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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Clark Ashton Smith, A Quick Note

Zothique.  Xiccarph. Hyperborea.  Averoigne.  Clark Ashton Smith is one of my all-time favorite authors and artists.  He was a real outsider, not in the HPL sense, but in the artistic sense, in terms of his sculptures, paintings, etc.  Though his poetry did achieve quite a bit of notoriety and critical acclaim early-on in his career.  To this day Smith's poetry from Weird Tales remains lush, vivid, effective...the feverish phantasmal remnants of a timeless genius who stood toe-to-toe with pulp giants and literary leviathans and out-did them all, often beating them at their own game. 

While I originally intended to compile an Autho Profile on Clark Ashton Smith, much as I did for E. A. Poe and Leigh Brackett, it appears that the notes for that piece have been lost and will have to be re-compiled, which will take time that just isn't available right now...so a full Profile on CAS will have to wait for later in our schedule, possibly in the Spring.  In the meantime, one of the better Bios for Smith is at Alan Gullette's site, and the single most important and useful site out there for all things related to Clark Ashton Smith remains The Eldritch Dark.  The absolute best place to start in terms of finding out who Clark Ashton Smith was, and to sample his incredible Weird Fiction (including some examples of his unpublished story fragments!) is The Eldritch Dark.  If only someone would build such a wonderful online archive/shrine for Leigh Brackett as well...

You can see a nice selection of cover art from Clark Ashton Smith's various books over at the Lord of the Green Dragons blog.  There are a few in that selection that I hadn't seen before, so I know it's well worth checking out.

Recently I discovered a site that makes a number of Clark Ashton Smith stories available as downloadable audiobooks.  For example The Maze of Maal Dweb, which I've embedded below.  Just click and it ought to play right there:
The Maze Of Maal Dweb - Clark Ashton Smith on Huffduffer

This site is called Huffduffer and the link for the Maal Dweb story is: The Maze Of Maal Dweb - Clark Ashton Smith on Huffduffer  You can also find City of the Singing Flame, Empire of the Necromancers, The Charnel God, The Dark Eidolon,  and The Brass Ornament--this last is a story that I had not read previously, so it was fun to discover something of Smith's that was 'new' to me.  The folks at Huffduffer also have a nice selection of other audiobooks, if you're at all inclined to listen to such things, it's an interesting service and I thought it might possibly be of interest to fellow CAS-fanatics.

Speaking of fellow Smithophiles, the Mad Man of Carcosa Geofferey McKinney is hard at work developing a Fresh New Clark Ashton Smith-inspired RPG supplement titled Isle of the Unknown, which the one and only Mr. Raggi's Lamentation of the Flame Princess will be bringing out --alongside a slightly revamped Carcosa. You can expect the new Carcosa and Isle of the Unknown in Spring of 2011.  Those two maniac-brainiacs working together on an old school CAS-inspired project is very promising news indeed, no matter which or whatever clique cult school you choose to affiliate with or flag-wave on behalf of...if you check out McKinney's blog, you can get details on his creative process this time around and determine for yourself if it sounds like your cup o' tea.  Personally, I think that it sounds absolutely fascinating...

We'll have an author profile on Clark Ashton Smith, and a closer look at some of his more over-looked stories, eventually.

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