I feel like I have been negligent in posting my thoughts on "The Death of Dr. Island" — largely because I don't feel like I had that much to say beyond the fact that I really enjoyed rereading the story, and listening to your discussion of it. But never having let "nothing to say" stop me before——
The idea that you floated that most struck me was the idea that Dr. Island was an anti-Eden: an Eden with a snake but no fruit (as we see in the story). Ignacio is an anti-Christ, as you pointed out; but is he also an anti-Adam, who instead of mating with Eve and creating the human race, murdered her, and will (perhaps, at a stretch, although it seems in character) somehow end it? And does Dr. Island's nature as an anti-Eden mean (and did you say and I simply forgot that you did) that the sin in the story is not the sin of disobedience, but the sin of obedience: to Dr. Island, in some sense, but more broadly, to society — a society which (if we take Dr. Island as its representative, as it claims to be) is evil and utilitarian and interested only in functioning, not souls?
You often talk about Nicholas as being changed, transformed, etc, and discussing whether the change was good or bad (and for whom). But I took somewhat more literally the claim in the story that Nicholas and Kenneth were different people. Thus Nicholas was not (as you phrased it) changed into Kenneth, but killed to let the latter live. This, too, was a death of Dr. Island: the death of one (Nicholas) to help another (Kenneth). (It's not quite true to say you missed this — you also spoke this way — but you went back and forth; I would have hewed more strictly to the two-different-people line. It's not like having two people in one head is an unusual feature in a Wolfe story!)
The aspect of the story that I was most interested in that you didn't dwell on are the parallels/inversions with "The Island of Dr. Death and Other Stories". You quoted the bit of that interview which is also quoted on WolfeWiki and by Aramini — "I had had a very nice sort of little boy; I would have a very nasty sort: thus Tackie/Nicholas. I had had a doctor who looked like a villain; I would have one who was one but looked real good: thus Dr. Death/Dr. Island. I had a real, somewhat gritty island on the Atlantic coast; I would have an artificial island on an artificial world; thus Settler's Island/Dr. Island. And so on and so forth." — but I have never seen much more on the "so on and so forth". Marc Aramini, IIRC, mentions that whereas the first story deals in quotes from imaginary pulp stories, this novella contains many quotes from real, high-literature poems. The one other that occurs to me is that the first story is about characters escaping from a fiction into the real world; perhaps "The Death of Dr. Island" can be seen as characters from the real world (not ours, but a fictional one) put into something that is, basically, a sort of fiction: a fantastic, unreal space in which they are as out of place as Dr. Death and the others are in the world of "The Island of Dr. Death and Other Stories". But I suspect there are more; and I think it would help our interpretation if we could think about them.
A few smaller points:
• Glenn did a marvelous retelling of Prometheus, drawing out the parallels between him and Christ; but in his version, at least, I also heard the story of Adam: like Adam, Prometheus disobeys the ruler of heaven, and gets knowledge that he/humanity was not meant to have; and is punished by pain and death. (Not sure where to go with it, but I had never thought of it before, so I thought I'd point it out.)
• Glenn quoted the line in the story about how "those who prayed were usually more interesting companions than those who did not", and said, laughingly, that he thought it was Wolfe's view. I agree; but I don't think that fact reflects well on GW. It is the precise parallel to the all-too-common atheist boast that atheists are smarter than believers. Wolfe's version is a generalization that believers are tempted to (believers are deeper, more interesting) just as atheists are tempted towards their own arrogation (atheists are smarter); but both are bad temptations that ought to be avoided. Both are false (equally so), but more, both are poorly-observed, shallow, self-congratulatory, and self-refuting. Wolfe perhaps believed it; but so much the worse for Wolfe — and for his readers.
• You mention the therapy robot, and its being a symbol for robots taking human roles, and alienation, and so forth. I wonder if it is also a reference to that famous experiment, showing that when therapy patients (who lay down, and couldn't see their therapist) spoke to a tape recorder, they did about as well as those in the control group who spoke to actual therapists did?
Great story; and great discussion. I look forward to listening to "Forlesen" once they're all out!