WARNING: EPISODE CONTAINS CONTENT RELATED TO SEXUAL VIOLENCE
The River of Night’s Dreaming
Originally published: Whispers III edited by Stuart David Schiff (1983)
Awards: Nominated for 1982 Balrog for Short Fiction, Nominated 1982 World Fantasy for Best Novella
Whiskey Pairing: Kings County Distillery Straight Bourbon
(Special note: Wagner fan Lincoln Brown, pointed out the Afterward of the Scream Press version of In a Lonely Place. You have to check it out! It tells about Wagner’s dream that he based the story on and calls out the title as being a reference to a lyric from The Rocky Horror Picture Show-“The darkness must flow down the river of night’s dreaming…”. Lastly, the ending is a purposeful parallel to The End by The Doors, Wagner also reveals the protagonist is a male who is identifying as a female! This blows my mind, thanks again Lincoln. Looks like it’s already time for a re-read.)
This story is a rabbit hole. We could spend an entire season talking about Robert Chambers’s The King in Yellow (1895), but we kept it brief. It truly is an amazing weird fiction collection. You can read it for free here.
Once again I mention a story from the Wagner website. Check that out here. It’s where I learned about the attitudes Wagner had about shock therapy, and the treatment of patients in some of the hospitals he worked at.
For any of you law abiding citizens out there, I bought The Hunger Season 1, Episode 16 so I could watch the adaptation of the story…it was just as bad as I hoped. I have a bonus episode with some special guests in the works for early next year reviewing that episode, and Season 2, Episode 20 The Double, based on Wagner’s story Beyond Any Measure.
I spoke with Justin Steele editor and reviewer extraordinaire last summer at Necronomicon 2017. We were talking about Wagner and he pointed me in the direction of the story D T by Laird Barron. In this story there is a thinly veiled version of Wagner in the story towards the end of his career. There are easter eggs galore in this story, Barron weaves them all into a short doppelganger tale. To get my hands on this story I bought A Season in Carcosa, a collection of new King in Yellow Stories edited by Joe Pulver. I was delighted to find that in addition to D T, both Joe Pulver in his story Not Enough Hope and John Langan in his story Sweetums, give nods to Wagner. Karl Edward Wagner only wrote one King in Yellow tale but it has definitely rippled down the years as both important and part of the Carcosa cannon.
A very special thanks to our guest Tim Mucci. He rocked!