The Double Shadow: A Clark Ashton Smith Podcast

Transcription for Episode #10: “The Disinterment of Venus”

Show notes for the episode

R: I have called up in all my years of horror / P: inch by inch, with baleful terror / R: no god nor devil / T: the red moon, ominous and gibbeous / R: no demon nor lich nor shadow / T: had declined above the terraces / P: of the wormy corpses that he dug with his hands from unconsecrated graves / R: and the thing was a streaming ooze of charnal pollution / R: dreaming of conquests / T: It is verily known by few / R: and of vaster necromancies / P: there were people — mostly priests and women, it is told — whom he picked up as they fled / T: It is verily known by few, but is nevertheless an attestable fact / P: and pulled limb from limb as a child might quarter an insect / T, P, R: The Double Shadow — A Clark Ashton Smith Podcast.

T: Hello and welcome to The Double Shadow, a podcast exploring the weird fiction of 20th century writer Clark Ashton Smith. I’m Tim.

P: I’m Phil.

R: And I’m Ruth.

T: And this week we’ll be covering, “The Disinterment of Venus.”

P: It’s our tenth episode. That’s exciting.

T: It’s really exciting.

R: Ten episodes!

P: How do you guys feel looking back now on nine [Ruth laughs] -uh, completely successful episodes, without a single mistake ever, once.

T: I feel pretty good about it. [laughs]

P: [laughs] It’s like…A plusses [brief pause] uh, so we have forums now-

R: We do have forums.

P: -as we talked about it last time, but we should bring it up again-

T: Yeah.

P: -because you should join them and speak to us.

T: Yeah, talk to us…on our forums.

R: And talk to other people who are listening to this.

P: If you send Tim personal messages that are of a romantic nature he will respond.

T: I will [Paul laughs]…with, uh, enthusiasm.

R: I need to try this. [to listeners] There may be a short delay after sign up because I approve the accounts manually, ideally to avoid spam. If you pick a really spammy looking name it might not get approved in which case shoot me an email.

T: A lot of insightful discussions going on, so come on. What are you waiting for? Join now.

P: It’s free! [slowly diminishing echo] Free, free, free.

T: So, “The Disinterment of Venus,” first appeared in the July 1934 issue of Weird Tales alongside, “Through the Gates of the Silver Key,” by H.P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffman Price, and other stories of course.

P: Uh, I’m obsessed with the idea that there exists, I mean I could clearly easily research this, but..[Tim laugh] I’m obsessed with the idea that there exists a perfect issue of 1930s Weird Tales-

T: Ohhh, yeah.

P: -that has a classic story by Lovecraft, by Howard, by Clark, and probably by some other, ah, early figures-

T: [coyly] -Nard Jones.

P: -in the magazine. You gotta get a Nard jones original [Ruth laughs] although I was not a Nard Jones… I guess we should also point out this is the first Averoigne story that appeared after, “Colossus of Ylourgne.” so we’re now back into the proper continuity.

T: Okay.

P: So…

T: Good.

R: Schedule!

P: “Colossus of Ylourgne,” comes between the two… The story was heavily revised four times before being accepted by Weird Tales. Farnsworth Wright objected to its Sytariasis [Sat-eer-ree-as-sis], which is the word for male nymphomania. I had no idea.

R: There’s a word and it’s a thing and it’s definitely in this.

P Although it’s funny, like when you, when you read the letters between Lovecraft and CAS, they make fun of Farnsworth Wright being, they both do Lovecraft too I think, make fun of, uh, Wright for being… uh, for objecting to sexual content in the stories-

T: Right.

P: -and they always point out just how sexualized the covers of Weird Tales-

T: Right.

R: Mmhmm

P: -were. Which is totally true, like those covers are, uh, salacious and awesome, but like they had a very valid point about the hypocrisy of the magazine.

P: [reads]

Prior to certain highly deplorable and scandalous events in the year 1550, the vegetable garden of Perigon was situated on the southeast side of the abbey. After these events, it was removed to the northwest side, where it has remained ever since; and the former garden-site was given to weeds and briars which, by strict order of the successive abbots, no one has ever tried to eradicate or curb.

The happenings which compelled this removal of the Benedictine’s turnip and carrot patches became a popular tale in Averoigne. It is hard to say how much or how little of the legend is apocryphal.

P: So what I like about the opening of this story is that its stakes are about as minuscule as you could possibly have for a story.

T: (laughing) Right.

P: Like we’re literally talking about a turnip patch here, um, which is awesome especially when you take into consideration the last story was about the “Colossus of Ylourgne,”-

T: Right.

P: -and now suddenly we’re concerned with monks’ turnips-

T: -where they’re planting their carrot patch.

R: And this is our third story at Perigon and of it definitely the lowest stakes. We’ve had previously, um, peop- young men being tempted off to their deaths, although we’ll talk more about that later, we have that and we have “Beast” where this thing that turns out to be coming out of Perigon is, uh, roaming the countryside and killing all these people. And so [laughs] now we have turnip patch.

T: Yup.

P: And this is our latest Averoignian date except for, “End of the Story.” We’re in the 16th century now.

R: So we’ve moved forward in time.

P: How does out story start in proper?

R: Well-

P: What happened, why did they have to move their vegetables?

R: Well, three young monks one day went out, um, doing their usual work, digging up in the vegetable garden; I’m not sure why they were digging quite so deep, but they were putting their backs into it.

T: Cus they were digging lustily.

R: [chuckling] They were digging lustily.

P: Let’s talk about this paragraph, it’s awesome. They weren’t just doing their work, they were spading lustily. Like, I love that the story instantly is like, ‘this story is about sex.’

T: Yeah, it is!

P: Even though they’re spading, like it’s, its funny.

T: [reads] “Being moved with an especial ardour, in which the vernal stirring of youthful sap may have played its part, Hughes-” Oh yeah, so what are the names of our guys? So we’ve got [reads] “Paul, Pierre, and Hughes. The first was a man of ripe years, hale and robust; the second was in his early prime; the third was little more than a boy, and had but recently taken his…vows.” We’ve got old, middle, and young. All lustily-

R: And they’re all gettin-

T: -spading. Yup.

R: Lustily spading in that vegetable patch. And Hughes being the most young and strong of them all, just goes nuts with his shovel and so he finds something there and he thinks ‘Oh y’know is it a rock is it- whatever it is, I’m gonna dig it up, get it out, so that we can have the best vegetable patch ever. Then the other monks come by and help him because they see this like pedestal or something and so they start digging. They find something which indicates perhaps that Perigon had been a site of worship since before the Christians came to Averoigne.

P: That’s really, I, I don’t know, gives me pause because I hadn’t even realized that implication. Like that’s totally the implication.

R: Like why is there a Venus buried-

P: Yeah, yeahyeah.

R: -buried under there. Clearly there was something there before and maybe they knocked it down and then built the abbey on top.

P: Isn’t Perigon also in, “The End of the Story,” or no?

R: Yeah.

T: Yeah.

P: …Yeah.

R: [Reads]

In the large pit they had now dug, the monks beheld the grimy head and torso of what was plainly a marble woman or goddess from antique years. The pale stone of shoulders and arms, tinged faintly as if with a living rose, had been scraped clean in places by their shovels; but the face and breasts were still black with heavily caked loam.

The figure stood erect, as if on a hidden pedestal. One arm was raised, caressing with a shapely hand the ripe contour of shoulder and bosom; the other, hanging idly, was still plunged in the earth.

T: So they find a statue of a naked woman.

P: What is the immediate effect of finding this, they uh-

T: They’re super excited about it. In fact-

P: -are they instantly super excited?

T: [reading] “The brothers had felt a strange powerful excitement whose cause they could hardly have explained. There was an unacknowledged pleasure which the three would have rebuked in themselves as vile and shameful if they had recognized it.”

R: And on the surface they have this pious horror, which they’re supposed to feel about both pagans and nudes and when they uncover it properly they realize that it is in fact, um, a Venus.

P: So, well actually, yeah they discover it’s a Venus, but then we have this little note about them, um, they’re not unaware of what it is. Which is addressed. It says they’re not without classic learning.

T: Right.

P: So it’s not like they are unaware of the implications of it, I guess.

T: [reads]

The vicissitudes of half-legendary time, the long dark years of inhumation, had harmed the Venus little if at all. The slight mutilation of an ear-tip half hidden by rippling curls, and the partial fracture of a shapely middle toe, merely served to add, if possible, a keener seduction to her languorous beauty.

She was exquisite as the succubi of youthful dreams, but her perfection was touched with inenarrable evil. The lines of the mature figure were fraught with a maddening luxuriousness; the lips of the full, Circean face were half pouting, half smiling with ambiguous allure. It was the masterpiece of an unknown, decadent sculptor; not the noble, maternal Venus of heroic times, but the sly and cruelly voluptuous Cytherean of dark orgies, ready for her descent into the Hollow Hill.

T: So what does that mean, “Cytherean-”

P: -I want to talk about this phrase because if you compare an unpublished version of the story this phrase is slightly different, in an interesting way.

T: mm-hmm?

P: In the Nightshade edition, I don’t know what draft they pulled this from, that line reads, “…not the noble, maternal Venus of heroic times, but the sly and voluptuous [There is some confusion on pronunciation that occurs] Cottyto, [KO-TIT-TEE-O] Cottyto? [KO-TIT-O] the Cytherean of dark orgies…” That is a reference to a goddess who is not actually Venus Cottyto, or Cotys [There are many variant spellings], is a, um, different female goddess a goddess of unchastity, quote unquote, and her worship included midnight orgies and her name actually means war or slaughter-

T: Wow

P: -and there’s a lot that’s fascinating about her, like the internet doesn’t know much about her, um, but what it does know is really interesting. I mean aside from the orgies and the war and the slaughter, uh-hah, her followers were called Baptio [BAP-TEE-O], which is the same root as baptism, because they would undergo extensive cleansing rites.

R: Hmmm.

P: Um, which is kind of fascinating. I’m kind of sad that reference is taken out of this story, because it really complicates, it complicates even the name of the story. Like is this a Venus?

T: Right.

P: Is it some other goddess that is, that is similar to Venus, but has a much darker undercurrent.

T: Right. Maybe-

R: I wonder if that’s Farnsworth Wright right there-

T: Right.

R: -who looked it up-

T: That’s true.

R: -and said, ‘Nope, [Phil laughs] too lusty-‘

P: No dark orgies.

R: ‘-no orgies.’ I mean, although she was clearly, “of dark orgies.”

T: What’s this, “descent into the Hollow Hill?” What is that reference? What’s the Hollow Hill?

P: I, I have no idea.

[The next few ‘Yeahs’ from Tim are all done with sympathetic acceptance, not sarcasm]

T: Yeah

P: I tried to look it up, I don’t know.

T: Yeah.

P: I tried, but Hollow Hill’s a hard phrase to-

T: Yeah, right.

P: -do because it’s pretty broad.

T: I wonder if it has something to do with Hades or, ‘cus don’t you, isn’t it like a physical location that you go to, but it might not have anything to do with that.

R: Or in, “The End of the Story,” we learned that, um, that the things nowadays have retreated underground.

T: Right

R: So-

T: Yeah.

R: -it could be something like that too.

P: I like this whole phrase, this whole segment just because of the- picturing the scene is interesting. There’s this deep, deep whole in the middle of this turnip patch that has this amazingly erotic statue in it. I think its just an interesting image; and it’s not like it’s funny. There are a lot of good details that are in in the versions not published. Uh, they talk about how just the head is sort of like peeking above the pit-

T: Right.

P: -um, which is kind of, like, it’s cool. I don’t know it’s [garbled word] that it’s taken out.

R: They call the Abbot, he comes by and he’s trying to figure out what to do about it. He inspects it and- it’s not like it’s their fault for finding it, but he’s somewhat discomforted by it, so he directs them to raise her out the hole and a bunch of them do that and then they all start inspecting her more closely and some of them start, [laughs] um-

T: -touching on her (same time)

R: Touching her (same time), which gets really awkward and they’re reprimanded for it, it’s like they can’t help wanting to touch her.

T: Right. But even, um, Augustin, the Abbot, he knows he should destroy it. This is-

R: Yes.

T: -a pagan idol, it should be destroyed, but there’s something there that stops him from doing it and then one of the other monks is like ‘maybe we can sell it, because it’s obviously of great worth, so maybe we can sell it and use that money for the abbey.’

R: They hit on the idea of just leaving it there and figuring out who to sell it to.

T: ‘But first let’s cover her up boys.’

R: Heh, yeah.

P: [laughs heartily] It’s totally true.

R: So they put sack cloth on her to cover up her naughtier bits like her uncovered breasts and such and then he says, ‘If you’re not supposed to be near her, don’t go in the garden. I don’t want you guys just like standing around and staring at her…’

P: This story has so many monk boners in it.

T: So many monk boners.

P: It’s crazy.

R:Yeah…

T: In fact we can assume all of them except for maybe one, which we’ll get to later. So he goes on to state specifically that generally the abbey of Perigon everybody is very well behaved, they keep to their monk-ly duties, but now it’s like Animal House in there. Like-

R: -something has gone horribly wrong.

T: Yeah. There’s a “spirit of unruliness” going on in the abbey of Perigon now.

P: Their “impiety” rivaled their “wrongdoing.” [laughs]

T: “Wrongdoing.” [laughs]

P: [laughs]

Ruth: [reads]

Paul, Pierre and Hughes were the first to undergo penance for their peccancies. A shocked dean had overheard them discussing with impure levity, certain matters that were more suitable for the conversation of worldly gallants than of monks. By way of extenuation, the three Brothers pleaded that they had been obsessed with carnal thoughts, and images ever since their exhumation of the Venus; and for this they blamed the statue, saying that a pagan witchcraft had come upon them from its flesh-white marble.

On that same day, others of the monks were charged with similar offences; and still others made confession of lubric desires and visions such as had tormented Anthony during his desert vigil. Those, too, were prone to blame the Venus. Before evensong, many infractions of monastic rule were reported; and some of them were of such nature as to call for the severest rebuke and penance. Brothers whose conduct had heretofore been exemplary in all ways were found guilty of transgressions such as could be accounted for only by the direct influence of Satan or some powerful demon.

Worst of all, on that very night, it was found that Hughes and Paul were absent from their beds in the dormitory; and no one could say whither they had gone. They did not return on the day following, Inquiries were made by the abbot’s order in the neighboring village of Sainte Zenobie, and it was learned that Paul and Hughes had spent the night at a tavern of unsavoury repute, drinking and wenching; and they had taken the road to Vyones, chief city of the province, at early dawn. Later, they were apprehended and brought back to the monastery, protesting that their downfall was wholly due to some evil contagion which they had incurred by touching the statue.

R: And there’s talk of further madness of the Venus changing her position and dropping of the sack cloth to be like, ‘Oh hi-,

T: Right

R: d’you see this?’

P: [laughs]

T: But doesn’t she just drop it so that you can only see like a shoulder or something?

R: Mmhmm, yeah she’s just like, like…peeking out a shoulder. She’s very coy this one.

T: Yeah, so something crazy’s going on with this statue and it’s affecting the monks.

R: And it’s right away, it’s not like a slow seeping thing, just right away everything goes completely nuts.

T: All of this stuff is going on and there’s only one brother, a young brother, “A youth of good family,” who has been unaffected. He’s been hanging out in the library, copying a Latin testament. The narrator actually describes this monk, he [reading] “was conspicuous among the Benedictines both for his comely face and his austere piety. Handsome as Adonis, he was given to ascetic vigils and prolonged devotions, outdoing in this regard the abbot and the deans.” So this, he’s like super-monk. He looks like a super model and he’s the most pious one of all.

R: And he hears about the Venus and says ‘nope, nuhnuhnuh no. Not looking at it, not touching it, not going out to see it. If I walk by a window gonna shield my eyes.’

T: But he feels this evil presence and he feels like he has to do something about it.

R: Cus he’s the only one who sees- he sees himself as being the only one who is not affected, so it’s his job to clean up the monastery.

P: One morning there’s “extreme surprise and alarm” when “on the fourth day after the exhumation of the statue,” the super-monk, Brother Louis, is discovered missing. His bed hasn’t been slept in, and it seems impossible he could have fled the monastery. So everyone is like ‘Where is Louis? What is going on?’

R: ‘Why is there a missing hammer?’
T: Yeah, right.

P: ‘Why is this hammer missing?’

T: The last time anybody saw him, he was in the workshop. The monk in charge of the smithy, once questioned, found out that his heaviest hammer had been removed.

R: Which makes everybody say, ‘What?’ Because Louis is not one of the smithy kind of monks, he’s the educated kind of monk.

P: They do all come to the same conclusion, which is that Louis [reading] “impelled by virtuous ardour and holy wrath,” took the hammer and snuck into the garden to demolish the Venus.

T: So they all rush to the garden.

P: And they’re met by the gardeners, who have noticed that their sex object is missing.

T: Yeah and they didn’t think to mention it until now. [laughter] So they rush to the pit-

P: -How they rush to the pit is funny because it’s like a bunch of scared monks approaching a hole in a turnip garden. Uh, The exact phrasing is, [reading] “Made bold by their number(s) and by the leadership of Augustin, the assembled monks approached the pit.” Which I just think is really funny, because it is, I mean, again this statue hasn’t been like sucking anybody’s blood-

T: Right.

P: -it just makes them have carnal desires and yet they’re still- they need like 20 monks led by their fearless leader to approach a hole in the garden which is really funny.

T: So you just- I have this picture of like a cluster of monks all moving as one really slowly [laughter from others] all peeking over each others’ shoulders to see what’s going on. So they see the hammer laying on the- at the edge of the pit, so they go and they look over into the pit.

T: [reads]

Somehow, the Venus had been overturned and had fallen back into the broad deep pit. The body of Brother Louis, with a shattered skull and lips bruised to a sanguine pulp, was lying crushed beneath her marble breasts. His arms were clasped about her in a desperate, loverlike embrace, to which death had now added its own rigidity. Even more horrible and inexplicable, however, was the fact that the stone arms of the Venus had changed their posture and were now folded closely about the dead monk as if she had been sculptured in the attitude of an amorous enlacement!

T: So that’s pretty creepy.

P: It is, yeah. And they feel both horror and consternation, which is very monk-ly of them.

T: Right

R: Mm-hmm.

P: They’re like, ‘Oh my God I’m horrified, but Louis what were you doing?’

T: Right.

R: Yeah

P: Y’know?

T: I love the detail that his, um, his lips were bruised to a sanguine pulp-

P: Yeah

R: Yeah

T: -as if he was furiously kissing this statue-

R:Yeah-

T:-and tearing his lips up

R: -and the monks, they can’t get him out.

T: Yeah they try to-

R: -they can’t get her arms off of him, they can’t get him out of her embrace and so they just bury him there. Venus and Louis.

P: And they have this great moment were they try to, um, they try to rationalize that he was still doing the right thing, which he was, but they, like they take the hammer as being proof-

T: Right

P: -that he was there with righteous intention and they also are like, ‘Oh and it’s pretty clear that he totally succumbed to her, quote unquote, hellish charms’ They, as we said, they bury him, which is pretty upsetting and then they bless the spot, right? They-

R: So he doesn’t have an unconsecrated grave I think, and also to keep the Venus in.

P: And this is why, to return to the opening phrase, this is why they move their turnip garden.

T: Yup

P: [laughs]

T: [smiling] The end.

P: Which is- [laughs uncontrollably]

R: No more digging there for anybody.

P: A pretty awesome, uh, backstory to what could be a very boring story, ‘like well that garden wasn’t getting enough sun; turnips need more sun, so we moved it over there.’-

T: Right, no-

P: ‘No, actually we found a pagan, uh, orgy goddess, and, uh, she pulped the lips of one of our monks so we had to move the turnips.’

T: And you can just imagine, like, why this story is being told. Like somebody’s visiting the monastery and he’s like, ‘Oh I’ve noticed you have a patch of overgrown, why you can make that a garden.’

‘Oh that used to be a garden, let me tell you what happened.’

R: So Phil, tell us about The Nightshade.

T: Yeah.

P: The Nightshade version, aside from the few, from a couple of different phrasings and details, like we pointed out as we were going through the story, takes us into the perspective of Louis as he’s going out to the garden to destroy the statue. Which is something that I really miss, actually, in the Eldritch Dark version. It’s creepy, that- to be in his perspective and it’s interesting to sort be in the mind of this monk as he gets seduced by the statue.

T: How does it happen?

P: Uh, ok, so it happens like this: like a lot of Smith stories that are edited for publication, he seems to have, if the Nightshade editions are to be believed, really loves to break his stories into like mini chapters. So this story, in the Nightshade edition, is broken into four parts-

R: Mmhmm.

P: -and the third part takes us into Brother Louis’ perspective and a lot of language is the same. They still talk about him being a “brother of a good family, conspicuous for being so virtuous,” and then you learn- I mean you sort of like, you have phrases like [reads] “Rooting deeply as he went about his daily toils and devotions, though he confided his intention to destroy the statue to no one, wild whispers were circulating among the monks and it was said that several other besides the culprits had been drawn to touch the sorcerous marble in secret.” So he’s sort of like- there’s just a better build to his decision to do this thing, cus you understand he- you understand a little bit more that he’s worried for his fellow monks and he’s worried about his, y’know, his whole monastery. Oh, there’s this great detail about how the, the ground around the statue is soft so his feet kind of like sink into the ground as he gets closer to her. He sort of lifts the statue up and stares at her and then, um, in so doing he forgets his wrath and his purpose, his fear and his horror, and his cenobitic vows.

T: Wow.

P: Which, as a Clive Barker fan-

T: Yeah.

P: -I had no idea that cenobitic was what you call the vows of chastity and asceticism, uh and cenobites are of course what Pinhead is. And then he like drops the hammer and it says [reading] “Bathed in a perilous light and swathed with alluring shadows, the Venus appeared to live and palpitate, to lift comely hands and implored his mercy, to open fair eyes and delicious lips that claimed his love. An unleashed delirium, sudden and irresistible, sank triumphantly in his brain, exalted madly in his blood. Stepping across the forgotten hammer he embraced the Venus, her arms and bosom were cool as marble to his feverous touch, they seemed to offer the firm softness and resilience of living flesh.” And then it cuts to the next part and they discover that he’s missing.

T: Wow. That is pretty cool.

P: It’s better, it’s better than the published version. The Nighshade version also, like, sort of goes into a little more detail about what the other monks were doing and like when they left- like the wenching they do and those kinds of things. It’s just- It’s a better version.

R: And I think Farnsworth Wright had wanted to cut that out because when you think about that, that’s a nice seduction scene right there. I’m guessing he didn’t want to publish it, especially with him being a monk.

P: Well this is my question about this story, like what do you think the tone of the story is and what do you think the narrator thinks of these monks? Because the word evil gets dropped into this story a lot and I… would make the case, probably poorly, that I think the word evil is being used with some kind of irony, because I don’t actually think that this statue is necessarily evil.

T: Right.

P: Um-

T: No, I think we could assume that the narrator is a monk, so of course-

P: uh, yeah…

R: That would be one option.

T: Yeah of course the, the actions of this Venus would be evil, because sex is evil. [laughs] They’ve taken cenobitic vows.

P: [chuckling] Cenobitic is such a good word.

T: Yeah.

R: I see this as part of the Averoigne struggle between the old and the-

T: Right.

R: -the Christian and also highlighting the weakness of the monastic order in Averoigne and of the church in Averoigne. So that all it takes is one statue of Venus, one lusty statue, and suddenly they forget that they’re monks.

T: Right.

P: It’s another one of those stories where, like, we know, I think, pretty clearly that Clark Ashton Smith- let’s not call Clark Ashton Smith the narrator of the story, but the author Clark Ashton Smith, comes down on this conflict between the old and the new on the side of the old.

T: Yes.

P: Which is why the tone of the story I think is interesting, because he keeps calling this thing ‘evil’ and I don’t think that Clark Ashton Smith would view a sexy statue of Venus to be evil, which is why I am curious about the tone of the story and like what it is after. And I don’t know that I have a good answer. I have this sort of, this thought of it as a um… there’s this famous essay called, “The Return of the Repressed,” that’s all about horror in, uh, in film, um, and the case is sort of about many horror films can be read as, uh, like a return of the sort of Freudian repressed. And this feels very much in that vein of a story about people who have repressed a, a intrinsic part of their humanity, like their sexuality, and then in being confronted with it, it drives them to extremes. I think that- this isn’t a horror story so it’s not like they go out and rape anybody or do anything really truly horrible, but it is, um, it’s still is about them confronting something that they had been trying to ignore about themselves.

T: Right. And it comes right into their house.

P: Uh, it’s kinda like “Rawhide Rex,” actually, speaking of-

R: mmm, yes.

P: -speaking of things.

R: You’re right. And I just read that this week.
P: I’ve actually never read it I don’t think, but I saw movie-

T: -you’ve seen the film.

P: -and it’s ridiculous.

T: It is ridiculous.

R: Dudes, it’s in the book you leant me.

P: Yeah, I know, I uh, apparently haven’t read the entirety of the Books of Blood, so…

R: Ugh!

P: -despite…

R: But it is very much, except that “Rawhide Rex” is much more, ah, has much more agency.

P: He does, well I mean, he’s like the monstrous male sexuality instead of, uh, and I hesitate to call this monstrous female sexuality, but let’s just call it like, powerful female sexuality I guess.

T: yeah, definitely.

R: It’s not necessarily saying she’s evil, but the fear, the masculine fear of the sexual female

T: Yeah, but..

P: Tim, you, like Alan Moore, should start worshipping the, uh, goddess of unchastity, war, midnight orgies, and baptisms.

T: I should. I think…I think I will, starting now. You heard it hear first folks. I’m now a priest of Cotytto.

P: I like this story, it seems like a little lark to me, but it’s, ah, it’s a fun lark.

T: Yeah, it is fun. I don’t love it, it’s not in my top five, but it is fun.

R: Yeah, I like that it’s a little bit of backstory to Perigon, I feel like we’re getting a really good picture of the abbey on the whole.

P: And it’s mysterious, like, it’s, it’s, a weird, um, it’s a weird story in that it doesn’t offer us answers. It’s funny, the one image that I like, that I don’t think is in the Nightshade, but is in the published version, is this idea of her wandering around the garden at night.

T: Right.

P: Which I think is really kind of- it’s not like super horrific, but its unsettling.

T: It’s creepy.

P: Uhhh-

T: Yeah.

P: -yeah. It’s creepy.

T: That’s “The Disinterment of Venus,” folks. Tell us what you think about it on our forums.

R: What’s our next episode going to be? I’m so-

T: Is it “Mother of Toads?”

R: “Mother of Toads,” ohhh geez!

P: “Mother of Toads!” Yeah we’re right in the thick of the Averoigne sex stories and they, I think they culminate next week with, uh, or next time, with “Mother of Toads.”

R: Yeah, y’know the next three really are all sex stories, when ya…

T: Yeah.

P: What are, what’s after-

R: “Enchantress of Sylaire [SIL-AIR],” so again-

P; -and then “The Satyr,” right?

R: -fantasy story and then “The Satyr,” yeah.

P: And then we’re done with Averoigne.

R: [Wails]

T: Aww, so sad.

P: It’s going to be sad- this is what’s going to be sad: when two stories into Hyperborea we’ve all forgotten about Averoigne, because, let’s kind of be a little bit honest-

T: Yeah.

P: -those stores are probably a better than the Averoigne stories.

R: But I love Averoigne.

P: I love it too.

R: It has a piece of my heart now.

T: Yeah.

P: Yeah, it’s just going to be sad, because Zothique’s gonna come around and we’re gonna be like f*ck yes. [Tim laughs]

T: Join us next time when we read the sexiest of the Averoigne stories, [Ruth laughs] “Mother of Toads.”

P: I. Can’t. Wait.

[outro music]

Show notes for the episode

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