Letter to H. P. Lovecraft

From Clark Ashton Smith

[11] [22 August 1930]

Dear E'ch-Pi-El:

[. . .] "Andromeda" appears next month in Wonder Stories, according to the editors. Also, they want me to do a series of tales about the same crew of characters (Capt. Volmar, etc.) and their adventures on different planets, saying that they would use a novelette of this type every other month. I have asked them to name a rate of payment, and shall not submit anything more without a definite understanding. [. . .]

My trip in the mountains was, as usual, a fascinating experience. I drafted nearly all of a new novelette, "The Red World of Polaris", during the trip. It was written on several mountain-tops, beneath the thousand-year-old junipers on granite crags; and the giant firs and hemlocks by the margin of sapphire tarns. You shall see it later, when it is revised and polished. The writing was good practise in concentration, since tremendous or grandious scenery is more likely to be a source of distraction than inspiration, except in retrospect.

"The Phantoms of the Fire" is no favorite with me — I prefer nearly all my other tales.

[. . .]

I think you underrate "Red Hook", which has, for my taste, a lot of good writing and atmosphere. It isn't your best work, perhaps, but how far above the best of others! By the way, I read your "Picture in the House" aloud one evening by the light of our campfire in the mountains; and it was received with great enthusiasm by my hostess Mrs. Sully [1] and her daughters. [. . .]

[. . .]

My "Red World of Polaris" is pseudo-scientific with a vengeance: it deals with a race of people who had their brains transplanted into indestructible metal bodies, and who were going to perform the same office for the humans who visited their world. [2] The denouement is terrific, and should, certainly be an improvement on Edmond Hamilton, [3] at least in regard to variety. There are possibilities in this type of story, though I'd prefer writing something even more extra-terrestrial, with no human characters at all.

Write me when your revision work permits.

Greetings and valedictions from the outer moon of the Red World, in the hour following the collapse of the atomic vault, the outbreak of the metal-eating monsters from the subterranean realm, and the downfall of the last Babelian tower of the Zophnatars.



  1. Genevieve K. Sully, close friend of Smith living in Auburn.
  2. "The Red World of Polaris", a completed story by Smith, has never been published. The manuscript for the story may no longer exists.
  3. Hamilton was a popular and prolific author of "weird-scientific" stories for Weird Tales during the 1930s.

From: Clark Ashton Smith: LETTERS TO H. P. LOVECRAFT, edited by and footnotes by Steve Behrends (July 1987) Necronomicon Press.

Printed from: www.eldritchdark.com/writings/correspondence/21
Printed on: November 20, 2018