Monday, July 1, 2013

Podcast Episode 8: A Dream of Armageddon

A Dream of Armageddon, by H.G. Wells

As part of my fascination with ways for the world to end and what people do about it, I present this excellent work by H.G. Wells, prolific science fiction author and prophetic genius. This work is shot through with problems of illusion, dream, and reality.

Wells's work is pretty cool stuff, all things considered: he invented tons of the basic concepts involved in science fiction (The Time Machine is pretty much the first story about time travel as we conceive of it today) but it doesn't always make for the best read-aloud material; the language is old-fashioned and often unwieldy. Still, this story was interesting enough to take the chance on the occasional awkward sentence or outdated turn of phrase; it's got some haunting, moving imagery and ideas in it.  

When are these embarrassing introductions going to die already? I thought I gave up on them long before this. I'm getting sick of listening to my rather facile, ill-prepared, poorly thought-out remarks at the start of each of these. Ah, well, I suppose there have been worse ones than this one.

I like the narrator's total resignation (at ~5:30) when he decides to listen to his traveling companion's dream. Like, "What the heck, I'm going to be totally bored no matter what. Might as well listen to this crazy guy." I know I'm not a huge fan of listening to people's dreams either. As a rule I try to describe my own in 2 sentences or less when I do. I suppose if this character had followed the rule, we'd have a much shorter story.

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