Letter to H. P. Lovecraft

From Clark Ashton Smith

[23] [c. late August 1931]

The vaults of Yoh-Vombis,
on Mars, at the opening of
the nether crypt and the
release of the diabolic
giant leeches.

Dear E'ch-Pi-El:

I received Wandrei's story [1] and your card some days ago. The story is excellent, with a strong ending; but I agree with you that it could be simplified to advantage. I also think it could be made much more tremendous if there were more unity in the incidents remembered from ancestral lives by Kramer. There might be some recurrent haunting horror in many if not all of them — a horror which Kramer at last is forced to confront in its primordial lair by going back to the first genesis of organic life — or beyond organic life.[2]

I was pleased to hear that my new Averoigne tales proved acceptable. I hope you won't let any coincidence of idea in the gargoyle yarn prevent you from developing your own tale. Your treatment, I imagine, would be quite different from mine; and certainly there is plenty of room. I've never seen a story at all similar to the "Maker of Gargoyles"; but the notion is one that might readily occur to imaginative minds.[3]

Yours for the unleashing of Azathoth
in the purlieus of hide-bound
materialism and realism,


  1. Donald Wandrei's "The Lives of Alfred Kramer".
  2. This reading and criticism of "The Lives of Alfred Kramer" evidently inspired Smith's "Ubbo-Sathla" (Out of Space and Time (1942)), plotted soon after this time. See my article, "The Birth of Ubbo-Sathla", Crypt of Cthulhu, forthcoming. [Note: "The Birth of Ubbo-Sathla" by Steve Behrends, appeared in Crypt of Cthulhu, vol.6 no.3, (whole number 45), Candlemas 1987, pages 10-13].
  3. Lovecraft's own idea for a "gargoyle yarn" is perhaps contained in two consecutive entries from his commonplace book (entries 76 and 77):
    ancient cathedral — hideous gargoyle — man seeks to rob — found dead — gargoyle's paw bloody.
    Unspeakable dance of the gargoyles — in morning several gargoyles on old cathedral found transposed.

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/34
Printed on: January 21, 2019