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The Collected Fantasies Of Clark Ashton Smith Volume 5: The Last Hieroglyph: Last Hieroglyph v. 5 [Hardcover]

Clark Ashton Smith
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Book Description

23 Nov 2010 Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith (Book 5)
The Last Hieroglyph is the fifth of the five volume Collected Fantasies series. Editors Scott Connors and Ron Hilger have compared original manuscripts, various typescripts, published editions, and Smith's notes and letters, in order to prepare a definitive set of texts. The Last Hieroglyph includes, in chronological order, all of Clark Ashton Smith's stories from "The Dark Age" to "The Dart of Rasasfa."

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Night Shade Books (23 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597800325
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597800327
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 584,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The jewel in the crown 8 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover
The Last Hieroglyph has been a long time coming, but at last there is a complete hardbound collection of Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) weird tales. Generally, I have rated these books as 4-star rather than 5, as they are expensive hardcovers, and may not be for a casual reader. But with the collection complete, 5 stars should go to this final volume. All the Night Shade collection have beautiful, atmospheric cover art, and are sturdy, quality tomes. The table of contents is up on the "look inside" section over at amazon.com - have a look, and taste CAS's writing style.

This volume 5 contains the last weird tales Smith wrote, from the mid 1930's to a few stories written in the early 40's - such as the charming "Theft of the thirty-nine girdles" and his disappointing final weird tale , "The Dart of Rasasfa" in the early 60's, just before his death.

Most of these stories are just a few pages long - 8-12 is about average, but some are longer and some are shorter. All of the stories have CAS's distinct voice - splendidly convoluted and superbly conveying a sense of impending doom. Each story has a few notes on its composition, and in some cases alternate versions to those published. They are largely horror stories, although the satirical "The Great God Awto" should be required reading for every young archeologist.

Apparently Night Shade plan to release an additional volume of CAS's exotic non-fantastic short stories "Tales of India and Ivory". That may well also be worth a look upon release.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for Smith Fans but Look Elsewhere If You Need an Introduction to Smith 8 Feb 2011
By Randy Stafford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I heartily endorse this fifth and last volume of the series that collects Smith's fiction and present it in the order of composition. Fans of Smith and those who have the rest of the series will definitely want it.

Those who are not Smith fans, though, will want to pass this one up. A Rendezvous in Averoigne: The Best Fantastic Tales of Clark Ashton Smith is a better introduction to Smith. This volume covers a much longer period of time than the others in the series. Its first story was finished in May 1933 and its last in July 1961. That period saw some of his best work but also a marked drop in the quantity and quality of his work after February 1935. Perhaps the demands of caring for his aging parents explain this decline or perhaps their death mitigated the need to sell fiction or the escape writing may have offered Smith.

Smith of beautiful, poetic prose is here as are entries in his Hyperborean and Zothique series. Because the quality varies so much after 1935 with some stories really only of interest to Smith completists, I won't review each story.

The stories, in order, are:

"The Dark Age" (1933), gloomy post-apocalypse story
"The Death of Malygris" (1933), good installment in his Atlantean series
"The Tomb-Spawn", (1933), stylish Zothique story
"The Witchcraft of Ulua", (1933), amusing, erotic Zothique story
"The Coming of the White Worm", (1933), haunting classic
"The Seven Geases", (1933), tale of cosmic indifference
"The Chain of Aforgomon", (1934), poetic story on the dangers of gaining a lost love
"The Primal City", (1934), Lovecraft admired this tale of archaeological exploration
"Xeethra", (1934), Zothique story of dissatisfaction
"The Last Hieroglyph", (1934), a fine story about a not so competent astrologer
"Necromancy in Naat", (1935), masterful, poetic Zothique story
"The Treader of the Dust", (1935), Smith's contribution to the collection of blasphemous tomes
"The Black Abbot of Puthuum", (1935), Zothique story of sexual predation
"The Death of Ilalotha", (1937), Zothique story of poisonous sexual obsession
"Mother of Toads", (1937), lewd and ghastly Averoigne story
"The Garden of Adompha", (1937), Zothique tale with Smith at his grotesque, decadent, poetic best
"The Great God Awto", (1937), Smith's faux-archaeological satire on the automobile
"Strange Shadows", (1940), Unpoetic tale of a man who sees shadows revealing people's true nature
"The Enchantress of Sylaire" (1940?), Smith's last Averoigne story
"Double Cosmos", (1940), one of Smith's not entirely successful science fiction stories about an odd drug
"Nemesis of the Unfinished", (1947), Smith's only true collaboration, about a writer confronting his unfinished stories
"The Master of the Crabs", (1947), Zothique story about two sorcerers competing for a pirate's treasure
"Morthylla", (1952), Zothique story about a man's love for a lamia
"Schizoid Creator", (1952), the Devil gets psychoanalyzed
"Monsters in the Night", (1953), one of Smith's most anthologized stories
"Phoenix", (1953), Smith's last great story, a science fiction piece
"The Theft of the Thirty-Nine Girdles", (1957), last Hyperborean tale, a heist story
"Symposium of the Gorgon", (1957), somewhat jokey story of Greek gods, Medusa, and cannibals
"The Dart of Rasasfa", (1961), Smith's last and, unfortunately, not a very good story
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST-HAVE final volume of Smith compenium 10 Jan 2011
By Shikantaza - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Last Hieroglyph (The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, Vol. 5) (v. 5) is the last installment of the complete short stories of Clark Ashton Smith.

I found Smith's stories in the early 70s through the excellent anthologies put together by Lin Carter. Ballantine Books published three volumes, each focused on a different story cycle. I've read them all myriad times, but was disappointed that they didn't contain ALL of Smith's stories. This collection places the stories in chronological order of writing or publication. It isn't as easy to track a story cycle as a focused anthology, but this collection has ALL the stories. At least we don't have to ferret out old copies of Weird Tales magazines.

Smith wrote with a very dense elegant style. He was a true master of the English language with a very extensive vocabulary - perhaps he was a power-user of Roget's Thesaurus - who would never run long in his prose. He was also enormously inventive. His Xothique stories center on the last continent of Earth, which orbits a nearly burned-out red sun. Not a pleasant prospect, but the story lines are fabulous. "The Witchcraft of Ulua" and "Necromancy in Naat" are great exemplars of Smith's style.

His stories occasionally have a humorous or ironic passage that is so bone-dry it can only draw a chuckle from the reader in the well-constructed eeriness of the worlds he has constructed. These little surprises are one of the things that keep me coming back to re-read these stories.

I can't recommend this Collection Series highly enough. Even for readers who don't care for the macabre, Smith's stories can be a real treat; they are just that well written. The book itself is quality merchandise - nice print composition on very good paper. First-rate binding.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Finish 21 Dec 2010
By D. Bowser - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have all five of the books in the Nightshade collection, and enjoyed each. This is the final installement and I think it shows Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) at his best. The book itself is well made and feels sturdy, just like the previous four. If you look at the previous four, you will notice the price on Amazon skyrocets after Nightshade stops publishing them. Get your copy while you can.

Like the series , this collection contains a mixbag of genres, including post apocalypse, mystic fantasy, and cosmic horror. According to the publisher these stories are arranged by publication date rather than by story content. CAS's style is definately not for everyone. These tales often have morbid and fatalistic themes, even the tales with a happy ending come with a dose of salt. I reccommend this book and the collection to anyone who likes H.P. Lovecraft, C.L. Moore, Henry Kutter, Robert Bloch, and Richard Matheson.

I could review each story, but I do not want to spoil the fun.

I find the details at the end of each of the colletions to be worthwile in themselves. They offer some insights to CAS's thought process and in a few cases alternate text to the published story. I only regreat that these stories spell the end of the collection.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clark Ashton Smith is an overlooked jewel from the Pulps 9 Feb 2011
By Donald Otis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Clark Ashton Smith was a contemporary to and a correspondent with H. P. Lovecraft. Unlike HP, Clark Ashton was at once more varied in his writings, and less unwilling to compromise his art for profit. Clark Ashton had elderly parents to take care of, and would allow editorial changes, even those that he was actually quite opposed to.

The editors of this anthology series, Scott Connors and Ron Hilger, have done what is nearly impossible - gathered the most pristine versions of all of Clark Ashton's work into five volumes. These are the stories as Clark Ashton always wanted them to be told, as he had written them, as they were meant to be. And what volumes they are - well printed on a fine paper, well documented, the epitome of what Clark Ashton always wanted. Nightshade Books ([...]) are to be praised for their commitment to excellence and to the wishes of the author.

Clark Aston was a poet, and his work shows this, being closer to prose poetry than to Lovecraft's tales, even HPL's dream cycle. The horrors that are are horrors which could easily be - in a dream that you or I would forget before we awoke. Clark Ashton could bring these dreams to life, to love, to hate, to sorrow. He evokes a sense of wonder at far off places that are visible only to those to whom dreams are as real as any other experience, and not merely the rumblings of a brain on hold from the reality of the day.

You may have read Clark Ashton in other settings, but if you are a fan, you need to treat yourself to the original stories, in order, in all their glory.

The End of the Story (The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, Vol. 1)
The Door to Saturn (The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, Vol. 2)
A Vintage from Atlantis (The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, Vol. 3)
The Maze of the Enchanter (The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, Vol. 4) (v. 4)
The Last Hieroglyph (The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, Vol. 5) (v. 5)

This is a truly fabulous set.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The jewel in the crown 8 Dec 2010
By John Middleton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Last Hieroglyph has been a long time coming, but at last there is a complete 5-volume hardbound collection of Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) weird tales. Generally, I have rated these books as 4-star rather than 5, as they are expensive hardcovers, and may not be for a casual reader. But with the collection complete, 5 stars should go to this final volume. All the Night Shade collection have beautiful, atmospheric cover art, and are sturdy, quality tomes. The table of contents is up on the "look inside" section above - have a look, and taste CAS's writing style.

This volume 5 contains the last weird tales Smith wrote, from the mid 1930's to a few stories written in the early 40's - such as the charming "Theft of the thirty-nine girdles" and his disappointing final weird tale , "The Dart of Rasasfa" in the early 60's, just before his death.

Most of these stories are just a few pages long - 8-12 is about average, but some are longer and some are shorter. All of the stories have CAS's distinct voice - splendidly convoluted and superbly conveying a sense of impending doom. Each story has a few notes on its composition, and in some cases alternate versions to those published. They are largely horror stories, although the satirical "The Great God Awto" should be required reading for every young archeologist.

Apparently Night Shade plan to release an additional volume of CAS's exotic non-fantastic short stories "Tales of India and Ivory". That may well also be worth a look upon release.
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