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Some Audio Books

Here are some readings from some of my favorite stories. Enjoy them, if you’re into that sort of thing. Currently, my ability to record audio is pretty limited. I’m working on that.


“Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poeannabel-lee

Probably one of Poe’s best known poems after “The Raven”. The first time I heard this poem recited out-loud was in the one-man play “I Might be Edgar Allan Poe” by Dawson Nichols and I was really touched by it; so much so that I can still remember the occasion over 30 years later.



“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe montresor_coat_of_arms_baby_hat

This is one of my favorite Poe stories to read out-loud. It’s short, clocking it at 14 minutes, but it still delivers a lot, and continues to deliver on re-reading. It’s quite a thing to enter the skin of Montresor and walk through his plotted revenge, the reason for which is never fully explained. In my opinion, Montresor is one of the original unreliable narrators, providing a complexity that is really fun to act out.


“The Dying Earth – 1. Turjan of Miir” by Jack Vance dying-earth-cover

In Gene Wolfe’s book, “Shadow of the Torturer”, he introduces the concept of the Book of Gold which the Guild of Librarians uses to find its initiates. Wolfe has stated explicitly that his own “Book of Gold” was Jack Vance’s “The Dying Earth” which is a collection of six short stories that take place in a single universe. “The Dying Earth” was a game changer in the science-fiction and fantasy genres and has sent its ripples out far and wide. This is the first story in the collection. Keep in mind that this story was written in the 1950’s, and is very much a male fantasy piece that characterized sci-fi at the time: there are fetching damsels and powerful wizards, and even a thinly veiled threat of rape from the main character. So, when you’re listening to this, try to remember the context and focus on the neat stuff that Vance is creating from whole clothe here.


“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe tell-tale-heart

Poe’s characters are so very post-modern and really sum up the unreliable narrator. The narrator of “The Tell-Tale Heart” is quite obviously crazy, but he is trying to convince the reader that he isn’t and uses as proof how he plotted the death of another human being.  I have a big soft spot for unreliable narrators: Jean-Baptiste Clamence from Camus’s “The Fall”, or Underground Man from “Notes from Underground.” I love the twisting of narrative until you don’t know what to believe…kind of like real life.

A thing I noticed on this reading was the state of the narrator’s suffering; this man has gone to a deep, dark place and, as such, has transformed into an instrument of darkness. As Nietzsche famously said: “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”