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Author Topic: Pseudopod 420: Lost In The Fog  (Read 4178 times)

Bdoomed

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on: January 14, 2015, 01:43:47 AM
Pseudopod 420: Lost In The Fog

by J.D. Beresford

“Lost In The Fog” first appeared in the collection NINETEEN IMPRESSIONS (1918).

John Davys Beresford was a British novelist now remembered for his early science fiction like THE HAMPDENSHIRE WONDER (1911), but who wrote supernatural and macabre stories occasionally. He was affected by infantile paralysis, which left him partially disabled. Beresford also contributed to numerous publications – in addition to being a book reviewer for “The Manchester Guardian”, and was offered the editorship of the pacifist magazine “Peace News” but declined because he felt he “would be a bad editor”. George Orwell described him as a “natural novelist”, whose strength was his ability to take seriously the problems of ordinary people. Elisabeth Beresford, children’s writer and creator of The Wombles, was his daughter.

Your reader – Ant Bacon – appeared on Pseudopod recently reading Penance by Liz Colter.



“‘Burden,’ I muttered. ‘Where in God’s name may Burden be?’

I found something unutterably sad in the sound of that name.

I felt lonely and pitiable.

It was bitterly cold, and the mist was thicker than ever.

I could hear no one. There could be neither porter nor station-master here. Evidently this station was nothing more than a ‘Halt,’ on what I presently discovered was only a single line. I was alone in the dreadful stillness. The world had ceased to exist for me. And then I stumbled upon the little box of a waiting-room, and in it was a man who crouched over a smouldering fire.

When I went in, he looked quickly over his shoulder with the tense alertness of one who fears an ambush. But when he saw me, his expression changed instantly to relief, and to something that was like appeal.

‘What brings you here?’ he asked with a weak smile ”




Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


Unblinking

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Reply #1 on: January 14, 2015, 03:08:34 PM
Hm, I was hoping someone else would've commented on this.

This was one of those episodes where I could not keep my mind on the narrative, and I digested so little of the narrative it's hard for me to exactly say why.  Alasdair's commentary afterward was very interesting and clued me in a bit on what I had trouble digesting on my own.



Metalsludge

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Reply #2 on: January 16, 2015, 08:41:27 PM
My guess is that the ending lines of the story, where the narrator ponders if there could be such a happening or place where people kill each other for no reason, are meant as a satirical joke. After all, people engage in seemingly endless feuds and kill each other all over the world and have done so throughout history. The town could be viewed as just a microcosm of the insanity of the everyday reality of life on the planet.



grumbledook

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Reply #3 on: January 18, 2015, 12:45:53 PM
Surprised that no-one else has pointed out that the town in the story was an allegory for WWI

Turtons = teutons = Germans
Franks = French
Royce's = Russians
People in the next village = USA



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #4 on: January 18, 2015, 05:37:30 PM
Surprised that no-one else has pointed out that the town in the story was an allegory for WWI

Turtons = teutons = Germans
Franks = French
Royce's = Russians
People in the next village = USA


Wow. Wow. WOW. I hadn't seen that, but that adds a whole new dimension to the story.

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Sgarre1

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Reply #5 on: January 18, 2015, 06:51:09 PM
As well, name of the town is "burden", published in 1914 and the author turned down editorship slot in pacifist magazine (thus, was considered viable for the position)



Chairman Goodchild

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Reply #6 on: January 21, 2015, 08:10:57 AM
Surprised that no-one else has pointed out that the town in the story was an allegory for WWI

Turtons = teutons = Germans
Franks = French
Royce's = Russians
People in the next village = USA


An Englishman in 1914 writing about how it's morally wrong for other countries to start wars over annexing territory?  Hmm...





Sgarre1

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Reply #7 on: January 21, 2015, 02:31:04 PM
Ahhhh, that complicated thing called history...



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #8 on: January 21, 2015, 05:19:30 PM
Surprised that no-one else has pointed out that the town in the story was an allegory for WWI

Turtons = teutons = Germans
Franks = French
Royce's = Russians
People in the next village = USA


An Englishman in 1914 writing about how it's morally wrong for other countries to start wars over annexing territory?  Hmm...

Ah, yes, because a country's actions render the individual's stance hypocritical, even when that individual opposes those actions through every rational means available to him, not to mention the fact that English democracy - like most democracies - was a pretty dodgy thing back in those days.

Come on, man. Use your brain.

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Chairman Goodchild

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Reply #9 on: January 22, 2015, 11:18:15 AM
Durr, okay boss.  I'll use my brain real good and make boss proud of me.  

You'll be proud of me, boss. You'll see.



ElectricPaladin

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Reply #10 on: January 22, 2015, 02:36:42 PM
Durr, okay boss.  I'll use my brain real good and make boss proud of me.  

You'll be proud of me, boss. You'll see.

I know I will. I've got faith in you.

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Bdoomed

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Reply #11 on: January 25, 2015, 12:31:37 AM
Now now, let's remain nice, guys.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
Five pounds?  Six pounds? Seven pounds?


davidthygod

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Reply #12 on: January 28, 2015, 02:33:35 PM
Sort of The Pacifist Manifesto.  It reminds me of the "First they came..." poem (see below).  I guess I am just too bellicose for this one to resonate with me.  Very thinly veiled anti-WW2 sentiments obtained throughout, and my favorite part is where he just asks why they don't try talking it out some more.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

The man is clear in his mind, but his soul is mad.


Unblinking

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Reply #13 on: January 28, 2015, 04:09:18 PM
Very thinly veiled anti-WW2 sentiments obtained throughout, and my favorite part is where he just asks why they don't try talking it out some more.

The story was published in 1918--they can't be anti-WW2 sentiments, right?  Anti-WWI (aka anti-Great-War) sentiments, certainly.



davidthygod

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Reply #14 on: January 28, 2015, 04:27:21 PM
Very thinly veiled anti-WW2 sentiments obtained throughout, and my favorite part is where he just asks why they don't try talking it out some more.

The story was published in 1918--they can't be anti-WW2 sentiments, right?  Anti-WWI (aka anti-Great-War) sentiments, certainly.

Yep, good call, WW1 references.

The man is clear in his mind, but his soul is mad.