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Further Reading
Posted by: Francis D'Eramo (IP Logged)
Date: 2 April, 2002 03:31PM
As Gavin knows, I used to belong to the Zothique Nights egroup. At one point I asked the group for suggestions about further reading for someone who was a CAS fan. I got the sort of suggestions that I might have expected (Jack Vance, Mervyn Peake). One member also suggested "Throne of Bones" by Brian McNaughton. I read this, and I recommend it highly. McNaughton was quite obviously influenced by CAS, which he acknowledges, but the book is by no means a CAS pastiche.

If anyone else has any suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them.

Re: Further Reading
Posted by: Boyd Pearson (IP Logged)
Date: 2 April, 2002 05:29PM
I Loved "Throne of Bones" but have herd mixed things about McNaughton's other works so if any one could suggest what other of his works to read and not to read that would be good.

Re: Further Reading
Posted by: Francis D'Eramo (IP Logged)
Date: 2 April, 2002 05:56PM
I read two other collections by McNaughton, "Nasty Stories" and "More Nasty Stories." There was a story in a quasi-medieval setting, and a sequel to "The Colossus of Ylourgne." There was also a good Cthulhu Mythos story about the Children of Dagon. Otherwise they were mostly in contemporary settings.

Re: Further Reading
Posted by: Ron Hilger (IP Logged)
Date: 2 April, 2002 11:00PM
I would be very interested to read this sequel to "Colossus" by McNaughton, what is the title of this story? I also enjoyed "Throne of Bones" but I did think the morbid ghoulishness and sexual perversity was overdone in several of the stories. Really, it was unneccesary considering the strength of McNaughton's style and the fascinating setting of these stories, IMHO.
-Ron

Re: Further Reading
Posted by: George Hager (IP Logged)
Date: 3 April, 2002 09:36AM
:-|

I see the same sort of hit-or-miss writing from so many authors of my favorite books. I loved the entire Dying Earth series from Jack Vance, and most of his short stories, but I can't seem to choke down much of his outer space sci fi.

I'll have to explore this McNaughton dude. Thanks for the suggestion.

Re: Further Reading
Posted by: Francis D'Eramo (IP Logged)
Date: 3 April, 2002 12:12PM
It was called "The Return of the Colossus," and it's in "Even More Nasty Stories." But even though it features the very Colossus of Ylourgne, it is thematically very different than the CAS story.

Re: Further Reading
Posted by: Boyd Pearson (IP Logged)
Date: 3 April, 2002 02:43PM
Vance - ick i just don't like him thou every one compares him to cas i just don,t get it

"sexual perversity " of Brain i like a lot Ron - but then I'm reading Filth by Irving Welsh at the moment and loving it.

No one has mentioned Poppy Z Brite yet so i will. "His mouth will taste of wormwood" was my first introduction to here in the Cthulhu 2000 anthology and i loved it. There are some great pictures of her on the net too.

B.:-D

Re: Further Reading
Posted by: Francis D'Eramo (IP Logged)
Date: 3 April, 2002 05:37PM
I've always loved Vance. There's not a more unique voice in science fiction or fantasy. He's had some tremedous ideas, like the worlds of "The Dragon Masters" and "The Last Castle." Conversely, he's written some space operas with unoriginal plots, but even these are saved his writing style. He and CAS are similar in the exotic qualities they give to their secondary worlds, and in the sense of irony that pervades their stories.

Vance, I am told, denies being influenced by CAS.

Re: Further Reading
Posted by: George Hager (IP Logged)
Date: 4 April, 2002 04:56PM
<<No one has mentioned Poppy Z Brite yet so i will.>>

Hey, Poppy & I both have ties to Chapel Hill and New Orleans, and are of a similar age. No doubt we know some of the same people. Maybe I've even seen her naked on stage, or vice versa.

Re: Further Reading
Posted by: George Hager (IP Logged)
Date: 4 April, 2002 05:45PM
And once again, the link between horror and food stares us boldly in the face. PZB's husband is a chef.

Re: Further Reading
Posted by: Anonymous User (IP Logged)
Date: 9 April, 2002 05:31PM
Another suggestion is Gary Myers, whose HOUSE OF THE WORM was put out by Arkham House. Sort of a mix between Dunsany and CAS, very good stuff. He also has a story in THE NEW LOVECRAFT CIRCLE anthology edited by Robert Price for F&B which is very strongly redolent of CAS.

Re: Further Reading
Posted by: Ron Hilger (IP Logged)
Date: 10 April, 2002 11:49PM
After hearing that Gene Wolfe's "Shadow of the Torturer" and other New Sun books were similar to CAS, I picked some of them up. While I liked the first two books in the series (and plan to read the next two as well) I see no resemblance to CAS in either style or plot. While Wolfe's creation is set in a far future world like Zothique, the two are distinctly different in concept.
Still, I feel rewarded in picking up these books, they are certainly great reading. However, I did not care for Wolfe's contribution in "The Last Continent". I thought this tale was more like some weird western than a fantasy set in CAS' Zothique.
-Ron

Re: Further Reading
Posted by: George Hager (IP Logged)
Date: 11 April, 2002 10:45AM
I think CAS is one among many of Gene Wolfe's influences. I can see some H.P. Lovecraft there, perhaps some Bradbury, and much, much influence from early mystery writers. In the end, he has his own voice.

I haven't gotten <i>The Last Continent</i> yet, but I really want to read it. I suppose there are a couple of reasons the story didn't seem like CAS's work. He probably didn't feel like researching every detail of Zothique to avoid contradicting CAS, and everyone knows that copycats get no respect in the literary world.

Were other stories in the book more attuned to the original Zothique?

Re: Further Reading
Posted by: Boyd Pearson (IP Logged)
Date: 11 April, 2002 04:28PM
:-( I was owed a copy of The Last Continent by Bereshith for some work I did for them but they never paid up.

I agree that Wolf's resemblance to CAS is tenuous at best but he is one of my favourite fantasy authors now even if I don't always know what is going on in the story.

I think they only resemblance really is the setting of the 'new sun'

B.

Re: Further Reading
Posted by: Jim Rockhill (IP Logged)
Date: 15 April, 2002 11:51AM
McNaughton's "The Return of the Colossus" was first published in WEIRDBOOK #29. It is entertaining, but not up to the tale that inspired it. I completely forgot the plot and characters shortly after reading it. The best thing I have read by McNaughton remains the linked series of tales from which the book THE THRONE OF BONES takes its name. Individually some of these tales may not seem like much more than exercises in grue, but the cumulative effect of the complex interlinks between one tale and another is impressive.

I believe it was wise on the part of the publisher to place S. T. Joshi's remarks on the tales as an afterward to this book, because the following statement seems guaranteed to make anyone truly familiar with Smith's prose tales dislike McNaughton's book prior to reading any of the tales:

"Perhaps Clark Ashton Smith, with his delightful mixing of morbidity and humour and his evocative use of language, is the chief influence on McNaughton; but let me say bluntly that, in my hunmble opinion, McNaughton is a better prose writer than Smith."

I have nothing against McNaughton's prose, which seems perfectly in tune with the tales in this book, but I fail to find any passage in THE THRONE OF BONES that is superior to the prose in "The Maze of Maal Dweb", "Xeethra", either of the Malygris tales, "The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqqan", etc.

Jim

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