12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
HP Lovecraft and Robert Howard get all the love, but the third star in Weird Tales' crown was Clark Ashton Smith. Here editor Cody Goodfellow has assembled an anthology set in Clark Ashton Smith's Hyperborea, as strange and lush a fictional location as has ever been created.
The stories are diverse, and all of them are good. Not a clunker in the bunch. I would be remiss if I didn't single out a few stories for praise. Nick Mamatas's "Hostage" is a good and pointed, and the best was definitely Lisa Morton's "Zolamin and the Mad God." But all the stories were enteraining, and all of them paid triubute to the wild imagination of Clark Ashton Smith. Add to this the wonderful Mark E. Rogers cover, and you've got a great short story collection. Recommended.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
While long after their deaths, HP Love Craft and Robert E Howard continue to entertain and inspire, the "Third" of the greats of the weird fiction authors, Clark Ashton Smith, is largely unknown. That is too bad, because he was a talent of writing worthy of Lord Dunsany. I encourage anyone who hasn't heard to check out Eldritch Dark, a website devoted to CAS's works.
This is a tribute work of people making new stories based on this writer's world. Or rather, one of many.
Hyperborea is a legendary ancient greek paradise that was used to name Howard's era. From a Lovecraft character, CAS expanded the use of the dark elder god Tsugattha and his furry pre-human worshippers in this area that might have been Greenland, during a great ice age but with the glaciers steadily crushing this one pocket of tolerable land.
Gene Wolfe said Clark Asthon Smith couldn't be imitated. Perhaps he's right, but as a big time CAS fan I like these stories a lot and do not feel his work diminished at all. Matter of fact I hope that they will inspire others to discover him and then more stories from his inspiration. This book is certainly worth it to a pulp/weird fiction/fantasy fan and I hope they make an e-pub too.
It'd be neat to work on:
1. Zothique, the world at the far end of history, of man's reign, with the sun a dim red orb in the sky and layer on layer of crumbling civilization, ancient gods, isles of cannibals and necromancers... Another "Zothique" tribute - uh, there already is one, but it seems to be a limited volume that is out of print and exists only for price gougers. We should get some more writers to make more stories, and make sure the rights aren't tied up so limited print edition aside it's epub available.
2. Posedonis - Atlantis after the Deluge. According to some visionaries, Atlantis sank as per Plato, but some islands that were its mountains survived to send envoys to the rest of the world, sparking the start of modern civilization. CAS's take is a dark set of tales with the powerful wizards and kings who were at least blind to its downfall plotting amongst themselves.
3. Avervigone - Dark ages adventure, set in Medieval France.
4. Xiccarph - He only wrote a few stories of this, but it was set in a wild pulp solar system with several inhabatable planets, wizards, high tech, civilizations human and non-. Lin Carter made a neat tribute to this in "The Wizard of Zao".
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I've been sitting on writing this review for a while, because what I've been trying to mentally do is form my thoughts into a quippy blurb that would really -sell- this collection to people who were looking to the reviews to help them decide. I finally realized though, that while I could probably do so - it is a disservice to the authors in the text and to readers for me to try to spin my opinion. (Reviews are opinions, no matter how well-backed.) It is far better that I just lay out my experience & thoughts plainly.
In short, this is a pretty tasty collection of stories that execute the art of pastiche perfectly. Revolving around, inspired by, progeny from frothy, dark, eldritch literary spawn of Clark Ashton Smith, these stories put out. Which is to say, they deliver exactly what's promised. Overall, each story (and poem - there are a couple) nails the atmospheric feeling of an ol' CAS tale. Details are heavy & rich and doom lingers. This is a great anthology if you're looking for something with that CAS flair.
I really enjoyed ALL off the offerings in this text. Two stood out and even a couple months after reading, I might consider them the best & worst of the collection.
"Daughter of The Elk Goddess" - Probably my favorite. In a way, the story was fairly predictable (after a while of reading, most stories are, aren't they?) - but the execution was so lovely that I couldn't help but love it. I enjoyed reading it the most, no doubt. Though I knew where things were going, I still reacted as though I hadn't. That's a mark of a good story teller.
"In Old Commoriom" - I enjoyed this story for the most part, but there were aspects of it that took away from the overall narrative. In places it seemed to drone, and then the ending tries for something clever and it really broke the build-up for me. In a couple places, the carefully wrought language seemed to slip into more contemporary parlance and that was a bit jarring. Not a bad story by any means, but one that had some "fridge moments" that didn't wait for me to put the story down to interrupt my enjoyment and make me ask "Wait, what?"
That said, even if I considered "In Old Commoriom" one of the weakest stories in the book - it's STILL a 3 star story by itself (1=skip it, 3=decent enough to read, 5=o.m.g.read.it.now) and pretty interesting - not enough to bring down my estimation of the text.
Honorable Mentions: "The Lost Archetype" and "The Door from Earth"
If you're curious about the offerings, here's the ToC (from BlackGate's page):
Nick Mamatas – “Hostage”
Joe Pulver – “To Walk Night…Alone”
Darrell Schweitzer – “In Old Commoriom”
Ann K. Schwader - ”Yhoundeh Fades” (poem)
Cody Goodfellow - ”Coil Of The Ouroboros”
John R. Fultz - ”Daughter Of The Elk Goddess”
Brian R. Sammons - ”The Darkness Below”
Dieter Meier - ”The Conquest Of Rhizopium”
Lisa Morton - ”Zolamin And The Mad God”
Brian Stableford - ”The Lost Archetype”
Ran Cartwright - ”One Last Task For Athammaus”
Don Webb - ”The Beauties Of Polarion”
Robert M. Price - ”The Debt Owed Abhoth”
Marc Laidlaw - ”The Frigid Ilk Of Sarn Kathool”
Charles Schneider - ”The Return Of The Crystal”
John Shirley - ”Rodney LaSalle Has A Job Waiting in Commoriom”
Zak Jarvis - ”The Winter Of Atiradarinsept ”
Jesse Bullington - ”The Door From Earth”
Ann K. Schwader - ”Weird Of The White Sybil” (poem)