- SMITH, Clark Ashton
- (1893-1961)US writer and sculptor, of most interest to the sf reader as a fantasist whose rich style (sometimes idiomatic, sometimes "jewelled" in the Lord DUNSANY manner) and baroque invention had a loosening effect on the sf field, doing much to transform the interplanetary romance of the early years of the century into the full-fledged PLANETARY ROMANCE, whose characteristic attitude towards the FAR FUTURE and the possibilities inherent therein was capitalized upon by Jack VANCE and others.By 1910 CAS had sold stories to The Black Cat and The OVERLAND MONTHLY , but he concentrated on poetry (see listing below). Although he published some desultory fantasy before 1930, almost all his work of note within the genre, commencing with "The Last Incantation" (1930), was written for PULP MAGAZINES - most frequently Weird Tales, occasionally Wonder Stories -from that date to about 1936, when he virtually stopped writing. Of most importance as an influence on sf was "City of the Singing Flame" (1931; 1940), notable for the power of the SENSE OF WONDER it evoked. Thesestories, over 100 of them, can be found in The Immortals of Mercury (1932 chap), The Double Shadow and Other Fantasies (coll 1933 chap), Out of Space and Time (coll 1942; in 2 vols 1974 UK), Lost Worlds (coll 1944; in2 vols vt Lost Worlds: Zothique, Averoigne, and Others 1974 UK and Lost Worlds: Atlantis, Hyperborea, Xiccarph, and Others 1974 UK) - which includes Sadastor (1930 Weird Tales; 1972 chap) - Genius Loci and Other Tales (coll 1948), The Abominations of Yondo (coll 1960), Poems in Prose(coll 1964 chap), Tales of Science and Sorcery (coll 1964) and Other Dimensions (coll 1970; in 2 vols 1977 UK). The last 2 collections contain most of his sf, most of it interplanetary SPACE OPERA. Subsequently, Lin CARTER reassembled those of CAS's tales set in particular venues andrepublished them as Zothique (coll of linked stories 1970), Hyperborea (coll of linked stories 1971), Xiccarph (coll of stories, some linked,1972) and Poseidonis (coll of linked stories 1973).CAS was not much interested in science, or in expressing the forward thrust of conventional sf, and it is perhaps inadvisable to think of him in sf terms. His work is better considered in conjunction with the weird fantasies written by his friend H.P. LOVECRAFT and by Robert E. HOWARD. His best work has not dated.JC/PNOther works: The Mortuary (1971 chap); Prince Alcouz and the Magician (1977 chap), previously unpublished early tale; The City of the Singing Flame (coll 1981), which assembles previously collected material; As it is Written (1982), written as CAS by De Lysle Ferree Cass; The Last Incantation (coll 1982); The Monster of the Prophecy (coll 1983); the Unexpurgated Clark Ashton Smith sequence, comprising The Dweller in the Gulf (cut 1933 as "Dweller in Martian Depths"; 1987 chap), Mother of Toads (cut 1938 Weird Tales; 1987 chap), The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis (cut 1932 Weird Tales; 1988 chap), The Monster of the Prophecy (cut 1932 Weird Tales; 1988 chap), The Witchcraft of Ulua (cut 1934 Weird Tales; 1988 chap) and Xeethra (cut 1934 Weird Tales; 1988 chap); Nostalgia of the Unknown: Complete Prose Poetry (coll 1988 chap); A Rendezvous in Averoigne(coll 1988); Strange Shadows: The Uncollected Fiction and Essays (coll 1989).Poetry: The Star-Treader (coll 1912); Odes and Sonnets (coll 1918 chap); Ebony and Crystal: Poems in Verse and Prose (coll 1923), which includes From the Crypts of Memory (1973 chap) and The Hashish-Eater, or The Apocalypse of Evil (1989 chap); Sandalwood (coll 1925 chap); Nero andOther Poems (coll 1937 chap); The Dark Chateau (coll 1951 chap); Selected Poems (coll 1971); Grotesques and Fantastiques (coll 1973 chap), which includes drawings; Klarkash-ton and Monstro Lieriv (coll 1974 chap) with Virgil FINLAY; many further vols, usually chapbooks, have beenissued.Nonfiction: Planets and Dimensions: Collected Essays (coll 1973 chap) ed Charles K. Wolfe (brother of Gary K. WOLFE); The Black Book of Clark Ashton Smith (coll 1979); The Devil's Notebook: Collected Epigramsand Pensees (coll 1990 chap).About the author: Emperor of Dreams: A Clark Ashton Smith Bibliography (1978) by Donald Sydney-Fryer.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.