Jun 15

The haunted jarvee

9 comments

Another great episode and another fantastic writer I hadn't heard of. I have always loved old sea tales written when sails and steam engines were competing on the oceans. Conrad is one of my favorite authors. I'm looking forward to reading more of these.

 

I can't seem to find this particular story for my kindle at a reasonable price. Guetenburg doesn't have it and it's not listed in collections of Hodgson's work. If anyone has a place to get it I would appreciate it.

I'm glad you liked this story. Hodgson was a really interesting person who also lived in really interesting times, and for a while was basically the living version of Robert E. Howard's character Sailor Steve Costigan. Of all the writers we've done so far, he's the one I think I'd most like to have a few drinks with.

 

We have some serious Hodgson fans in the audience, so I think we'll end up reading quite a bit of his work, and one of our listeners has nominated one of Hodgson's Sargasso Sea stories for the next vote, which I think will be a lot of fun. Night Shade Books has recently released almost everything Hodgson wrote in some quality paperbacks. The first volume is just sea stories.

If you remember that Telsa was demonstrating wireless transmission of electricity in 1901-1902 and that wireless telegraphs was just being adopted when this story was written, this story would seem more plausible to a reader of the time.

We really take electricity for granted, but it was a crazy, crazy invention and lots of people were afraid of it. And we should really talk about The Prestige at some point.

I couldn't find a free 'The Girl with the Grey Eyes' on the internet, but the podcast about is was fun! I laughed aloud when the tale appeared to be not weird at all, despite all of those tropes. My publisher expects me to write horror tales, but I've found myself writing tales that begun as an intended horror story, but became something else entirely, strangely enough (although a romantic comedy wasn't among them, untill this moment at least :-D ). I guess it sometimes goes that way.

 

I did found and read 'The Haunted Jarvee', which was great, like the podcast about it. I never really had thoughts about the genre of urban fantasy, which is really interesting when compared to (early) spiritist/scientist fiction.

I thought about the question why this is or isn't weird fiction. It clearly isn't because of the lack of mystery. But then I thought about Lovecraft's cosmicist horror - Lovecraft and his tales are in a sense very scientistic: he shows the strange and horrific phenomana as being basically knowable - that is: the phenomena aren't dualistic in the sense that there are two different states of being or so. They are just above human understanding and will always be that way.

And there is the difference with Hodgson. The tale of Hodgson is not only scientistic but also positivst: strange phenomena aren't just knowable but (will be) solvable by human thought and experiments. That's why this tale isn't really scary in the way a tale of Lovecraft is: there the phenomena will always be unpredictable and take form as intelligent agents that are far above the human kind. And this is the fact why it is weird and terrifying.

But although 'The Haunted Jarvee' isn't weird in this sense, it alludes to extrasensory powers of nature, which are at least uncanny (like existing phenomena and theories are still uncanny today: black holes, superstrings and M-theory for example). I like the way Hodgson brings atmosphere when he is describing this uncanniness - it made me think of the Color out of Space: both are about seeing things that can't be seen; I really like this stuff.

So, I think this wasn't a weird tale, but it surely was a good read and something to ponder about (and, who knows, use it in my own fiction).

Well, we're definitely going to do more Carnacki stories in the future ... but probably not so much on the Hodgson rom-com side, unless it happens by accident again. And I'll be interested to see if the other Carnacki stories are more inclined to the unknowable, or if this scientism runs throughout.

PS: I see the notifications are working again - good!

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