The Double Shadow: A Clark Ashton Smith Podcast

Episode #41: “Vulthoom”

As Tim said in our last post, it has been a rough/busy/awesome year for your faithful podcasters. But we’ve got “Vulthoom” for you and we’re scheduling more recording times. Here’s to getting back on schedule in 2015!

We’ll be doing Maal Dweb and Zothique after this.

Our reader this week is Jordan Smith.

Music: Kevin MacLeod
Outro: Boney Washington

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The “Death” of The Double Shadow and Why I’m to Blame – by Tim

Mea culpa time. Any of you who are regular listeners of the podcast will have noticed that the show’s posting schedule has been slowing down. Our two-episodes-a-month release schedule quit and split town last winter, and hasn’t really made a comeback since.

There are reasons that involve all three members of this podcast, Ruth has been working hard to wrangle a career in place. Phil and his wife had a baby this summer, but, the reality is that the majority of the blame rests on my shoulders. You see, editing a podcast takes time and effort. Making a quality product, something interesting and entertaining, is difficult, and lately I just haven’t been up to the task. The will is there, I want to keep recording and posting episodes of Double Shadow. I love this show, and I think you guys, the listeners, are awesome and insightful. I also very much believe that Clark Ashton Smith deserves this exposure, and I’m heartened thinking about the dedicated converts we’ve helped bring into the CAS fold–which is an amazing feeling.

This past winter the slow-down was due to simple fatigue. I quite honestly was tired of spending my free time working. I, like pretty much all of you out there, have a day job. Working all day in an office and then coming home to sit at a computer to edit took its toll. I got burned out, despite how much I enjoyed the end product.

This summer, however, is a different story. We recorded two new episodes, Dweller in the Gulf and Vulthoom, and I was back in the saddle, scheduling new readers (by the way, I think Alex did an amazing job with Dweller), and editing like mad. Then some freelance work started to roll in. I’ve recently been contracted to write a boutique baby journal that will be marketed and sold to “geek” parents–trust me, it’s relevant to your interests. The writing schedule on this book is pretty breakneck, and I’m just about over the hump and ready to deliver the final manuscript.

I’ve also been contracted to do some actual paid podcasting by the amazing editors over at Slice Magazine. Starting in October you can look forward to some literary fiction goodness with In the Telling.

I haven’t forgotten about you, Double Shadow! We haven’t “podfaded”! Vulthoom is half edited, and we’re going to schedule some recordings soon. Besides, we’re almost finished! Our mission when we set out was to cover all of Smith’s main settings, ending with Zothique, and Zothique’s dying sun looms bleak on the horizon.

It would be a shame to never visit that mad world with you guys.

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Episode #40: “The Dweller in the Gulf”

Yes, we are back with “The Dweller in the Gulf” and have recorded an episode for “Vulthoom” as well!

Where were we? Well…a lot of places. Phil was making a movie and Ruth was hunting for a job. But now Ruth has a job, Phil’s got a lot done on the movie, and Tim’s taken on the task of editing again. Funny enough, this episode was recorded a while back, but Tim ran into some editing difficulties.

Our reader this week is Alex Mills (Vimeo link).

In a few weeks, we’ll be back with “Vulthoom.” Then we’ll be done with Mars and starting the Maal Dweb episodes.

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Episode #39: “The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis”

After a family wedding and some delays, we’re back with “The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis.”

Check out this awesome comic of The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis hosted on Eldritch Dark! A listener also sent in this artwork of his, posted on Eldritch Dark.

Join us next time for “The Dweller in the Gulf.”

Our reader this week is Jordan Smith. Many thanks to him for filling in on short notice.

Music: Kevin MacLeod

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Listener Contribution: Seedlings of Mars or “Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm”

The post below comes from listener Chris, who, after reading, sent us her thoughts and asked if we’d be interested in putting them on the site. The short answer is yes, but…we’d like to know if other listeners have interest in our doing this and if they have their own thoughts/feedback on episodes which they’d like to share. If you really don’t like the idea, please email us vs. leaving anything mean for Chris, if you have positive/neutral feedback, email or comment away.

We also have the forums for various kinds of discussion.


The “Seedlings of Mars” is funny, but not really, once you reach the end – it has all the makings of a comedy: an anal retentive elder statesman scientist, who, despite being a scientist is SO hidebound and close-minded that anything which doesn’t fit into his already decided upon universe of scientific rules and regulations is seen as a blasphemy. His mirror, a more liberal-minded scientist, is decidedly open to the possibility that different worlds = different rules=not a threat.

Perhaps he’s a little TOO open-minded, because the gigantic, pompous plant that abducts him, his colleague, three pressmen, the mayor of Berkley, and the police chief of the same to Mars, well, is giving off red flags (flowers?) right and left. Problem is, they’re so busy looking at the outrages and wonders of their captor to notice a few “hmmmmmmmmms”.

First, it appears to have shaded out/destroyed any and all competition (including creatures suspiciously resembling US) be it plant or animal.


It has rendered the entire planet barren in order to sustain it’s near immortal self. Earth is nearby. Earth is pretty… juicy.


It’s been watching us, taking notes, and wellllll, getting ready to cut a deal, a deal that’s almost too good to be true: transmit stuff from seawater that we don’t need to Mars, and we get all sorts of shiny toys in return.

Red flag, anybody?

It’s all suspicously like saying to a Native American tribe, “In return for this handful of nifty cheap glass beads, you guys move over here to this nice reservation and stay put. In return we’ll get all those nasty, shiny yellow rocks and that  sticky black gunk that oozes out of the ground…”

Soon, the Native Americans are stuck (or dead) on a barren patch of land nobody wants and the other party involved owns everything worth owning. Can we all say “Hmmmmmmmm…”?

It’s suspicious that the more conservative, paranoid members of the party escape with little or no chagrin on the part of the plant that devoured Mars. They are allowed to preach the word of the upcoming invasion if they aren’t ready to fight back – fanning the flames of ignorance and fear, setting the stage for the more “enlightened one’s” return.

Again, hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

The enlightened ones arrive – chaos ensues, governments collapse, defenses are divided – and lo and behold the benefactor from Mars rescues the enlightened few and sends them to Venus as the scions of a new, enlightened society. In order to build this new paradise, the ecosystem of Venus is purged of (wait for it, wait for it!) UNDESIRABLE ORGANISMS with the help of the near Godlike Kudzu of Mars.

Meanwhile, the remains of the human race left behind to wallow in their ignorance and fear wake up one day to find a big-ass seed in their midst; a big ass seed which rapidly sprouts and takes over, killing everything in it’s path…

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm… INDEED!

All the while, the paradise that is the dark side of Venus flourishes in its rationalism, all inconvenient life forms eliminated… it’s all skittles and beer for the ones who chose the path and the pretty toys of the Kudzu from Mars… I wonder how long it will be before the new Venusians wake up one day to find a big ass seed in THEIR midst, having prepared the ground for it without even realizing what they did.

Anybody beside me figure that the winners in this story aren’t the rationalist enlightened individuals who went along with the Vine That Ate Mars but a great big manipulative Vine That Ate Mars and it’s seeds – SUCKERS!!!

Tell the truth, this story should be read aloud with the voice of Peabody the dog from the “Rocky and Bullwinkle Show” – the joke is on humanity, regardless of the side it took.

Episode #38: “Seedling of Mars”

This week, we’re traveling into the ether with “Seedling of Mars.”

This is an actual issue of the Salt Lake Tribune from 1912. Make of it what you will:

planet entity

Join us next time for “The Vaults of Yoh Vombis.”

Our reader this week is Jordan Smith.

Music: Kevin MacLeod

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