Clark Ashton Smith Number Volume I: Number II January 2006
_____________________________________________________________________ Articles Poems Ranked with the Immortals Some Future Home We Rise, Remarkably The Woods This Theatre Sonnet Reviews A Humble Beginning Leigh Blackmore Harvey Stanbrough Harvey Stanbrough Kirsten Bergen Cameron Pierce L. S. Fisher Henrik Harksen 2 8 10 13 14 15 16 17

Clark Ashton Smith's Vision of Lucifer Phillip A. Ellis

his main models being Edgar Allan Poe. it is surely his poetry for which he will be best remembered. HP Lovecraft considered himself to be primarily a poet for many years. and Ezra Pound (Behrends p. This is despite the fact we now live in a world where poetry has fallen so far from grace that even these illustrious names. Tierney also deserve to be remembered for their output of weird verse. Cummings. as a traditionalist). for though he wrote a significant quantity of weird and sf tales. Milton and Keats ‘poets of the very first rank’. We want to look briefly here at the influence of George Sterling upon Smith’s life and work. (LAST OBLIVION 11) “As such”. As Steve Behrends has pointed out in his Starmont Reader’s Guide study of Smith. (i. George Sterling and Ambrose Bierce. Charles Baudelaire and his contempories on the West Coast. Arthur Machen wrote a little poetry. fifty years ago still names to conjure with. presumably on the example of his literary idol Edgar Allan Poe. the heritage of English and American poetry – from Milton to Swinburne. E. The case of Clark Ashton Smith is different. now mean little to the man in the street. 94) But Joshi and Schultz have written that Smith “draws upon. But most of these writers are more famous for their fiction. and thereby extends. There is no doubt that Smith was himself a poetic prodigy “on the order of Keats and Shelley” (LAST OBLIVION p. though it doesn’t figure large amongst his output. that this career was “unremunerative” . But we cannot do that without briefly summarising some aspects of Smith’s poetic approach.E. aptly referred to by Joshi and Schultz as his “masterpiece of fantasy…perhaps the most sustained expression of cosmicism in all literature”. “Smith aligned himself with a poetic movement whose day had passed and which had been superseded by the modernist work of T. He was familiar with the work of Rossetti and Swinburne and with Baudelaire (whose “Flowers of Evil” may have partly provided the inspiration for the subtitle of Smith’s masterwork “The Hashish-Eater” – “”The Apocalypse of Evil”). unfortunately.“RANKED WITH THE IMMORTALS”: GEORGE STERLING & CLARK ASHTON SMITH Many of the great weird fictioneers began their careers wanting to be poets. Eliot. Smith was a traditionalist. 9) and also. ) Such Arkham House authors as Donald Wandrei and Richard L. Blackwood wrote some poetry. “The Hashish-Eater” (1920) – written when Smith was 27 – is an extraordinary work.S. writes Behrends.e. before proceeding to some brief comments on a number of poems Smith penned about Sterling. from Shelley to George Sterling – thus linking himself with poetic history in a way that makes his Modernist contemporaries and successors seems hollow and rootless” (LAST OBLIVION p. collected in his ORNAMENTS IN JADE. Smith considered Poe.

As to Smith’s worldview. respectively at and course also in S. THE THIRST OF SATAN. Scott Connors has commented that Smith’s own version of Cosmicism differed greatly from Lovecraft's. As Joshi and Schulz have pointed out. Donald Wandrei praised Smith as worthy to rank with the immortals. and Baudelaire." In many ways Smith's aesthetic represents the midpoint between those of Lovecraft. Poe. since like Machen he rejected materialism and embraced a neoplatonic worldview while. 1869) was a pupil and friend of Ambrose Bierce. those being the immortals of Romantic and decadent poetry–-Keats. and Machen. Behrends points out that most of Smith’s poems are conventional in form and metre. friend and supporter for the next fifteen years. rejecting a homocentric viewpoint. reality and illusion. confined largely to the USA and to a small group of cognoscenti. Lovecraft. Shelley. With Sterling’s constructive comments on the poems. but “the lushness and complexity of this kind of poetry make most members of the general literary community likely to pass it off unthinkingly as either esoteric or passé. and so on) and draw heavily upon classic imagery–-he has a fascination with classic myth and fable. Sterling’s extraordinary poems “The House of the Orchids” (1909) and “Wine of Wizardry” (1909) can now be found on the World Wide Web. 10). The macabre and fantastic poetry is predominated by a spectral mood. is full of references to .html http://angelfire. has been analysed. of recent edition of Sterling’s poems. Smith made contact with Sterling in 1911 at the age of eighteen. and weariness. reincarnation. sonnets and lyrics” are significant. preferring an "imaginative escape from the human aquarium.the A Machen review of Clark Ashton Smith”. the materialist. whereas the cult of Smith is still miniscule.eldritchdark. Byron.. Prominent themes include loss. (he uses blank “The House of Orchids”. (www.” (LAST OBLIVION p. sonnets. sorrow and bitterness. like Lovecraft. “the compressed brilliance. the mystic. too. Sterling was already a well-known West Coast poet and would become the young Smith’s mentor. Smith made several trips to San Francisco and Carmel to visit the older poet. when some of his poems were sent to Sterling for criticism. In an essay in The Overland Monthly. but many of the poems are extravagantly colourful and imaginative. philosophical pieces and a few erotic works. the imaginative range. Joshi’s http://www.idiom. The route for Poe was first to be lauded in Europe by Baudelaire and others before finally receiving acclaim in his own country. and the verbal and metrical panache of Smith’s odes. in describing vari-coloured orchid blooms.T. There are also nature studies. ) It seems odd that Smith has not been more lauded in Europe. and taken up by the French and the Italians. 11) George Sterling (b.(LAST OBLIVION p.

an ivory poison. Where white Astarte strays And Echo and the silver footed-fays Make alien music. The vision here that shines Seems not a fabric of our mortal day And Nature’s tireless loom. Or scarlet lips that drink from bowls of jade Slowly. By custom long defiled. Red as Adonis’ wound it seems. Circe. A sorceress who steals in white Along the cloudy parapets of night. But symbol of a loveliness supreme. By Syria mourned of old. Lilith. In every glade her ghostly pearl hath strewn” to the darkly morbid or decadent: “Yet as with blood thy bosom gleams. A god’s forgotten dream In alabaster told by elfin skill In caverns underneath a haunted hill. Adonis. Sterling’s is a poetry extolling strange beauty: “That Beauty’s flaming hands could shape in bloom So marvellous and delicate designs. ‘Echo and the silver-footed fays’).Grecian myth (‘[Lesbian valleys’.” Sterling’s imagery is capable of ranging from the most ethereal: “In evenings when the moon. Aphrodite. gods and goddesses of various cultures – Astarte. fugitive and wild. Or in some palace of enchantment hewn From crystal in the twilights of the moon. sweet and cold…” . Persephone.

felt impelled to defend his mentor’s decision to end his own life. except that Smith defends Sterling’s right to have committed suicide. Three.“A Wine of Wizardry” takes these qualities even further. Betrayed by lamps that nurse a sullen flame. lurk orbs that graven monsters clasp. (“George Sterling: An Appreciation” in Sterling. though it must be said that Smith’s imaginative gifts were all his own. where baleful cypresses make rich The bleeding sun’s phantasmagoric gules. Indeed. in a sustained flight of imagination quite extraordinary in its breathtaking beauty mingled with the outré. as was an early variant of that beginning . titled “To George Sterling: A Valediction” was evidently written after Sterling’s suicide in 1926. an act which had been complained of by some “smug critics”. Under the tutelage of George Sterling. Red-embered rubies smolder in the gloom. in the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine. Without. Smith. And livid roots writhe in the marble’s grasp. Are fungus tapers of the twilight witch (Seen by the bat above unfathomed pools) And tiger-lilies known to silent ghouls. all alike titled “To George Sterling” appear to date as early as 1910 or 1911 when Smith was in his early teens. THIRST OF SATAN). He described it as having “necromantic music. and splendours as of sunset on jewels and cathedral windows”. Squires publication To George Sterling contains five poems dedicated by Smith to his mentor. Smith’s own favourite passage from “Wine” was the following. Sterling felt that Smith’s talents may have outstripped his own. which exemplifies these qualities: “Within. In his essay in recollection of his mentor. As moaning airs invoke the conquered rust Of lordly helms made equal in the dust. The longest. Whose king hath digged a somber carcanet And necklaces with fevered opals set”. Smith writes that “I feel that there is really little that need be said”. The Roy A. though he didn’t have the suicidal inclinations of so many of the California Romantics (Sterling was not the only one to commit suicide – another was poetess Nora Mae French). Smith read “A Wine of Wizardry” as his first sample of Sterling’s work. Smith’s poetry blossomed.

” Sterling’s name. vaulted with perfume and with fire. ‘vultures of the soul’. We might well say the same of Smith and his work. The poem beginning “His song shall waken the dull-sleeping throng” is also a sonnet that sings Sterling’s praises. Smith is saying that his own poetry cannot match that of Sterling: “Yet though I breathe a fainter tone. pigs. apes. as music from a more enchanted period”. Where blossoms immarcescible in vespertine Strange amber air suspire. fetid-fingered ghouls. in the sunset years. by comparison to Sterling. whose flight is furled Upon oblivion’s nadir. Whose blooms in loftier soil are grown.“Deep are the chasmal years”. Like Memnon’s statue staring at the morn”. “A Valediction” compares those who have been left behind to all kinds of foul creatures: dogs. Smith’s paean to Sterling is lofty in its language: “They have no wings to follow thee. sings Smith “shall linger strangely. or some lost demesne Of the pagan dead. And bring to Beauty’s deathless shrine A lesser offering than thine. wine. saying he “soars with Beauty where the Eternal sings…” and concludes “The tangled webs of mortal death and Change Perish before his chanting lyric fire That gleams in the paling light of sinking suns” The six-stanza poem that begins “High priest of this our latter Song” is Smith humbly praising his mentor by diminishing the importance of his own voice. confronting Time in vastness musical. The poem beginning “What questioners have met the gaze of Time” is a sonnet that claims that Sterling’s fame “mid ruins desolate shall stand unworn. whom Smith holds “a lyric god”.” Yet perhaps his own attempts are not futile: “Mayhap the note that I have sung .

Is not in vain…” The poem beginning “Deep are the chasmal years and lustrums long” is a sad paean to the passing of Sterling and his unique talent. 2003. and as Smith’s guiding light in his early poetic career.T. WA: Starmont House. and couldn’t help but sing the world in the he aw it to be. A melancholy tone pervades the poem. 2003. THE THIRST OF SATAN: POEMS OF FANTASY AND TERROR.” We can see in these paeans to Sterling’s poetic genius a continuity of devotion on the part of Clark Ashton Smith. David E. one who wrote verse because he loved it. Sauk City.T. At the last. Ed. By S. Joshi: NY: Hippocampus Press. & Scott Connors (eds). References Behrends. CLARK ASHTON SMITH. Smith still held Sterling to be one of those who had heard poetry’s song. especially the ending: “Strange shells are found along that silent strand: Thou too hast often held them to thine ear And heard the baffled murmur of thy blood. 1990. Schultz. 2002. Steve. George. Clark Ashton. Schultz. The esteem in which Smith always continued to hold Sterling can be sense in the deep feeling behind the last poems. Ed by S. when Smith was a man and had established himself as a poet with his own great strengths. Sterling. with imagery regarding Sterling having built his cragfounded…Aeolian domes of song” beside the sea (the “lulling foam’s extremes”). SELECTED LETTERS OF CLARK ASHTON SMITH. THE LAST OBLIVION: BEST FANTASTIC POEMS OF CLARK ASHTON SMITH. Leigh Blackmore . NY: Hippocampus Press.Obedient to the Muse’s call. from the early verses penned in admiration of Sterling as the legitimate successor of the Poe-Baudelaire symbolist tradition in macabre verse. Joshi & David E. Smith. WI: Arkham House. Mercer Island.

10). In the sonnet. of course. so are morals here inverted.Clark Ashton Smith's Vision of Lucifer Clark Ashton Smith's "A Vision of Lucifer" brings to us a vision of a key Judaeo-Christian figure." (ll. born of the human dream. Lucifer is both herald. The first appearance of this imagery is in line three. and a fitting introduction to the theme of the inversion of morals. Just as light is darkness inverted. morning star.. That eighth line." and it is that human aspect that is emphasised." Here. Here. blank horizon.. "The mind's ideal" and "the spirit's sun. the context could provide another reading. where the figure of Lucifer appears "Deep in the shadows of a desolate land". life-affirming morality prevalent in pagan antiquity. there is an emphasis upon light and darkness in the sonnet. Normally. horizon. The sestet. just as it is extended to the eighth line. is equated with the sun. and darkness with ignorance of God and God's desires. God. it is he who is "brother. focuses almost solely upon Lucifer. to them. Further. for a poem about Lucifer the light-bringer. humanity is ideally desired to abase itself before God." is interesting. is associated with light. we find mention of the sun again. though.. There. and the bringer of light to humanity's spirit. 13-4) The final image of light and darkness is in the final line. it reminds us that Lucifer is Venus as the morning star. just as light is equated with knowledge of God. the lightbringer. and here it is the darkness "that is God. On another. as it has not risen yet. the image is of darkness. and God's designs for us. God himself is negatively defined." We may remember the figure of Prometheus. The next image occurs in the next line. There is no sun. On one hand. What the poet initially sees is "a shape with human form and face.. Lucifer. a figure sometimes equated to Lucifer in their shared rebellion against the god(s). and the spirit's sun. The idea of inversion in this sonnet occurs in the opening lines. and the poem as a whole helps us create Smith's concern with the man-god. Fittingly. in line twelve: "The mind's ideal.. and sun." (l.." yet this is a less likely reading in the end. God." This equation of God with darkness runs counter to and inverts the normative Judaeo-Christian iconography. he argued that Christian morality was an inversion of an "aristocratic". with its "sunless . is seen as the inversion of God. and this motif of inversion is key to a sympathetic reading of the poem. yet. here. counter to Judaeo-Christian desire. with this land being God's." Fire. and "sun. Set opposite . This inversion is a fitting end to the poem. if read aright. Simultaneously. and with his enemies. who stole fire from the gods for mortal humanity. presaging the sun's rise. But . and "A column of clear flame . The inversion of morals is rightly connected with the thought of Nietzsche." (l. 12). in Judaeo-Christian thought. it points towards an inversion. and inverts his standing to appeal to us as the archetypal Romantic hero. being "sunless" at the same time. as he is the ideal of humanity. The "man rebellious" of the immediately preceding line can be read as both "ideal". with its "sunless. in that of the "burning feet.

T. both images negative. in conventional Judaeo-Christian thought. rather than. not Lucifer to him. And here. principally. God is not "The mind's ideal" nor is he "the spirit's sun. Works cited Smith. light and darkness. Schultz. Here. This reminds us. At the same time. In this he serves as a role model for myself (for example. the "darkness that is God. playing upon our equations of light with knowledge." (l. 2002): 67. The final image. and this aspect of this sonnet that must be next to be examined. But note too. In a sense. In his: The Last Oblivion: Best Fantastic Poems of Clark Ashton Smith. and as a role model for those seeking to escape the stultifying slave morality of the Judaeo-Christian ethos. What have. that final. appropriately. 10) to us. What Smith has done is used imagery. as in this sonnet. in terms. (New York : Hippocampus Press. we are made in God's image. The author is an atheist. His commandments to Moses are. negatively defined." (l. by one who defines himself against Judaeo-Christian self-thought. Briefly. His is the "unknown rod. we are he embodied in clay. God is. With the privileging of light over darkness. God is defined just as Judaeo-Christian thought defines Satan as the enemy of God. is a viable alternative. unstated definition. born of human dream. blank horizon" (emphasis mine) of line eight. God has always been negatively defined. S. Joshi and David E. one who does not believe in God. This very brief examination of Smith's "A Vision of Lucifer" has been written." (l. as a result. Ellis . through the inversion of morals. Ed. that by negative. He does this further by inverting characteristics of God. of humanity). and at the same time elevated to godhood. a figure befitting those who desire to be called Antichrist. all "Thou shalt not". Clark Ashton. "A Vision of Lucifer. 12) Consistently. "brother. or lower. referring to Lucifer. For them. the "sunless." also conveys a sense of inversion. if there was to be a mythological figure befitting atheism. darkness with ignorance. and by characterising God negatively." Thus humanity has been elevated unto godhood. to help define his figure in an immediately accessible way. by refusing to capitalise the "he" and "him" of God. the inversion comes with the equation of God with darkness. it would be the light (and self-knowledge) bringing Lucifer of Smith's poem. he is equated with negative characteristics. God as knowledge and light is privileged darkness. emphasis mine). albeit here 11. with ignorance. I relegate him to the level. in the second line. ignorance and "the" enemy. in a negative way. Phillip A. telling image is among the most damaging of definitions of God. in a sense. This is a clear inversion of the relationships between human and divine. we read "If such should in apotheosis stand. What we have is a figure fittingly human in essence. humans magnified into divinity. of the Judaeo-Christian aetiology of humanity.

which got us here whence we flee in terror of ourselves. II Of course. The gender split gives grist enough for arguments ensuing wherever two or three humans gather in Anybody’s name. a future on some other planet. the collective human race. how shall we decide which Eves will go? Just this: we send twin pairs. will someday venture forth. not recreate.Some Future Home I No doubt we. determined in our will. finally. but will select a new Adam or two. a few new Eves to rebegin again (We had The Flood. . we can’t all go. III But how shall we select those choice Adams. perhaps entice this new planet to live. Having blown this earth to hell or rotted it beneath our feet. remember?) and this time. remake our history. amen. thereby halving gene-pool errors first and all must be one race. say thirty pairs. colonize some future home. certain our mistakes will not replay. to get it right. (By God!) create. which our terra victim could not do. we will rush forth. We know.

or spite. VI The sixty should comprise a team as follows: a poet and a doctor of each gender to heal them in the mind and in the flesh. they must be calm. prophets.IV And our new ‘nauts must not be predisposed to study law or other stiff pursuits depending on the rules of confrontation or hinging on coercion. merchants. lest they learn its catalyst (the War) and thus fall victim to the old temptation to prove their manner better than was ours at waging it — for better reasons. say — perhaps to control the population explosion. and various wrights — no preachers. and fifty farmers. But they must be brave and dark complected so to stand the sun or suns in that new land. thugs. at peace. millers. where young men go there go their daughters and their sons et al. V These sixty souls should know no history. or politicians. bullying. and know the art of compromise. a baker pair or two. a fictionist of either voice to show them flaws before the flaws can show themselves. for we know. VII And these things should they have at their disposal: . revenge. builders.

Harvey Stanbrough. leaves. a fear of atom smashing and of lightning and other things that make them think of gods or other sundry laming crutches. shape a dream. humor. but forge another in that future home. whether it goes in skin or scales. tired. feathers.a knowledge of the underground constructs of architecture and of literature. VIII Believe this: we will venture forth. the stars we could not touch before. bold. dreams. and finally carve a future. and respect for all that lives. Believe in this and seed the cosmos with the soul of man. and fail to settle with one destiny. previously published in: Beyond the Masks . or fur. Believe in this and soar past heavens. determined.

our failing minds atrophied and dying. and volumes ricochet off metal. have sex sans bodies. life in general. observe with folded hands. and this. tigers. We speak. We rise. We rise. travel through a desert without feeling sand. except to bow before the fine machine. Harvey Stanbrough. tap our lines and lives on plastic keys. and through a jungle without fear of lions.We Rise. previously published in: Beyond the Masks . channeled into artificial minds. is the greatest season of mankind. fall aside. Jack Williamson warned us once before that life might hang precariously by a plug: Now our greatest season passes by us driven by the bold machines we’ve made as we. for no good reason. our wealth of knowledge siphoned into fledgling robots. throughout the cyber-spatial netherworld. e-mail all our friends. Once-noble thoughts diminish. . remarkably. . save ourselves on disk (no need for Jesus). remarkably. in no Great Season.” ~ an Electronics Technology professor We rise. the Age of Technology. with no great passion. rise to mediocrity. the meek. dependent on the spiritless machines. having dreamed ourselves into a corner. Remarkably for Jack Williamson “. remarkably.

It was gone as suddenly as it appeared. majestic and proud And the mist was her.” she muttered. I couldn’t breathe. looking at us. And that fog. she sat quietly Still shaken from it all. It’s eyes were red as coals.” Still on we went through shaded groves Until a rustling brought us to a halt. “It’s eyes. she smiled at me.The Woods We came to a fork in the woods. at home. The stag was Herne. “Freezing it was. “Not there. “It’s bad down there. And what is more. in all her wondrous beauty. “The stag. A gentle mist flowed around us And a stag crossed the way Pausing briefly. Later.” she said. trembling.” I shook my head in wonder. Kirsten Bergen .” she moaned.

where celestial objects arise from their coffins at night. the makers. where all horrors transcend the celluloid and we. I have been pulled into orbit around discord and chaos. where cosmic vibrations flow from a troubled house. Cameron Pierce . I have been pulled into orbit around discord and chaos.This Theatre I have been pulled into orbit around discord and chaos. where primordial terror howls at every moon. I have been pulled into orbit around discord and chaos.

hubris. whose spectres span the untold ages. upon the same earth. L. fled to find a world minus the stain of humans.Sonnet It’s said the gods once walked with common man. the gods departed. mutual plan. left this rock to rot beneath polluted skies and ways of waste. The gods departed. devolve in unseemly haste upon a world where only evil stays. from shame. the gods divorced themselves from lands mundane. Little trace remains to mark its ancient cities. S. deeds that wise men ban. By strange. mayhaps. else by holy plot. Fisher . same land and plain that led to death. left both man and maid to vainly pray.

just as the first ever Robert E. Howard. Searight. reflecting on the young writer’s unexpected suicide: “Poor Two-Gun! Tough. Another description by the weird tale writer from Providence rings just as true: “It is hard to say just what made his stories stand out so. In Shadow Kingdoms. the first of a planned ten volume series of Howard’s weird works (stories and poems). with the well-penned Kull stories “The Shadow Kingdom” and the mesmerising “The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune” (both 1929). by Robert E. of the characters portrayed are always interesting.) This description is quite telling of how the writer of Conan the Barbarian (as that famous character is most known nowadays) was. Texas. Wildside Press. I think. I think.” published September 16 in JAPM: The Poetry Weekly. Lovecraft wrote to one of his correspondents of Robert E. he must have been highly emotional & morbidly sensitive at bottom. PA. ISBN -80951097-0. I can just imagine someone reading . USA. 1. initial years one sees remarkable progress—the more remarkable because of Howard’s impressive skills even in the first tales (few 18-year old kids can boast of such high writing skills at such an early age). the philosophical nature. wellworn devices to put out a story above average is remarkable. Edited by Paul Herman.” (Loc. we witness the humble beginning of this career. Introduction by Mark Finn. In 1936 H. was a talent of unprecedented quality. A combination he later perfected—but we witness them already in this volume. Even with fairly average story lines and the occasional.’ Vol. Holicong. from the first story published in Weird Tales in July 1925. To witness this young writer again and again dealing with typical horror story elements such as werewolves and ghosts. Howard fans got to read them. Howard. 206 pages. “Spear and Fang” to 1929s fantasy poem “Red Thunder. 83.) When reading the stories in this new collection one recognizes that these characterizations of REH are all present. hairy-chested & eat-’em-alive as he seemed to be. Hardcover. Even in these few. Mark Finn puts it very well when he says that “You will witness a miraculous transformation as you read these stories. p.A Humble Beginning Shadow Kingdoms. Howard.” (Letters to Richard F. today outdated story—such as the early “Spear and Fang”—the immediate rawness of his language and the thoughtfulness. and seeing how each and every time he improves using these old. yet he obviously kept improving and honing his techniques. P.cit. showing beyond any doubt that from the very beginning the tough guy from Cross Plains. ‘The Weird Works of Robert E. In the brief but substantial Introduction. but the real secret is that he was in every one of them himself. I personally really appreciate that the presentation of the stories are in order of publication instead of the order they were written.

) Incredible. I have no doubt that Finn is just as right when he notes that this improvement can also be attributed to Howard’s keen eye on what the readers wanted: “because of [Weird Tales’] loosely defined theme and generous reader comment in every issue. to Howard’s legacy—then such details need to be worked out in future volumes. and not just month and year. But since this volume clearly wants to add something more. too demanding.” (p. something scholary (if you will).) Maybe it’s common knowledge to die-hard Robert E. indeed.) I admit that I am not as appreciative of Howard’s poetry as Finn would like me to be—to me it inevitably fails short of. I suppose that to many who read these stories “just” as entertainment that’s of no importance at all. Clark Ashton Smith’s. Still—this is a splendid publication. of course—and one I am sure can easily be Googled on the internet nowadays. say. Howard’s pen & imagination? Henrik Harksen . But perhaps that’s just me being too critical.” (p. A larger annoyance to me was. he was able to get a sense of what worked and what didn’t. 8. but for everyone else that’s a remark that demands explication of some sort. that in his otherwise well-written Introduction Finn merely states that Weird Tale editor Farnsworth Wright “wrote encouraging things to [Howard]” (p. however. Howard fans what these “things” were and just when they were written. and it can only be recommended. I also admit that it would have been nice if editor Paul Herman had also told us about the volume of each magazine the stories and poems appeared in.King Kull for the first time and thinking. at the very least a note of reference. And Howard got better after that. this is as good as it gets!” and then reading the first Conan story […] three years later. 9. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if today’s young readers of fantasy finally got to know the true power of dark fantasy writing—the power that is Robert E. But that is really a minor complaint. I certainly hope it becomes popular enough to see completion. 11. “Boy. thank you.

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