10 July 2007

A Dream of X

I received a copy of the 1977 American hardcover edition of The Dream of X. Wow, is this ever a gorgeous book! It took me a while to get it -- it went missing in the mail for seven weeks. After seven weeks, it was finally returned to the seller as "undeliverable" for no good reason; the address was correct, and we get lots of books delivered! But the seller shipped it out again, this time to my work address, sent priority mail with delivery confirmation, and I've finally got it in my hot little hands.

I had previously taken a stab at recording a couple of chapters from Hodgson's The Night Land, but was daunted at the prospect of recording the entire novel -- at 200,000 words, it does not lend itself well to an unabridged reading. I have long thought that an abridged, "best of" The Night Land would go over very well -- either that, or a true radio play adaptation, which I'm not quite prepared to produce at present.

Anyway, The Dream of X is, in fact, 20,000 word abridged edition of The Night Land, boiled down to that length by Hodgson himself. So this is going to be my next podcast project. It is short enough that I ought to be able to complete the reading of the text itself in only a handful of late-night reading sessions -- not the dozen it took me to complete The Boats of the "Glen Carrig." Then I can focus on post-production.

I don't know exactly what all I am going to do with it, or how many episodes it will turn into, but this time I'll be using my own original music. I've been playing guitar a lot lately, and taking lessons again, for the first time in about 24 years. I've got enough years of playing, and enough technique, that I ought to be doing something with it. I also happen to have on hand an original Yamaha DX-7 synthesizer, purchased via eBay. I've got a pile of odd effects including a vocorder and a ring modulator. I have a Digitech RP-350 with USB out. It would be nice to have a better microphone, a better audio interface, and better software, but I have to admit that I actually have everything I need to do some very interesting audio production. I should stop wishing that I had something just a little better and get on with it!

The hard part will be actually achieving a quiet recording. It's July and our apartment building is hot and humid, even at night. The AC unit is in my office, and would be unearably loud on a recording. But turning it off will make it unbearably warm in the office. Even if I turn mine off, the adjacent units have theirs running, and my microphone picks them up very clearly. I could come in to my office to record, but the AC there also comes on irregularly, it is loud, and I can't shut it off. I might have to arrange some late night recording sessions in the basement with a laptop.

Updates as the project progresses! We'll set the estimated completion date -- I will release this project in time for my 40th birthday, on September 26, 2007.


shonokin said...

Paul, are your Carnacki readings online anywhere?

shonokin said...

huh, my first message didn't seem to go through or something. I asked if your Carnacki files are online anywhere. And no I don't do itunes.

Also, my boss who is an avid reader of scifi and fantasy did his own edit on THE NIGHT LAND some time back since he thought the expurgated text of A DREAM OF X was a little too, erm expurgated.

Cheers on the readings, they are great and I love the ambient sounds.

And sorry to hear about the deaths in the family, I know how it is. It's tough and it stays with you for a long time.

Paul R. Potts said...

Hi shonokin,

Thanks for your comments. It did not go through immediately because I have moderation turned on for all my blogs (otherwise I get spam comments). I'm not able to sign in every day to moderate. Anyway...

The answer is no, the Carnacki stories I recorded did not turn out all that well, as far as audio quality goes, so they are not posted. I did some experiments trying to rehabilitate the audio with some custom compressor settings but it did not work all that well. Basically, the level is too low and there is too much background noise. I'll have to listen to them again and see if I think they are worth releasing even in rough form.

Unfortunately my plan to finish A Dream of X counted on being able to put some effort into it during August, but we were out of town so much for the illnesses and funerals that did not happen, so it will have to be delayed. I also had hoped to buy a new audio interface and mics but I'll probably have to use the Snowball and hope for the best.

I'd be interested in the edited version of The Night Land if your boss would like to share it.


shonokin said...

That's understandable about the Carnacki.

I'll ask my boss if he ever finished his editing and if he would be willing to pass it around.

Also, this is a timely bit of news, the BBC just did a very nice (and decently abridged) 4 part reading of THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND. I think the whole thing is still available through their "listen again" access.

I think the listen again website just uses RealAudio though. And you probably have to hurry to track down all four episodes because I think they only stay up for a week.

BUT, if you are interested, I have made some half way decent though low quality mp3s of all four parts.