October 26th, 2006


"a death in which we were so soon to join"

First, more pumpkin art, with a twist of science fiction: check out the Cylon Jack-O-Lantern and the Robotic Dalek Pumpkin. (Thanks to altariel for the links!)

I recently read for the first time a short and chilling novel, The Poison Belt (1913) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Although it revisits some of the characters from Doyle's The Lost World, it is a self-contained story that requires no previous knowledge from the reader. Its powerful and thought-provoking portrayal of what it might be like to witness the end of the world as we know it makes the novel well worth a read--not to mention quite appropriate for Halloween! This passage captures the poignant terror of the work:

I remember that the monstrous and grotesque idea crossed my mind--the illusion may have been heightened by the heavy stuffiness of the air which we were breathing--that we were in four front seats of the stalls at the last act of the drama of the world.

In the immediate foreground, beneath our very eyes, was the small yard with the half-cleaned motor-car standing in it. Austin, the chauffeur, had received his final notice at last, for he was sprawling beside the wheel, with a great black bruise upon his forehead where it had struck the step or mud-guard in falling. He still held in his hand the nozzle of the hose with which he had been washing down his machine. A couple of small plane trees stood in the corner of the yard, and underneath them lay several pathetic little balls of fluffy feathers, with tiny feet uplifted. The sweep of death's scythe had included everything, great and small, within its swath.

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Read the entire novel here or here.
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