Saturday, March 12, 2016

"In the Tube"

"In the Tube"
by E.F. Benson

A man tells his friend an eerie tale beginning with his vision of an event that had not yet taken place-- a suicide in a tube station.

My Reaction:
Hmm... Well, to be fair, I started this one as a shared read with Donald, when we were at loose ends, one day.  We never finished the story-- moved on to more interesting fare and never looked back.

Months passed before I was inspired to picked it back up (again, as a stop-gap measure when I finished my "main read" in the middle of a treadmill session and hadn't settled on what to read next).  Remembering that the story (so far) hadn't been outstanding, I didn't care to start from the beginning again, so perhaps I missed the full effect, after such a long intermission.  However, I think I remember enough of the first part of the story to give a reaction to the whole.  That reaction is... this is not one of my favorites of Benson's spooky tales.

It's not bad, by any means, but not a favorite.  There's much philosophizing and pondering on the nature of time.  When should we count an action as "settled" or "done"?  When it physically takes place?  When the person involved makes the decision to act?  Or when the person takes the first step on the path that will eventually lead to an inevitable conclusion?  What is time?  How much do we mere humans know of it?  Could it be that time is only an illusion?  So on and so forth.

"I have talked to a soul in the hell of remorse, which is the only possible hell."