would've been just fine without it, but I think Wilson made the right choice--though London was a product of his time, I don't think it's good to filter out parts of the writing that would bother people today.  I think it's better to let them stand or fall on their own merits.

I'm sometimes not a huge fan of man vs. nature as a source of conflict, but I thought this one pulled it off well.  I pretty much figured that he was going to die from the beginning since the narration made it colossally clear how stupid he was being for being out there at all.  I might've felt worse for him if he didn't treat his dog so badly.  The attempt to kill the animal for its warmth I can  perhaps forgive as a desperate lizard-brain last-ditch survival effort.  But the throwing of the dog to test for water paths beneath the snow... not so much--he could've thought of other ways to test that.  In my opinion, when you take in a dog you are making yourself responsible for its fate one way or the other and the dog gives you its loyalty in return.  This was a betrayal of that loyalty for really not much return.

Today in Minnesota it was -7 when I took the dogs out to potty, and there is a high temperature forecasted of 0 degrees with a high windchill of -10.  That's about the coldest that I generally expect the temps to reach EVERY year, though there are years where I've felt colder, so I listened to this story as I was trying to warm up my frigid car.  I think that -25 is the coldest temperature that I've experienced.  I think that -75 is the coldest windchill that I've experienced when I lived on the plains of South Dakota where nothing slows down the wind--and at that windchill everything was a matter of staying indoors as much as possible, covering all the skin that you possibly can, and scurrying from heat source to heat source. 
Logged
Wilson Fowlie
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1467


WWW
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2014, 02:07:20 AM »

Just as an FYI, I notice that the file isn't available on the main feed, either.

Not knowing the technical details of how the feeds work, I don't know if that's a result of not being able to submit to iTunes, but in case it isn't, I thought someone would like to know.
Logged

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham
Unblinking
Sir Postsalot
Hipparch
******
Posts: 8660



WWW
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2014, 09:26:16 AM »

Just as an FYI, I notice that the file isn't available on the main feed, either.

Not knowing the technical details of how the feeds work, I don't know if that's a result of not being able to submit to iTunes, but in case it isn't, I thought someone would like to know.

I was able to download it from the main page on the Pseudopod site, if that helps debug at all.
Logged
Dave
Peltast
***
Posts: 128



WWW
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2014, 10:35:30 PM »

Ok, someone help me out, I listened to the whole thing waiting for the slur and completely missed it... although I did notice him use "womanish" as an epithet... was that it?
Logged

-Dave (aka Nev the Deranged)
Sgarre1
Editor
*****
Posts: 1184


"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2014, 11:14:29 PM »

No

"He held on through the level stretch of woods for several miles, crossed a wide flat of niggerheads, and dropped down a bank to the frozen bed of a small stream. This was Henderson Creek, and he knew he was ten miles from the forks."

Wilson requested we note it and we did.
Logged
Wilson Fowlie
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1467


WWW
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2014, 02:20:41 AM »

I wasn't expecting that much commentary, but I did appreciate it. Thanks much to you and Alasdair!
Logged

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham
DerangedMind
Peltast
***
Posts: 103


« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2014, 01:08:17 PM »

I just finished listening to the story, and I have to admit, this one really worked for me as a piece of horror.  As was mentioned above, I'm pretty sure I've read it in the past.

Listening to his thoughts as he was freezing, the desperation of his actions as he burns his hand trying to light the fire, thoughts of killing his dog...  There were times I thought about turning off the episode because I'm getting creeped out.

Now, it may be that some of these things hit home for me more than they may have for others, as I'm living in an area where frostbite / exposure is a very real concern.  Last week it hit -50 here...  You don't go out unprepared for the weather.  The feeling of the fingers going numb resonated with me (you try changing a flat tire in -40 weather...  You need to take off your gloves to work the tools, and they are COLD).  And the resignation in his voice when he realized that it had changed from a fight to keep from losing fingers / toes to a fight for survival was very well done!

I'm glad that the editorial team did not end up changing the story.  Works of literature reflect the times they were written in, and if we start editing them after the fact, we risk losing the ability to catch an accurate glimpse of the times.  For example, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn provide a window into the world of the South during the slave times, and give us an opportunity to see what it was like then, and helps frame the civil rights movements that happened later.  Closing the windows to the past can make it harder to understand the reasons behind the reforms and corrections that happen in society.
Logged
Kaa
Hipparch
******
Posts: 613


Trusst in me, jusst in me.


WWW
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2014, 10:37:14 PM »

That's really odd. How did I manage to miss this episode for nearly an entire month? iTunes JUST automatically downloaded it, and I almost deleted it, thinking I surely had heard it. But no. Did it JUST go live?

Anyhoo...I'll be listening tomorrow on my commute. Just wanted to note that I totally wasn't expecting to hear a Jack London story as horror. I look forward to listening.
Logged

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else
Sgarre1
Editor
*****
Posts: 1184


"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2014, 11:03:55 PM »

Yes, there has been some problem with the iTunes feed but it seems to be fixed!
Logged
Kaa
Hipparch
******
Posts: 613


Trusst in me, jusst in me.


WWW
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2014, 01:43:43 PM »

Well. That worked surprisingly well as horror.

Getting past the annoying style, the tension was really done well. It's fifty degrees (F) in Atlanta, today, and I had the heat on the car, so it was probably 65 to 70 in the car. Yet I found myself blowing on my fingers to keep them warm. Then I laughed at myself for doing it. And then I did it twice more. Smiley It was just hard not to react.

Well written, if a bit annoyingly repetitious.
Logged

I invent imaginary people and make them have conversations in my head. I also write.

About writing || About Atheism and Skepticism (mostly) || About Everything Else
Wilson Fowlie
Hipparch
******
Posts: 1467


WWW
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2014, 07:49:45 PM »

Posted on Facebook today:

Logged

"People commonly use the word 'procrastination' to describe what they do on the Internet. It seems to me too mild to describe what's happening as merely not-doing-work. We don't call it procrastination when someone gets drunk instead of working." - Paul Graham
Sgarre1
Editor
*****
Posts: 1184


"Let There Be Fright!"


« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2014, 11:26:22 PM »

Remember - only the dog makes it home!
Logged
Moritz
Lochage
*****
Posts: 484



« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2014, 08:46:29 AM »

That's really odd. How did I manage to miss this episode for nearly an entire month? iTunes JUST automatically downloaded it, and I almost deleted it, thinking I surely had heard it. But no. Did it JUST go live?

Anyhoo...I'll be listening tomorrow on my commute. Just wanted to note that I totally wasn't expecting to hear a Jack London story as horror. I look forward to listening.

Well, I just listened to it yesterday...  Shocked

I also didn't notice the slur, maybe because he was referring to some plant and so I wasn't really paying attention. I really liked the story, especially because I usually don't really like the writing style of before the 1960s, but this one was enjoyable. The nature element felt really oppressing, even in the spring weather we now have over here.
Logged
Pages: [1]
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!