Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961)

Californian poet, sculptor and author of over 100 stories (no novels), set in a variety of invented worlds and cultures.  Most of his best work was published 1930-36 in the pulp magazines of that time, especially Weird Tales .

His style is unique, his vocabulary immense and powerful.  Here are a few examples:

 

     Not as the plants and flowers of Earth, growing peacefully beneath a simple sun, were the blossoms of the planet Lophai.  Coiling and uncoiling in double dawns; tossing tumultuously under vast suns of jade green and balas-ruby orange; swaying and weltering in rich twilights, in aurora-curtained nights, they resembled fields of rooted serpents that dance eternally to an other-world music.

- The Demon of the Flower

 

....the black sapphire heaven from which the aging but despotic sun glared down with implacable drouth on the kingdoms of Zothique.

- Xeethra

 

It was the Martian hour of worship, when the Aihais gather in their roofless temples to implore the return of the passing sun.  Like the throbbing of feverish metal pulses, a sound of ceaseless and innumerable gongs punctured the thin air.  The incredibly crooked streets were almost empty; and only a few barges, with immense rhomboidal sails of mauve and scarlet, crawled to and fro on the sombre green waters.

- Vulthoom

 

  

For anyone interested in Clark Ashton Smith's life and work we recommend the website www.eldritchdark.com.