Monday, April 13, 2015

Season 3, Episode 8 - Wings in the Night

"Kane poured water from his canteen between the mangled lips, and bending close, said: "Tell me more of these devils, for by the God of my people, this deed shall not go unavenged, though Satan himself bar my way."

It is doubtful if the dying man heard. But he heard something else. The macaw, with the curiosity of its breed, swept from a near-by grove and passed so close its great wings fanned Kane's hair. And at the sound of those wings, the butchered man heaved upright and screamed in a voice that haunted Kane's dreams to the day of his death: '"The wings! the wings! They come again! Ahhh, mercy, the wings!"'
Art by Gary Gianni

Welcome back, Cromrades! We apologize for our tardiness in bringing you this episode, but we had a great discussion about this week's tale Wings in the Night! (Read it on Project Gutenberg Australia.)
This is the last Solomon Kane tale to have been published, though interestingly, The Footfalls Within seems to take place after this story. We've been watching Kane's spiritual and mental conditions deteriorate during his journey through Africa, and now we see the feather that broke the camel's back, so to speak. This story is fatalistic, brutal, and bleak, as Kane becomes completely unhinged and deconstructed. What will be left of him? 

(Edit: We mention Michael Wojcik's excellent essay "Finding Subversion in Solomon Kane" which was very useful in preparing for this episode, and we urge you to check it out once you've had a chance to read the story!)

The Madness of Solomon. Another excellent piece of Gianni art.
One Thing (x 3)
Jon recommends It Follows
Luke found a neat copy of The Golden Guide to Stars (and has been watching the skies for celestial bodies and extraterrestrial threats.)
Josh recommends reading On The Origin of Species and is working on a podcast with his friends at work focusing on the writings of Charles Darwin.  
Bonus Thing - Our friend Laurence suggested we check out some of Charles Saunders' sword and soul stories. We found Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology and it looks excellent! If you've read this, send us your review! 

The next stop on the Road of Vengeance will be the Solomon Kane tale, The Footfalls Within. (Read it on Project Gutenberg Australia). Until then, Cromrades, watch the skies!

Our episode is freely available on and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. 

The closing theme for this episode is "God's Gonna Cut You Down" performed by Johnny Cash and found on the album American V: A Hundred Highways. All music was obtained legally; we hope our inclusion of this content makes you want to go out and purchase the work!

Questions? Comments? Curses? Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)

Leave us a voice mail! (859) 429-CROM! (That's 859-429-2766)

Follow us on Twitter! Or on Facebook!

Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner! Or, check us out on iTunes! Don't forget Stitcher!

1 comment:

  1. I love "Beyond the Black River", but this is now my favorite Howard story for a number of reasons.

    The harpies are one of his best adversaries. I think you're spot-on calling them a cosmic horror as Howard does a great job painting the hopelessness of being prey from the human perspective, but he also makes the harpies fit in as an element in the natural system rather than something like Cthulhu that is beyond nature. I like that the harpies can't compete with lions or take down large buffalo - they feed on humans and pigs, but aren't the apex predators per se. It's also neat that Howard ties them into the larger mythology of the world through the Greek myth of Jason. I love the idea he's hinting at that myths are based on actual events, and that those mythical events can affect the present day.

    Howard writes the fluidity of time well. Like Jon mentioned, it never feels like a training montage when Howard is breezing through Kane's construction of the hut, even though the time covered in those few paragraphs is as much as is covered in the rest of the story.

    Finally, the scene when Kane goes mad is just so well written and cinematic. You can feel Kane losing a bit more of himself every time he drops one weapon and picks up another, slowly cycling through pistols, rapier, dirk, bare hands, and finally picking up the ax. The vignette within the scene when Kane starts off to help Kuroba, who is backed up against the wall, a dead harpy at his feet and surrounded by half a dozen more, but stops to help Nayela is heartbreaking. The final lines when the blood is raining from the stars is just so visceral. It's graphic, but not gore-porn.

    All-in-all, I think it's some of Howards best writing. It would have been easy to go off the rails at multiple points and he kept it together.