Letter to Lester Anderson

From Clark Ashton Smith

Auburn, Cal.
July 31st, 1934

Dear Lester Anderson:

It certainly looks as if my answer to your letter were a somewhat delayed "quarterly." In the meanwhile, history has been adding a few glosses to one or two of the points we were discussing! If there are many more general strikes, it looks as if the descent of the Iron Heel in the U. S. would be accelerated.

Yes, I have read Sinclair's EPIC plan and am much inclined to doubt its workability. I fear it would break down in operation through the inevitable conflict between private and public enterprise. Sinclair too obviously intends it as an entering wedge for socialization; and he will have all the forces of the present system against him. Personally, I do not believe that socialism will ever work in the U. S.; and I shouldn't be surprised if it were to fail even in Russia. The human instincts of aggrandization are against it.

I've never read The World Below. As to Chambers, I fear one would get stung on almost anything of his, except The King in Yellow, which I believe you already know. Lovecraft has mentioned a volume of fantasies by C., entitle The Maker of Moons; but I have not seen this. Slayer of Souls (I saw one or two magazine instalments [sic] years ago) was inexpressibly pediculous.

I haven't gone to any movies lately. I agree with you that The Invisible Man was excellent.

Astounding Stories is certainly the leader now among the scientifiction magazines. Dime Mystery is wretched stuff-the crudest kind of physical horror, written in a style so cheap and staccato as to be simply ridiculous. It seems to have gone over so well that another magazine of the same type, Terror Tales, is being put out by the publishers. The success of such luridities, after the failure of Strange Tales, is certainly full of a comment on public taste.

I agree with you that Dead Woman is the first good tale to be published in Fantasy Magazine. The others have been pretty bad. Like you, I didn't take to The Ancient Voice at all, at all.

I remember Wallace's visit-was only sorry he could not have stayed longer. So A Rose for Emly gave him a shiver! I must confess that I failed to overenthuse over that yarn myself. After reading Creeps by Night, I came to the conclusion that my literary tastes were almost directly opposie to those of Dashiell Hammett. Harre's Beware after Dark is still unapproached in my opinion, as an anthology of weirds.

Thanks for your kinds words about the drawings-I second your criticism of The Charnel God picture. However, as you surmise, the pulp reproductions are poor.

The point you made about nudism is interesting-I hadn't thought of that. Maybe you are right.

Cordially,

[s] Clark Ashton Smith

Copyright © 2001 by CASiana Literary Enterprises Inc. Courtesy of Scott Connors

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