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Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: cathexis (IP Logged)
Date: 12 October, 2009 03:19PM
Greetings,

I'd like to ask a few questions on this series;
1. Is it really definitive (meaning complete, unedited, solely CAS-written stories)?

2. Is volume five the final volume in the series?

3. Does anyone know if any special collectors-type set of all five volumes will be offered?

4. How does it rate here on the forum?

Please accept my thanks in advance,

Cathexis

Re: Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 12 October, 2009 04:11PM
I shall take this as my excuse to rant about Night Shade in general, and the Smith series in particular. Night Shade Books not only have problems producing volumes in a timely fashion; when the things do appear they are considerably more amateurishly designed than the output of comparable small presses. The Smith books are difficult to read because of clashing typefaces and main text that is set in lines that are too long for comfort. The lettering on the spine of the dust-jacket of Vol 4 is in a different color from that of the earlier volumes, breaking the uniformity of presentation.

But compared to the William Hope Hodgson collection from the same publisher the Smith series is a triumph of aesthetics and readability. The Hodgson books are absurd monstrosities bound in dark blue plastic inlaid with some kind of silvery stuff that comes off on your hands when you handle them. I suggest you wear gloves while reading them; that stuff could likely kill you.

Re: Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: Kyberean (IP Logged)
Date: 12 October, 2009 04:46PM
1. Barring the unlikely discovery of a new cache of CAS manuscripts, the Night Shade series is the best and most complete collection, as well as the one most in tune with CAS's original intentions, that we are likely to get.

2. Volume Five is the final volume in the series, but there is an additional volume of non-weird output, entitled, I believe, Tales of India and Irony (or vice versa) that will also be produced. It was supposed to be only for subscribers to the five-volume set, but my understanding is that individual copies will be available to non-subscribers.

3. I've heard no word about any such collectors' set. Check the Night Shade Web site.

4. Most here seem to be very pleased with the collection. I am reasonably happy with the volumes I have received, but I am not happy with the publication schedule. (I would add that the delays with volume five are not the publisher's or the editors' fault).

I would also add the following:

A. The set will likely not be perfect, in terms of an uncorrupted text free of typographical errors--though I realize that finding such a beast would rate with discovering a live Dodo, these days. No doubt, however, that this forum's very own Martinus will do his usual thorough job of ferreting out typos and other inconsistencies, and will make them available in the form of an errata list.

B. The cover "artwork" by Jason van Hollander is dreadfully childish and "fannish", in my opinion.

Hope this helps.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12 Oct 09 | 04:48PM by Kyberean.

Re: Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 12 October, 2009 05:01PM
As regards the first question---given that I, in common with most members here, do not have access to the original manuscripts and other relevant materials, how could I have an opinion on the completeness and authoritativeness of the collection? I have no reason to doubt the assertions of the editors, of course, but as such the question is meaningless.

Re: Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: cathexis (IP Logged)
Date: 13 October, 2009 09:59AM
Jojo & Kyberean,

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply. Both were very helpful. Taking the hint, I went over to the
Night Shade site and made my way to their forum where I found this post by one Scott Connors:

Quote:
Posted on Friday, February 03, 2006 - 02:55 am:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Volume one of the Night Shade Books edition of Clark Ashton Smith's Collected Fantasies is almost finished. The first volume took a little bit longer than expected because of difficulties in obtaining copies of the relevant manuscripts and typescripts from various institutions; certain repositories, it seems, are sadly deficient in facilities for making microfilms of their holdings, and when the microfilm department themselves has its own project underway that takes priority, that just pushes everything else back. We're aimming for a Valentine's Day completion date.

Also, I recently experienced a recurrence of an on-going problem with depression that basically caused progress to grind to a halt. I am back on my meds now, and the mental block that prevented me from working on anything not related to my regular occupation (ironically, I'm a psychiatric nurse...) has been removed, so things are flowing again. I apologize for this delay, and extend my apologies to you all.

It looks as if we should be able to release two, (possibly three) volumes this year. This is meticulous work, involving comparison of surviving typescripts with published versions and with successive drafts, establishing a style-sheet regularizing Smith's often inconsistent usages, and attempting to restore material excised for editorial reasons while retaining those revisions from later revisions that look to be for aesthetic reasons and not to satisfy editorial caprices in order to ensure a sale. Both Ron Hilger and I are checking each story, and we have a constant dialogue underway concerning the changes we discover. We've also been fortunate to acquire access to some mss in private hands that provide significant insights into CAS's writing process.

It is our intent that this be as definitive an edition of Smith's fantasies as is possible, restoring his authorial intent insofar as this possible to determine. It is well worth waiting for. Thank you all for your patience.

Best wishes,
Scott Connors
Series Editor

Speaking as another male RN with twenty-five years experience including eighteen in I.C.U. I found Scott's info
very helpful even if his confessional was kinda, "T.M.I." (Too Much Information).

Jojo, I don't think the question you addressed in your 2nd reply is meaningless. It is very important. You yourself
used the phrase, "most members here" which goes to the point that, as a Newbie, I simply don't know what the level
of scholarship or editorial involvement regarding Night Shade Books might be present in the Forum. I was not trying
to presume what you ought to know but just leaving the door open for what the Group in general might know. I hope
that clears that up and your informed rants are always welcome. I went ahead and ordered the "Buy-all-Three" deal
on Vols. 1,2,and 3 from Amazon for a good price and free shipping and they ought to be here before Halloween.

BIG THX.!

Cathexis

Re: Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 14 October, 2009 11:13AM
Kyberean Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> A. The set will likely not be perfect, in terms of
> an uncorrupted text free of typographical
> errors--though I realize that finding such a beast
> would rate with discovering a live Dodo, these
> days. No doubt, however, that this forum's very
> own Martinus will do his usual thorough job of
> ferreting out typos and other inconsistencies, and
> will make them available in the form of an errata
> list.
>

Thanks for your confidence in me. :) I've just started on "The Dark Eidolon" and so far it looks very good -- there are very few typos in the stories this time. However, I won't be posting anything myself; I'll pass my list on to Scott and Ron so they can weed out all the cases where I'm handicapped by my incomplete knowledge of CAS's English.

Re: Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: Kyberean (IP Logged)
Date: 14 October, 2009 08:24PM
I just obtained volume four of the collected fantasies, The Maze of the Enchanter. As I have always done after receiving these books, I have been scanning the notes for interesting background information about the tales.

So far, I have found the following gems:

Page 298: "includung this tale"

Page 303: "an interesting yopic".

Please, let the stories themselves be in better shape!

Re: Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 15 October, 2009 02:51AM
Kyberean Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So far, I have found the following gems:
>
> Page 298: "includung this tale"
>
> Page 303: "an interesting yopic".
>
> Please, let the stories themselves be in better
> shape!

Yes, I noticed those too (I always check the accompanying note after doing the story). But the stories are in much better shape this time. The worst I found so far is a "status" for "statue" in "The Disinterment of Venus".

Re: Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 15 October, 2009 06:25AM
I would entirely echo everything said by Kyberean here. Aesthetically they're not perfect. The covers look a bit dowdy to me, although I did think the cover art on the last vol (4) was a distinct improvement.

I'd also agree with Jojo re: the sheer amount of text per page being not the most pleasant of reading experiences, but not the worst I've experienced either.

But I don't want to sound too negative, overall I like them a lot.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 15 Oct 09 | 06:27AM by The English Assassin.

Re: Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: cathexis (IP Logged)
Date: 19 October, 2009 09:30PM
Just a little follow-up Folks,

I got my delivery of vols. 1-3 the other day and was anxious to compare them againest some
of the criticism you have given in this thread. Remember I'm a Newbie to CAS so if I miss
something obvious than, mea culpa.

The binding, typeface, and overall print work seemed fine to me. They seem like a quality set.
I started off with "City of the Singing Flame" as I'm familar with it and could compare line-
lengths with the copy in, "Return of the Sorcerer" pb I also own. They ARE oddly measured lines !
Especially in longer descriptive paragraphs (like the approach to the singing flame by the "moths"),
there is a sense that they are about a beat and a half too long. I wasn't uncomfortable reading it
and I'm not all that annoyed by it but it is there. I think it has to do with the sing-song in CAS's
language that gives it an odd lope in the Night Shade pages. But since I'm new I haven't formed any
set way of wanting to read the stories so it is not that big a deal for me. (Your mileage may vary.)

The other odd thing were kinda amateurish-looking covers. I like his backgrounds but drawing people is
definitely not the artist's forte. That was Hitler's problem as an artist too but we won't go there.
Am I the only one to notice the mousey-looking guy on the cover of vols. 1& 2 is the same guy in almost
the same pose? Raised and pointing left hand and all? Tell me it is from a story and the artist is just
being clever. And who is that guy on the cover of Vol. three? Looks a little like somebody we all know?
Be that CAS his-self y'all? Again, maybe an in-joke this Newbie is missing. Come to think of it, all
THREE guys on the covers could be CAS. Musta had a very dreary life by the look of him on those covers.
I thought CAS was a Ladies Man. This guy looks like he needs to get laid in a major way.

But I'm still glad they came and I'm having a blast reading them. Haven't noticed any typos yet.
My only regret? I can't get a set autographed by the Author. <sigh>

Cathexis

Re: Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: NightHalo (IP Logged)
Date: 19 October, 2009 09:42PM
Hi Cathexis,

The man on the covers of the Collected Fantasies is CAS. Volume 1 and 2 are his youthful looks while the 3rd is him as an older man. Check out the gallery here and you will see the familiar visage.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 19 Oct 09 | 09:44PM by NightHalo.

Re: Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: asshurbanipal (IP Logged)
Date: 25 October, 2009 05:15PM
I've got Volumes 1-4 and I like 'em. I like 'em lots. What I hate is having to wait so long. As a result I've decided (after I get volume 5) not to buy any more books from Night Shade (sorry guys) as I may not live long enough to receive them. Back to CAS - yes, they're great. I also have the Arkham House titles, and I shall take time to go through the tales line for line and see what makes NSB the definitive version. Volume 5 should be out by the time I've done that. To digress, I also have NSB's volumes of letters by HPLovecraft, again very nicely done but they never got past volume 2. Come to think of it, if they publish further titles in the series I shall have to buy them. So much for resolutions. Peace in Tsathoggua.

Re: Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 25 October, 2009 06:37PM
I like the CAS fantasies volumes so far - restored texts, informative notes, cover art making use of CASian sculptures. Nicely done, even though I wish they had been just a little more careful and had an extra pair of eyes proofread these.

As to the letter volumes. I agree that what they published was nicely done, and I do not know why the other volumes have gone to other publishers - Barlow to University of Tampa, Derleth and Howard to Hippocampus - which have done at least as well with their own volumes (though I have not yet seen the Howard). Not sure why Mr. Joshi took these volumes to other publishers.

Jim

Re: Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: Kyberean (IP Logged)
Date: 25 October, 2009 06:40PM
Quote:
Not sure why Mr. Joshi took these volumes to other publishers.

Perhaps because he wanted to see them published during his lifetime?

Re: Regarding: "Collected Fantasies"
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 26 October, 2009 08:14AM
jimrockhill2001 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> As to the letter volumes. I agree that what they
> published was nicely done, and I do not know why
> the other volumes have gone to other publishers -
> Barlow to University of Tampa, Derleth and Howard
> to Hippocampus - which have done at least as well
> with their own volumes (though I have not yet seen
> the Howard). Not sure why Mr. Joshi took these
> volumes to other publishers.

My memory is a bit hazy, but I'll give it a try.

Night Shade books announced the HPL/AWD letters as the next volume in their series -- at least semi-officially, in their forum or some place like that. But their distributor thought the project wouldn't be profitable enough, so it was axed. Hence the move to other publishers.

University of Tampa Press got the HPL/RHB letters because they wanted to publish a book relating to Florida matters, and Sean Donnelly (the editor), who is an old amateur journalist, approached Joshi and asked to publish the HPL/RHB letters.

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