Clark Ashton Smith

“While Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Joyce, Stein, H. D., and Stevens explored new ways to map human experience and interior-reflection, Smith abandoned any belief that human dreams, history, and character concealed any deep meaning at all. Instead he boldly marched off into his fantastic, improbable visions of a far-future earth populated by dueling necromancers, kings crowned with the feathers of exotic birds, islands of party-hearty torturers, invisible cities populated by invisible monsters, and remote civilizations crumbling into golden dust, presided over by immortal demons, monsters, and errant space-explorers. In fact, Smith’s imagination often journeyed so far beyond the acceptable boundaries of both realism and fantasy that only the most dedicated readers could pay it the attention it deserved…

…Smith’s prose requires patience, care, and a good sense of humor. As you continue to read, the sound of his words and sentences grows persuasive and hypnotic, pulsing with strangeness. His stories refuse to operate as parables, or to present essential truths; they only want to make sense as stories to those readers brave and irresponsible enough to venture into them.”

—Scott Bradfield, “The Bard of Auburn: Getting Weird in the Long Valley.” LARB. March 3, 2018.