Short Sorcery: Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Last Incantation”
Dec18

Short Sorcery: Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Last Incantation”

Short Sorcery: Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Last Incantation” by Bill Ward Clark Ashton Smith’s first great literary love, his calling even, was poetry. His artistic inclinations, the themes and images that fired his blood, were for the fantastical, the mythic, and the wildly imaginative.   But fever dreams of baroque lands and sinister sorcery were fast becoming passe among the literary mainstream of his time, and so...

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Words Weird and Wonderful: Clark Ashton Smith’s Averoigne
Dec11

Words Weird and Wonderful: Clark Ashton Smith’s Averoigne

Words Weird and Wonderful: Clark Ashton Smith’s Averoigne by Bill Ward In a recent jaunt through Averoigne I was struck again by Clark Ashton Smith’s extraordinary vocabulary. He was clearly a collector of words and, reportedly, as a precocious young genius with an eidetic memory he read Webster’s 13th unabridged dictionary cover-to-cover – but more importantly he studied it. From the odd to the uncommon, from the...

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Clark Ashton Smith’s Averoigne
Nov06

Clark Ashton Smith’s Averoigne

Clark Ashton Smith’s Averoigne by Bill Ward Today we look at one of the iconic settings created by Clark Ashton Smith: Averoigne. This setting was the basis for Castle Amber, and has proven to be a major influence on much of the fantasy genre. “The very winds appeared to shun the vicinity of the dread castle. An unseen, clammy cloud of paralyzing evil hung removeless upon all things; and the pale, swollen moon, the patroness of...

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Where to Start With Clark Ashton Smith
Nov03

Where to Start With Clark Ashton Smith

Where to Start With Clark Ashton Smith by Bill Ward ‘Barrier to entry’ can be a very real thing standing between newer audiences and writers of the past. Readers used to today’s marketing categories or publication norms can easily be overwhelmed when trying to get a handle on something like the prodigious short fiction of a pulp-era writer with a convoluted publication history. Likewise, they might find themselves...

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