Tell me a story, Father, please do,


…Of power-crazed vampires of monstrous size, Of hordes of malevolent man-eating crabs And pea-green zombies with X-ray eyes.”

Serious Googling was required to locate the source poem from which this verse comes, so that I could give it a credit; I am pleased to say it is attributed to G. N. Sprod.

It came to mind because I have been listening to LibriVox audiobooks, namely several collections of SF short stories, early stuff which is now out of American copyright.  Most of the stories are not much cop, to tell the truth, but they offer that pleasure of an original twist (no matter how absurd) wedded to stern classic SF conventions, and now and then a gem of genre turns up to startle and move you when you least expect it.


The readings are contributed by volunteers.  They do not have trained voices, speaking with varying levels of fluency and intelligibility, but in some ways that adds to the charm:  you are being read to by a real person, as when you were a child.  How many of us read aloud to one another at home now?

G. N. Sprod then took me to an ancient tape rummaged from the back of a cupboard:

Willie R

I wanted to listen again to the late Willie Rushton growling out “Marrog from Mars” … and since the tape still worked, went on for the joyous  “Our Sammy”  and, blackest of black comedy, the verses which begin, in Willie’s best voice:

“Framed in the first story winder of a burning building appeared a yuman ‘ed ….’Jump into this sheet wot we are ‘olding out and you’ll be quite all right’, they said…”

I’d give that a credit too, but the insert for the tape is long gone, and Google has let me down.


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