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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great overview of Smith's work, 16 Aug 2002
By 
Christine Menendez (St. Andreu de Llavaneres, Barcelona Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Emperor Of Dreams: Best Fantasy Tales (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I just wish it included some of his illustrations! If you have never read Clark Ashton Smith, this book will introduce you to one of the most amazing writers of the past century. Or of the current one, for that matter. He used words the way that Michelangelo used paint and marble; his prose is three-dimensional, and in the hands of anyone else it probably wouldn't work, would seem overblown and even silly. But Smith was truly a master, and his prose is simply gorgeous. Yes, the stories are all very good, and others have spoken of their content so I won't go on about that. I love the stories, the mythos, the fantasies, but even more I just love reading the very sentences and phrases penned by this wizard. It is a true pity that just because Smith wrote genre he is not considered to be a writer of literature.
I would very highly recommend this book both for the wonderfulness of the tales it contains and the great joy of reading some of the most beautifully executed prose ever written. Also, the book contains a short bio of Smith, which is quite interesting.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literally Fantastic, 26 Mar 2002
By 
J. L. Probert - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Emperor Of Dreams: Best Fantasy Tales (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
It must have been wonderful to have been alive in the heyday of the pulp magazine, "Weird Tales". Can you imagine going to the newsagents once a month to buy a magazine which contained all-new stories by H P Lovecraft, Robert E Howard, Seabury Quinn and Frank Belknap Long? In his very useful Afterword to this latest (No 26) Fantasy Masterworks volume, Stephen Jones tells us that the "big three" authors to appear in Weird Tales were Lovecraft (understandably), Howard (of course), and Clark Ashton Smith (who?). Apart from a couple of slim paperback collections issued in the mid-seventies, Smith's work has been lamentably out of print in this country, and his homeland across the pond has given his books little better treatment.
So listen carefully as I tell you this. Smith's work is literally fantastic. If you have any interest in, or love for, the kind of fantasy that the above-mentioned authors used to write, then you must read this collection of 46 Ashton Smith stories. Even if you feel that you've read enough Lovecraft rip-offs to last you several lifetimes you still need to read this. What makes him worth reading?. Well, he was originally a poet. Now keep reading because I know some of you will have stopped at the mention of the 'p' word. But the descriptive passages in Smith's work are superb examples of decadent, twisted prose. His vampire's castles, fog-wreathed swamps, other-worldly dimensions and tales of the 'Book of Eibon' come alive on the page in ways that many of his contemporaries could never have hoped to aspire to. The writer I can most liken him to is Lord Dunsany (Masterworks 2 & 15). But whereas Dunsany had a predilection for pixies and elves, and heavenly kingdoms, Smith brings you all manner of decaying corpses and hideous other worlds. Like the Dunsany volumes you need to read Smith's work slowly. There are innumerable words that you will probably have not come across before, so have a big dictionary to hand. But don't let this scare you off - this is seriously fabulous, wonderful stuff and the more people who get to know about Clark Ashton Smith the better. A final note - followers of fantasy publishing may be aware that Chaosium Publishing are about to release a collection entitled "Book of Eibon". From the title, you might expect this to also be a Smith collection but in fact it only includes a few of his stories. If you've been debating which to purchase, definitely buy British.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine collection of stories by Smith..., 7 Aug 2002
This review is from: The Emperor Of Dreams: Best Fantasy Tales (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Clark Ashton Smith is a writer whose work I've enjoyed for a few years now. I picked up this new collection as it contained several stories I hadn't read yet. I must say that the choices are excellent. Smith's wonderful, exotic tales of Zothique, Averoigne, Poseidonis, and Hyperborea are well represented, and his unusual stories set in the present-day (well, his present-day, the 1930's), are all well worth the read. Smith was also a poet, and his prose has a richness of language that makes it a pleasure to read. He is one of the most imaginative authors I have ever read. Highlights of this collection are "The Empire of the Necromancers", "Necromancy in Naat", "The Nameless Offspring", and "The Tale of Satambra Zeiros". In my opinion though, they are all great. This book gets a definite "thumbs up" from me. It's a good introduction for new fans and I think many familiar with his work will find some stories here new to them. A real plus is Stephen Jones' detailed, informative Afterword. Buy it and help keep Clark Ashton Smith in print!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superlative dark fantasy, 7 Mar 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: The Emperor Of Dreams: Best Fantasy Tales (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Although never as popular as his friends Lovecraft and Howard, Smith
managed to carve his own niche in fantasy fiction.This is the first
publication of his stories in almost a decade, and fantasy euthusiasts should jump at the chance to read his unique work.
Smith mixed horror stories set in the mundane world with fantasies set in imaginary realms as remote as possible from that world.
Of the former stories, "The Gorgon","The Seed From The Speculcher" and the "Hunters from Beyond" are the best, clever depictions of hostile cosmic forces attacking foolish curious humans.
The fantasy stories are set in locations, as critic Brian Stableford has observed, in worlds as remote as possible from the real world. This enables Smith to weave baroque tales which usually have a horrific or tragic conclusion. Some of them,such as
"The Seven Geases" or "The Dark Eidolon" feature more "Outre" elements than the average novel. Even a minor tale like the "Abominations of Yondo" is rendered fascinating by elements such as meteoric mountains and shadow-demons.
There are a few flaws. Smith sometimes goes overboard on the weird names. The stories he wrote in the 1950s are unmemorable. The Zothique stories sometimes have nasty racist stereotyping ("Negro cannibals" or the "Fu Manchu" Asians of "The Isle of the Torturers").
Despite this, the collection is largely superb. It is concluded with a superb biography of CAS by Stephen Jones. Recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!, 3 July 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Emperor Of Dreams: Best Fantasy Tales (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Clark Ashton Smith writes peotically of strange worlds, people and creatures. If you like Vance, Moorcock and Lovecraft, you will love this! Ashton Smith's visions are unifirmly dark, and you sometimes wish that he had turned his talents to slightly lighter topics. Still, these short stories are to be savoured.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magick !, 5 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Emperor Of Dreams: Best Fantasy Tales (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
What can I say, Clark Ashton Smith is an author of whom I have relatively recently come across and I have been totally enthralled by his imaginative prowess in his stories. The Emperor of dreams is a "best of" book with a very good cross section of the authors work, which is more financially accessible than the Collected works series which I have purchased for Kindle due to the current price of three of the out of print volumes.
The stories are unbelievably strange and extraordinarily wonderful. I was instantly captivated by the writers ability to warp into tales of weird other worlds where reality is as fluid and beautiful as mercury. If only a big budget 3D film could be made which captured the essential substance of these tales then we would be there for a new dawn of entertainment. No high cost actors going through the motions of a tale which relies not on characterisations but simply requires the magick of a visionary director who could allow us to take the step into the abyss. Alas...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Substantial One-Book Introduction to Clark Ashton, 9 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Emperor Of Dreams: Best Fantasy Tales (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
While most fans of Klarkash-Ton will get the five volume edition of "The Complete Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith", this one-volume anthology will constitute a substantial introduction to the newcomer. This edition appears to be unfortunately out-of-print. His "Lost Worlds" and "Out of Space and Time" anthologies are available in paperback. His extraordinary prose will seduce in any format!
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The Emperor Of Dreams: Best Fantasy Tales (FANTASY MASTERWORKS)
The Emperor Of Dreams: Best Fantasy Tales (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) by Clark Ashton Smith (Paperback - 14 Mar 2002)
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