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the function of human corpses in CAS's short stories
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 28 August, 2020 08:58PM
Cheerful dinnertime least here on the west coast of the US... :^)

I can recall reading a reviewer or some other such commentator saying something like "...and Smith loves his well-rotted corpses...".

The tone, if I actually am recalling the comment correctly, made it sound as if there was a sort of immature fascination with the ol' gross out, as per a modern slasher-type film--American International and the like.

I don't see it that way, at all.

Off the top of my head, CAS used human corpses in two distinct fashions, neither of which has ever struck me as inducing squeamishness simply for the gross out factor.

1) To convey antiquity. In this sense he used them as props to heighten the sense of the ancient, as in many Zothique tales, and also in The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis. They were very effective at suggesting a long passage of time in a dry climate.

2) As an object of circumscribed, prohibited sorcery, as in necromancy. You see this in the Empire of the Necromancers, where he goes so far as to link the two foul necromancers to necrophilia (yech!), but also in that story where a young maiden is kidnapped and sold, but her ship sinks and she is reanimated as a fair, beautiful pearl diver.

These are very superficial thoughts (dinner beckons!) and I'm interested in your thoughts/impressions.

"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

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