Books by Clark Ashton Smith
It’s important to realise the impact that this funny, eclectic, multi-talented, poor, skinny man has had on the world. The whole genre of science fiction and fantasy and whole industries that hang off the backs of people like Tolkien, are also standing on the shoulders of people like H.P. Lovecraft.
Lovecraft, in particular, owed a lot to Clark Ashton Smith. The two corresponded and inspired each other for decades until the former’s early death.
Without the inspiration, what is an artist?
I particularly like the titles of the collections “Out of Space and Time” and “Lost Worlds”. Because that’s what real stuff is – it transcends time and space and is meritorious because of it.
It has influence both backwards and forwards in time, perfectly fitting in with the Buddhist concept of “the inter-connectedness of all things” and the modern physics dichotomy of entanglement and relativity.
Beneath his sad yet sunny wizened Californian exterior, Smith created whole vistas and civilisations, reminiscent of ancient classic tales, Earth-like yet not necessarily on Earth. The point is, it doesn’t matter where the stories are set, because like Buddhists, we only choose to live on this Earth, this time.
Our heart is with us always.
The step-like synchronicity of:
- his publications,
- then Tolkien’s books,
- the success of Tolkien yet comparative failure of Smith,
- the huge upsurge with the Panther editions and their immaculate cover art,
- then the massive success of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy of films
….is no co-incidence.
Check the cover art of the Panther books and then realise how the whole “Rings” thing is those covers, encapsulated as a film …
This is an example of the interconnectedness of all things stretching backwards and forwards through time and space.
Are the stories like the covers? – Sort of. Does it matter?
The band Crawling Chaos’ name comes from Lovecraft. In retrospect, there are a host of Smith’s tales that I could have chosen for the band name and would have more befitted my admiration for the man. Whether, collectively, a name could have been chosen and agreed upon is another matter, of course. It’s all a question of time and space…
Check out the website “The Eldritch Dark” for shed-loads of CAS stuff.
- The Coming of the White Worm: (Chapter IX of the Book of Eibon) – Rendered from the Old French manuscript of Gaspard du Nord.
- The Black Abbot of Puthuum:
Let the grape yield for us its purple flame,
And rosy love put off its maidenhood:
By blackening moons, in lands without a name,
We slew the Incubus and all his brood.
— Song of King Hoaraph’s Bowmen