The Double Shadow: A Clark Ashton Smith Podcast

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.”

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  1. Ross E. Lockhart says:

    I’m recusing myself from the contest for obvious reasons, but felt inspired to write up a “lost” CAS Averoigne story anyway…

    “The Guns of Averoigne” In 1943, an Allied team is sent to cross the forests of occupied Averoigne and must face phantoms, fungus, necromancers, and loup-garou in order to destroy the massive German gun emplacement at the walled city of Vyones.

  2. Janey Lich says:

    Here is my contribution for a lost Averoigne story: A highwayman is hiding out in the woods of Averoigne at night when he comes upon a young woman who tells him a disturbing story about a village whose inhabitants were picked off one by one by a loup-garou. At the end of the story the girl reveals that she herself was the loup-garou, and devours him.

  3. Mackenzie Snader says:

    The setting: a bog, the perfect place to find substances and beings neither one thing nor another. It looks like land, but is only a floating mass of moss and roots. The trees are tamarack trees – pine trees that lose their soft needles in the winter. The flowers are pitcher plants, which draw their power from both chlorophyll and the desiccated corpses of insects so unwary as to trail into their maw. For companions, our intrepid hero has the silent waiting Ghost Plant – no more than six inches tall, pale and translucent, it is a plant which partners with a fungus to draw its nutrients from the rotting muck deep in the acidic water. He believes this plant guards what he has come to find. A way to quiet his guilty conscience by summoning his dead lover to get her permission to marry another. Only, as it turns out, he may have summoned something quite different. He is confronted with a strange shape climbing from the water. It does look something like his dead lover, and he moves closer to make his plea. Three or four steps out onto the moss, however… he is caught, and made a meal of.

  4. Jason Ramboz says:

    Not sure if I missed the deadline or not, but I’ll throw in anyway!

    In the decaying ruins of an unnamed abbey, a young woman finds a manuscript purporting to be a true and accurate account of the habits and deeds of the wild loup-garou. She returns to her village and becomes obsessed with proving the validity of the document (and the veracity of the existence of the feral beasts) to the disbelieving townsfolk, going so far as to maul an old woman in a manner consistent with the manuscript to provide “evidence.” She is caught and cast out of the village, wandering in madness through the primeval forest until, joyously vindicated at last, she meets her death on the claws and teeth of a loup-garou.

  5. Dominic says:

    I love what you guys are doing, but for the love of the craft, please invest in some decent microphones! The shows border on unlistenable quality, not because of the content, but because it sounds like you’re talking to each other using cans and strings, and recording on a 1982 Emerson tape recorder. Please do something to increase your sound quality.

    That being said…thanks for bringing another one of my favorite authors to my podcatcher. I’m loving the recent resurgence of weird fiction, and between this, the Cthulhu podcast and the Supernatural Horror in Literature podcast, I’m getting a steady fix. Keep it up!

    • Tim says:

      Thanks for the note Dominic. These past two episodes were a bit of an aberration–we record them two at a time and Ruth’s mic switched from her good mic to her internal laptop mic without us noticing. The issue has been corrected. Keep listening, the sound quality will be much much better from here on out.

  6. Pete Lenz says:

    My goofy entry without any further consideration or tinkering:

    The body of a sorcerer washes up on the shore of the Isoile River; whispers of his death begin surfacing around Averoigne and of the binding spell that died with him. Now free from the sorceries that imprisoned their shapeshifting abilities, an ancient family attempt to reclaim their wolfen birthright.

  7. Black Cavalier says:

    Just finished the 1st half of Colossus & am definately liking it. Various comments to follow:1) CAS is the 1st author since HPL that I’ve had to keep a dictionary nearby. It’s great to learn new words.2) ) It’s interesting in both Colossus & the Maker of Gargoyles, the story gets to a point where the Church can’t protect the populous. Of course if the Church did succeed, then there wouldn’t be a story. But in both stories, it wasn’t described as “well the Church tried their best & it didn’t work”, but it was very strongly described as the clergy utterly failing. “The Church owned itself powerless to cope with the strange evil.” (Colossus: 2. Gathering of the Dead) Do you think this was just a literary device to make the story seem more scary & dark? Or did CAS have some hated of organized religion? I’ve read that he was friends with Anton Levey, founder of the Church of Satan.3) “It was an arduous climb, among overhanging boulders and along slippery scarps; but both [monks] were stout and agile, and, moreover, well accustomed to such climbing.” (Colossus: 2. Gathering of the Dead) What were the monks doing in the monastery that they were used to climbing shear rock walls?4) Best over-the-top phrase so far was in the 2nd paragraph of the story, “furniture of Satanic luxury and strangeness”. I can understand Satanic strangeness, but Satanic luxury? I’ve wondered about some of the IKEA furniture.5) Best, most evocative & amazing imagery “[…] the night was locked in a mortal stillness. The very winds appeared to shun the vicinity of the dread castle. An unseen, clammy cloud of paralyzing evil hung removeless upon all things; and the pale, swollen moon, the patroness of witches and sorcerers, distilled her green poison above the crumbling towers in a silence older than time.” (Colossus: 4. The Going-Forth of Gaspard du Nord) Wow, I had to read those few sentences 4-5 times to be able to extract all that descriptiveness out of the paragraph & get its full effect.

  8. GB Steve says:

    Toes of the Toad God
    Eibon, dread sorcerer of Tsathoggua, cast a spell to raise up an army to fight a Voormis invasion. He summons from the future all the Loup Garous of Averoigne which proceed to set about Tsathoggua, eating him from the feet upwards. Infused with the power of the dread (did I say dread again?) God, the werewolves transform into many-tentacled worms whom Eibon kills with an eldritch bolt of dark, but not before several scuttle off to brood under the earth.

  9. GB Steve says:

    A bit weird that the gargoyles are noted for “supreme grotesquery” given that a grotesque is a gargoyle without a water spout. As such it’s probably a story about Grotesques.

    “He totally batmans that funeral” Only in this podcast, great stuff!

    It’s a great story.