The Double Shadow: A Clark Ashton Smith Podcast

Archive for May, 2012

Episode #4: “The Maker of Gargoyles”

A transcription of this episode is now available.

Thanks to Night Shade Books, we’re very excited to announce our show’s first giveaway! We’re giving away copies of The Miscellaneous Writings of Clark Ashton Smith, Book of Cthulhu (short stories) edited by Ross Lockhart, Best Horror of the Year v.4 edited by Ellen Datlow (pub. 2012), and Laird Barron’s The Croning. To enter, submit your 1-2 sentence synposis for an unwritten Averoigne story. You can submit the entry to our Twitter, our Facebook, our Google + page, or as a comment on this post (note, private Twitter accounts should choose an alternative method, unless we follow you back). If using Twitter, please limit your synopsis to 2 tweet maximum.

Winners will be determined in 2 ways. First, as a group, we’ll pick our favorite synopsis. That person will win a copy of Miscellaneous Writings and one other book of their choice. The other three books will be given away randomly to participants. So even if you’re not sure your idea is the absolute best, give it a shot! If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out the Averoigne story links in our intro post and read ahead a bit.

This week’s show is about “The Maker of Gargoyles,” the third story in the Averoigne cycle. It was first published in August of 1932, by Weird Tales. You can download the episode here, or subscribe in iTunes, by RSS, or on Stitcher. This week, we’ve had to issue our first of a (thankfully) few warnings for sexually violent stories. Each podcast containing sexual violence will begin (or begin after something like the contest announcement) with a warning that contains further info on the situation.

Since it’s come up enough, the difference between aspergillus, which Smith keeps saying, and an actual aspergillum. Fun fact, Ruth was sprinkled by an aspergillum just a couple days ago and did not burst into flame, disappear, etc. She is probably not a lamia. Probably. Ruth tries to avoid aspergillus, because that’s disgusting.

Stories mentioned in the podcast were Guy Davis’s “The Marquis” and China Mielville’s Perdido Street Station.

Thanks to Kevin MacLeod for the music in this week’s episode. Also, apologies for Ruth’s mic. It switched from her good one to the basic internal one without anyone noticing until after the podcast was recorded.

Our next episode will be the first half (sections 1-4) of “The Colossus of Ylourgne.”

Episode #3: “A Rendezvous in Averoigne”

A transcription of this episode is available.

This week covers “A Rendezvous in Averoigne,” the second story in Clark Ashton Smith’s Averoigne Cycle. Rendezvous was first published in the April/May 1931 issue of Weird Tales, alongside Robert E. Howard’s “The Children of the Night” and H.P. Lovecraft’s poem “Alienation” (#32 from Fungi from Yuggoth).

The Ray Bradbury quote was from the intro to Arkham House’s 1988 collection A Rendezvous in Averoigne: The Best Fantastic Tales of Clark Ashton Smith. The title is a trifle misleading, as this contains stories from throughout Smith’s career, not just his Averoigne works (nor all of them).

The film The Fearless Vampire Killers was released in 1967 and was written by and co-stars a young Roman Polanski.

And shout out to the Podcast to the Curious, about the works of M.R. James. We’re fans of more than their accents.

Join us again on May 30th as we read “The Maker of Gargoyles.”

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Music by: Kevin MacLeod

Interlude #2: HPL’s Reply to CAS

Transcription of this letter excerpt

H.P. Lovecraft’s letter to Clark Ashton Smith, Dec. 13 1933

Here is Lovecraft’s response to Smith’s previous letter. Perhaps by way of apology for correcting his friend’s mistake, Lovecraft delves into the fictional Roman history of Averoigne. This letter truly highlights HPL’s talent for verisimilitude and world-building.

Read by Tim.


Interlude #1: Letter from CAS to HPL

Transcription of the episode

Clark Ashton Smith’s letter to H.P. Lovecraft, Dec. 4 1933

While doing research for the show—picture us hunched over dusty books in an old library, a single desk lamp lighting a cavernous room filled with tomes and an aged librarian hovering in the darkness—we stumbled upon a set of letters from Clark Ashton Smith and H.P. Lovecraft. The two are discussing Roman history, and apparently Lovecraft, good-naturely, criticized his friends’ misrepresentation of the time period in his Averoigne stories.

Here is Ruth reading a selection from CAS’ response to HPL. These were formal letters of the time period, note the author’s playful subversion of the form by adding fantastic addresses.

Episode #2: “The End of the Story”

A transcription of this episode is available.

 “The End of the Story” was first published in Weird Tales in May of 1930.

(picture from Dark in the Dark)

If you’re looking for more lamia, “Lamia” by John Keats.

The novel Phil mentioned was The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers. This is a novel that concerns lamia and vampires and amounts to in-depth re-working of the lamia/vampire myth using Keats and historical accounts and all kinds of stuff. The title was taken from a CAS poem. (Ruth’s note–looks fascinating!)

Listener @GenusUnknown also pointed out to us when reading for this week that the “the almost vanished and evilly famous ruins of Château Faussesflammes” are mentioned in H.P. Lovecraft’s collaboration with Hazel Heald, “Out of the Aeons.”

Join us in 2 weeks (May 16th) for “A Rendezvous in Averoigne.”

Music by: Kevin MacLeod

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