The fifth of five volumes collecting the complete stories of renowned “weird fiction” author Clark Ashton Smith.
“None strikes the note of cosmic horror as well as Clark Ashton Smith. In sheer daemonic strangeness and fertility of conception, Smith is perhaps unexcelled by any other writer.” H. P. Lovecraft
Clark Ashton Smith, considered one of the greatest contributors to seminal pulp magazines such as Weird Tales, helped define and shape “weird fiction” in the early twentieth century, alongside contemporaries H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, drawing upon his background in poetry to convey an unparalleled richness of imagination and expression in his stories of the bizarre and fantastical.
The Collected Fantasies series presents all of Smith’s fiction chronologically. Authorized by the author’s estate and endorsed by Arkham House, the stories in this series are accompanied by detailed background notes from editors Scott Connors and Ron Hilger, who in preparation for this collection meticulously compared original manuscripts, various typescripts, published editions, and Smith’s own notes and letters. Their efforts have resulted in the most definitive and complete collection of the author’s work to date.
The Last Hieroglyph is the fifth of five volumes collecting all of Clark Ashton Smith’s tales of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. It includes all of his stories from "The Dark Age" (1933) to "The Dart of Rasasfa" (1961).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I heartily endorse this fifth and last volume of the series that collects Smith's fiction and present it in the order of composition. Fans of Smith and those who have the rest of the series will definitely want it.Those who are not Smith fans, though, will want to pass this one up. A Rendezvous in Averoigne: The Best Fantastic Tales of Clark Ashton Smith is a better introduction to Smith. This volume covers a much longer period of time than the others in the series. Its first story was finished in May 1933 and its last in July 1961. That period saw some of his best work but also a marked drop in the quantity and quality of his work after February 1935. Perhaps the demands of caring for his aging parents explain this decline or perhaps their death mitigated the need to sell fiction or the escape writing may have offered Smith.Smith of beautiful, poetic prose is here as are entries in his Hyperborean and Zothique series. Because the quality varies so much after 1935 with some stories really only of interest to Smith completists, I won't review each story.The stories, in order, are:"The Dark Age" (1933), gloomy post-apocalypse story"The Death of Malygris" (1933), good installment in his Atlantean series"The Tomb-Spawn", (1933), stylish Zothique story"The Witchcraft of Ulua", (1933), amusing, erotic Zothique story"The Coming of the White Worm", (1933), haunting classic"The Seven Geases", (1933), tale of cosmic indifference"The Chain of Aforgomon", (1934), poetic story on the dangers of gaining a lost love"The Primal City", (1934), Lovecraft admired this tale of archaeological exploration"Xeethra", (1934), Zothique story of dissatisfaction"The Last Hieroglyph", (1934), a fine story about a not so competent astrologer"Necromancy in Naat", (1935), masterful, poetic Zothique story"The Treader of the Dust", (1935), Smith's contribution to the collection of blasphemous tomes"The Black Abbot of Puthuum", (1935), Zothique story of sexual predation"The Death of Ilalotha", (1937), Zothique story of poisonous sexual obsession"Mother of Toads", (1937), lewd and ghastly Averoigne story"The Garden of Adompha", (1937), Zothique tale with Smith at his grotesque, decadent, poetic best"The Great God Awto", (1937), Smith's faux-archaeological satire on the automobile"Strange Shadows", (1940), Unpoetic tale of a man who sees shadows revealing people's true nature"The Enchantress of Sylaire" (1940?), Smith's last Averoigne story"Double Cosmos", (1940), one of Smith's not entirely successful science fiction stories about an odd drug"Nemesis of the Unfinished", (1947), Smith's only true collaboration, about a writer confronting his unfinished stories"The Master of the Crabs", (1947), Zothique story about two sorcerers competing for a pirate's treasure"Morthylla", (1952), Zothique story about a man's love for a lamia"Schizoid Creator", (1952), the Devil gets psychoanalyzed"Monsters in the Night", (1953), one of Smith's most anthologized stories"Phoenix", (1953), Smith's last great story, a science fiction piece"The Theft of the Thirty-Nine Girdles", (1957), last Hyperborean tale, a heist story"Symposium of the Gorgon", (1957), somewhat jokey story of Greek gods, Medusa, and cannibals"The Dart of Rasasfa", (1961), Smith's last and, unfortunately, not a very good story