The podcast is my favorite explication for one of my favorite stories. I reread the story, listened to the podcast, and came here to see what else was posted before laying out my own thoughts..only to find this was one of the mysteriously disappearing posts. Hope you don't mind me starting one up again.I can't add much of substance to your comments or the the broad range of scholarship that has already been applied to this story by others, but some minor thoughts that popped up while listening to the podcast:1) The pulp novel pastiche is wonderful, of course. I was thinking particularly not only of the obvious source of Dr. Moreau (although I had cleanly missed noticing that "Dr. Moreau" means "Dr. Black", but also Edgar Rice Burroughs (with his tales of lost cities in the jungles and mightily-thewed heroes), Doc Savage (whose exploits were being reprinted at the time this was written and whose cover art, by James Bama, always depicted Doc in conflict in a torn shirt, as the cover is described in the story), Sax Rohmer and Ian Fleming's Dr. No, and even Lovecraft - the stones in Ransom's confinement cell are described as "cyclopean", a word I have only ever seen used by H.P. Lovecraft and his acolytes, and of course the links to Lemuria. The phrase you mention as being a pastiche of Robert E. Howard ("like a thunderbolt of purpose") is dead on.
2) I love how Dr. Death progresses from being an evil character to being a helpful and even protective figure (perhaps even fatherly) by the end of the story. I like your comments that this represents how we use archetypal figures from fiction to understand the darkness within "real" life.
3) In Bruno, Wolfe shows a frequent motif of dogs (and cats) and other animals that have been genetically advanced (?) to human shape = the dog/policemen of "The Hero as Werwolf", "Sonya, Wessleman and Kitteh" of course, and the talking donkey and ox of "No Planet Fall". Wolfe's love of dogs often comes out in his stories. (My favorite photo of Gene is in Patti Peret's collection of photos "Faces of Fantasy", displaying a grin as wide as the horizon while a Marmaduke-sized dog luxuriates across his lap.)
4) The Freudianism is as prominent in this story as "House of Ancestors". The florid description of Dr. Death injecting "a fluid which by its very color suggested the vile perversion of medical technique" into her body seems to suggest the dawning awareness (in Tackman's case, probably prematurely accelerated by the sights to which he has been exposed in the house) that his mother is a sexual object to other men.
5) Tackman's literal dance of joy and anticipation at continuing the story is wonderful.
6) Really good catch on Jason's costume being that of a Nazi SS officer. I missed that completely.
7) Tackman recognizes the couple "making love" at the party, suggesting this is not the first time the child has been prematurely exposed to sexual situations.
8) I also like the suggestion in the podcast that Tackman seems to benefit from his relationships with both Ransom and Dr. Death - Dr. Death is his ability to recognize the darkness and dangers in the world, and Ransom in the model of courage to do something about it - I imagine him running out of the house like "a thunderbolt of purpose" to seek help for his mother.