Letter on Clark Ashton Smith

George F. Haas

My sincerest congratulations and best wishes on the publication of the long-awaited Bibliography of the works of Clark Ashton Smith. I can fully appreciate the dedication, the labor of love and the long, hard years of research entailed in its production. Here is a work that will be of incalculable value to the researcher, the devotee and the collector. Here, preserved for all posterity, is a record of the literary works of one who was unique in our time; of one who has left us the legacy of a maze of incomparable beauty, weirdness and fantasy in which we can wander and rejoice.

For pure, unadulterated weirdness, few writers, in my opinion, have ever approached him; none have equaled him. Others have given us stories of the macabre, of horror, of fantasy, but none have approached Clark Ashton Smith in that unique and magic weirdness that is his trademark. To read him is to be transported, totally, into realms unearthly, unknown, and limitless of time and space. His style is magical; his best prose so polished it defies addition or deletion of a single word. His poems, each and every one, are masterpieces of incomparable imagery where weirdness radiates from every line.

His writings, both prose and poetry, are not for the casual reader; they are for the epicure, the connoisseur. Let him who complains of any alleged obscurity rise to their level to be gorged and surfeited with a diet of unparalleled and unholy visions, the like of which does not exist in all literature. His interplanetary stories stand alone and aloof above all others. He had the rare ability to travel mentally in both time and space and the rarer ability to carry the reader with him. Few writers have approached his vision, his insight, his cosmic conceptions. His scenes of other dimensions, his denizens of other worlds are truly alien.

His sculptures, brilliantly executed in a bold, primitive style, have the subtle suggestion of other times, other places. One would expect to dig them up in the ruins of Yoh-Vombis, or in the forgotten cities of the mist-shrouded Venusian plains. One feels they should not be here. They exhale the demoniac breaths of an alien, lost Atlantis; they exude the wild weirdness of a monstrous Mu.

His paintings and drawings hang on few walls but many of the latter were published in the old and fabled Weird Tales. Like the sculptures and the literary works, they, too, reflect the indescribable magic that is peculiar to Klarkash-Ton.

Again, my heart-felt thanks and sincerest congratulations for giving us this magnificent enrolment of the works of the Master of Fantasy.


From: Emperor of Dreams: A Clark Ashton Smith Bibliography, Donald Sidney-Fryer. Donald M. Grant, 1978.

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