The Well Told Tale

The Well Told Tale

Hi everyone. This is Robert. Welcome to The Well Told Tale. Every week I narrate a classic story; the greatest science fiction, fantasy and speculative fiction stories ever written, not just in a small chunk at a time, but enough for you to really relax into. No adverts in the middle, just the story itself. All stories are pubic domain and free from copyright.

Episodes

May 18, 2022 70 min

Our protagonist has been learning of some terrible events that, if town drunkard Zadok Allen is to be believed, explain some of the strange goings-on at Innsmouth. Fantastical tales of creatures from the deep, interbreeding with humans, sacrifices to the Old Ones... could any of it be true?  Our hero knows he needs to get out of Innsmouth, but will the residents let him?

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This week, we return to the mysterious and decaying town of Innsmouth.  Our narrator has spied town drunkard, Zadok Allen, and has heard that the old man might know a lot about the town's dark history,. However, he gets the sense that Innsmouth folk don't like outsiders talking to old Zadok for too long...

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This week, we start a new Tale from one of our favourite writers, H. P. Lovecraft. 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth' was the only novella published in Lovecraft's lifetime, and although it forms a central part of his Cthulhu Mythos, Lovecraft didn't actually like it when it was finished, and it was only published after his friend August Derleth got involved.  The original run of books was a mere 200 bound copies, and have...

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We return for the final part of 'Alice Through the Looking Glass'.  Alice has almost made it to the last row of the Looking Glass Land chessboard, where Alice will apparently become a Queen.  What does this mean for her? And will she ever get home?

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This week, we return to Alice trying to navigate her way through Looking Glass Land. After successfully dealing with Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, Alice has moved on, and will shortly encounter Humpty Dumpty and the Lion and the Unicorn.  How will Alice deal with these colourful characters?

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This week, we continue with Alice's journey through the Looking Glass Land, where everything is backwards, or opposite, or just plain odd.  The theme of opposites seems to have been important for Lewis Carroll - Alice's journey to Wonderland began outside on a warm spring day, whereas her travels in Looking Glass Land began inside on a cold autumn one. The theme of playing cards was pervasive in Wonderland, whereas Looking ...

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 This week, we begin a new Tale in a familiar world - we return with Alice to Wonderland in 'Through The Looking Glass' by Lewis Carroll. Although the first book, 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' is often most remembered, it was actually after this sequel was published that interest in Wonderland took off. Expect strange occurrences, baffling logic, fantastical characters and maybe even a Jabberwocky...

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March 30, 2022 12 min

This week, we have another short story, a fable from master of fairy tales, Hans Christian Andersen. 'The Emperor's New Clothes' has become synonymous with something that isn't as good as people are claiming it to be, and it is no doubt Andersen's Tale which led this phrase to enter popular consciousness.  The story itself predates Andersen and can be traced to the 14th century, but Andersen put his own spin on ...

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March 23, 2022 19 min

This week, we have a short story from master of science fiction, Philip K Dick.  Published in 1952 in Planet Stories, 'Beyond Lies the Wub' is Dick's first genre story. Commentators have observed that it is indicative of his slightly paranoid style that would become a feature in his later works. So, what exactly is a wub?

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This week, we have the dramatic final part of "The Picture of Dorian Gray".  Dorian's conscience has been starting to prick at him, but a more pressing danger awaits him.  James Vane, the brother of actress Sybil Vane, who Dorian abandoned so many years ago, has finally tracked him down, hell bent on vengeance. What will James Vane do when he catches Dorian? Will Dorian's conscience win out? And what will happen to ...

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Last week, Dorian committed an act he cannot come back from - he murdered Basil in cold blood after showing him his portrait, the true face of his depravity. After all these years of degradation, does he still have a conscience to trouble him?

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Last week, Dorian locked away his portrait from prying eyes, and we learned of his indulgences over the years.  Free from the visible signs of his degradation, he is happy to indulge every vice and hide behind his ever-present beauty, but how long can he keep up this pretence?

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Dorian is getting crueller by the day, and with every transgression depicting itself in the painted face of his portrait, Dorian has decided to store the canvas away where it can't be viewed accidentally.  But his own face remains untainted.  What will Dorian do, knowing that his misdeeds are never going to be visible to others?

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Last week was a watershed moment for the innocence of Dorian's youth. His idealised love for Sybil Vane ended in terrible circumstances and now, Dorian's soul has been irrevocably changed. So too, has his portrait. To Dorian's disbelief, the corruption that has crept in under Lord Henry's tutelage has not changed his perfect beauty, but his picture now bares a cruel smile. He has shielded the portrait from view, but...

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This week, we return to Victorian London's seedy theatrical world to learn more about the relationship between Dorian Gray and young actress Sybil Vane. Dorian is keen to show Sybil and her sublime talent off to his friends Lord Henry and Basil, and all seems well. However, this is where our Tale takes a dark turn...

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Dorian has been enjoying living life away from its sheltered beginning.  Following Lord Henry's teachings, he has been going regularly to the theatre over the last several weeks and has met - and got engaged to - the actress Sybil Vane, who refers to him as Prince Charming.  Is all this moving a bit too fast?

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Last week, we saw the completion of Basil's portrait of Dorian Gray. Lord Henry Wotton has taken the impressionable youth under his wing, much to Basil's dismay.  Lord Henry was taken with the picture, which he mused had captured Dorian at the peak of his beauty, and opined on how unfortunate it was that the picture would stay perfect while Dorian himself degenerated with age, and not the other way around.  Leaving philosop...

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Last time, we met Lord Henry Wotton, a hedonistic aristocrat, and his friend Basil Hallward, an artist who is infatuated with his muse, Dorian Gray.  They discussed Dorian, a youth whose beauty has made a considerable impression on Basil, but he is reticent to let Lord Henry meet him, as he considers he might prove a corrupting influence on young Dorian.  However, Lord Henry is about to get his way, and the eponymous portrait of Do...

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We start the New Year with a new Tale from one of the English language's greatest writers, 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde.
Wilde produced many plays, poems and short stories in his illustrious career, but this is his only novel, or rather, novella.  He was feted in late Victorian society for his biting wit, but this story holds a much darker mirror up to the society he satirised so well.
 
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December 22, 2021 32 min

This Christmas week, we have a charming story from one of the world's greatest writers, Leo Tolstoy, called 'Where Love Is, God Is'.  Arguably best known for his epic novels such as 'War and Peace' and 'Anna Karenina', Tolstoy did write a number of short stories, including this one, first published in 1885.  This Tale is known by a few different names in the English translation, including 'Martin the...

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