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Which of Smith's stories were his favorites?
Posted by: taoofjord (IP Logged)
Date: 19 May, 2014 10:49PM
I'm currently reading through the collected fantasies series and enjoying Smith's stories immensely (the vast majority of which I'm reading for the first time). Even in his lesser stories I almost always find multiple things to like. But as I read through these I'm left wondering what Smith though of each of them. I'll likely dig into a biography of him down the road, but if someone could sate my curiosity for the time being I'd greatly appreciate it!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 19 May 14 | 11:02PM by taoofjord.

Re: Which of Smith's stories were his favorites?
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 20 May, 2014 01:21AM
In part I'm responding to what I assume was the original version of this post, which showed up in my mailbox (the text there differs considerably from what is here). On the subject of articles... you might want to consider, first, those here on the site, particularly (given your questions) that under the heading of "Biographies", though the "Criticism" section might also be of interest. Then there is Eric Barker's piece in Donald Sidney-Fryer's Emperor of Dreams: A Clark Ashton Smith Bibliography. Also look into E. Hoffmann Price's Book of the Dead which, as I recall, deals with Smith more than once. And even L. Sprague de Camp's Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers may be something you'd find to your taste, with its chapter on the "Sierran Shaman". Dr. Farmer and others would surely be able to suggest a great many more, but these may help to get you started....

Re: Which of Smith's stories were his favorites?
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 21 May, 2014 08:25AM
Smith on "The Dark Eidolon": "A devil of a story, and if Wright knows his mandrakes, he certainly ought to take it on. If the thing could ever be filmed . . . it might be a winner for diabolic drama and infernal spectacles." "Contains some of my best imaginitive writing."

Smith on "The Testament of Athammaus": "I shall feel rather peeved if Wright turns it down; since it is about as good as I can do in the line of unearthly horror." "I really think he (or it) is about my best monster to date."

Smith on "The Plutonian Drug": "Among my best in the field of science-fiction." "It was certainly tough writing, and I'm still a little groggy."

Smith on "The Monster of the Prophecy": "One of my favorite yarns." "Absolutely novel in interplanetary fiction." "The result of a definite inspiration."

Smith on "The Chain of Aforgomon": "A devilishly hard yarn to write . . . a most infernal chore, since the original inspiration seems to have gone cold, leaving the tale as immalleable as chilled iron."

Smith on "The Root of Ampoi": "A dud."

Smith on "The Amazing Planet": "I'll give them their 'action' this time!!!"

You may find further comments in his letters. Crypt of Cthulhu #26 gathered together comments for most of his fiction.

With some difficulty he made a selection of his best work for Out of Space and Time, Arkham House (1942).

Re: Which of Smith's stories were his favorites?
Posted by: taoofjord (IP Logged)
Date: 21 May, 2014 01:16PM
Thanks for the info! It's quite amusing reading his comments on his own stories.

Re: Which of Smith's stories were his favorites?
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 22 May, 2014 08:28AM
Steve Behrends has an excellent piece in CRYPT OF CTHULHU #26, entitled "An Annotated Chronology of Smith's Fiction" in which he includes Smith's remarks to various correspondents about the relative merits of his stories. It is interesting to note that although it has received a lot of bad press lately, Smith wrote the following about "Beyond the Singing Flame" - "Strikes me as the best thing I have written recently." [6/30/1931] during a very productive year.

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