"The only joy in the world is to begin...." Cesare Pavese

"The only joy in the world is to begin...." Cesare Pavese

Sunday, February 20, 2022

"Out of the Earth" (1925) by Flavia Richardson

"Out of the Earth" (1925) by Flavia Richardson [Christine Campbell Thomson] can be heard here, read by Jim Moon. The story also appeared in the April 1927 issue of Weird Tales, which can be viewed here.

It is not a story I was aware of before Mr. Moon posted it. The story begins with a promising situation and arresting atmosphere. (Alas, recent binges of "A History of Ancient Britain" and "Time Team" have left me a little too superficially knowledgeable about tumuli and barrows to suspend disbelief to the extent "Out of the Earth" requires.)

* * *

As a title, "Out of the Earth" has been used by half a dozen writers.

Like Clute's use of APPOINTMENT IN SAMARRA, ATTEMPTED RESCUE, and ANSWERED PRAYER, Out of the Earth could certainly serve as a term of art for a type of horror story.

Flavia Richardson's "Out of the Earth" bears a slight resemblance to "Man-Size in Marble" by E. Nesbit: A young husband and wife, hungry to live on their own terms with limited income, move to the country. But there the similarities end. 

The Wayre's encounter is with a prehistoric supernatural entity, not a hidden degenerate race spurred to action by modern human war-making, as in Machen's "Out of the Earth" and "The Croquet Player" by H. G. Wells.

G. W. Thomas discusses "Out of the Earth" here.


20 February 2022

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