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The Klarkash-Ton Cycle: Clark Ashton Smith's Cthulhu Mythos Fiction

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Eleven Lovecraftian tales by Clark Ashton Smith. Includes The Ghoul, Hunters from Beyond, Ubbo-Sathla, Vulthoom, The Infernal Star, and others. Selected and introduced by Robert M. Price. This book is part of an expanding collection of Cthulhu Mythos horror fiction and related topics. Call of Cthulhu fiction focuses on single entities, concepts, or authors significant to r Eleven Lovecraftian tales by Clark Ashton Smith. Includes The Ghoul, Hunters from Beyond, Ubbo-Sathla, Vulthoom, The Infernal Star, and others. Selected and introduced by Robert M. Price. This book is part of an expanding collection of Cthulhu Mythos horror fiction and related topics. Call of Cthulhu fiction focuses on single entities, concepts, or authors significant to readers and fans of H.P. Lovecraft.


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Eleven Lovecraftian tales by Clark Ashton Smith. Includes The Ghoul, Hunters from Beyond, Ubbo-Sathla, Vulthoom, The Infernal Star, and others. Selected and introduced by Robert M. Price. This book is part of an expanding collection of Cthulhu Mythos horror fiction and related topics. Call of Cthulhu fiction focuses on single entities, concepts, or authors significant to r Eleven Lovecraftian tales by Clark Ashton Smith. Includes The Ghoul, Hunters from Beyond, Ubbo-Sathla, Vulthoom, The Infernal Star, and others. Selected and introduced by Robert M. Price. This book is part of an expanding collection of Cthulhu Mythos horror fiction and related topics. Call of Cthulhu fiction focuses on single entities, concepts, or authors significant to readers and fans of H.P. Lovecraft.

30 review for The Klarkash-Ton Cycle: Clark Ashton Smith's Cthulhu Mythos Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Its something of a mystery as to why HP Lovecraft is a household name today, yet the name of Clark Ashton Smith languishes in obscurity. Smith was no mere fan-turned-confederate like August Derleth but was a contemporary of Lovecraft and pen-friend to both he and Robert E Howard. Perhaps because prose fiction was not Smith's first love, his stories have been sidelined but here his most Lovecraftian stories have been collected as the 'Klarkash-Ton Cycle'. If direct comparisons are your bag, then Its something of a mystery as to why HP Lovecraft is a household name today, yet the name of Clark Ashton Smith languishes in obscurity. Smith was no mere fan-turned-confederate like August Derleth but was a contemporary of Lovecraft and pen-friend to both he and Robert E Howard. Perhaps because prose fiction was not Smith's first love, his stories have been sidelined but here his most Lovecraftian stories have been collected as the 'Klarkash-Ton Cycle'. If direct comparisons are your bag, then Smith holds up very well against both Lovecraft and Howard. His turn of phrase is appropriately shuddersome and he has the former's knack of peppering his writing with archaic and unusual words. Where he compares unfavourably is in his predictability. While Lovecraft's tales were like a strange voyage into the unknown, most readers will be pre-empting the ending of most of Smith's stories before they're done with the first paragraph. That does not apply to the whole collection however, as this is not the case with his stronger Martian stories which are also a welcome departure from the macabre standards of the genre. Where Smith finds his greatest success is in the story 'The Eidolon Of The Blind' which begins as a sci-fi adventure tale and ends up at a thoroughly nasty scenario. There is a certain lethality here not present in the stories of Lovecraft who prefers his protagonists to go mad. Smiith's heroes are far more likely to end up dead and so there is always a sense that the stakes are very high indeed (though whether madness is a fate worse than death depends on individual taste). Ultimately comparisons are quite futile - Lovecraft's Mythos is neither better nor worse than Clark Ashton's Smythos, but rather just a different flavour of doom.

  2. 4 out of 5

    M.

    In this collection Clark Ashton Smith is overshadowed by the Cthulhu cult fandom once again. Most of these stories already appear in the penguin classic collection The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies under slightly different titles which I already have. I highly suggest that you just order that one because the few seperate stories in this, while quite good, won't add much to your collection. I was hoping this book would be similar to the fantasy cycles published by Lin Carter back. The Averoigne In this collection Clark Ashton Smith is overshadowed by the Cthulhu cult fandom once again. Most of these stories already appear in the penguin classic collection The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies under slightly different titles which I already have. I highly suggest that you just order that one because the few seperate stories in this, while quite good, won't add much to your collection. I was hoping this book would be similar to the fantasy cycles published by Lin Carter back. The Averoigne cycle story in particular was cool but the more weird and horror stories aren't that Lovecrafty which is a good thing. Some are don't get me wrong, but they are not as cookie cutter as the title and artwork suggests and if you've read his other work you would agree. Lovecraft fandom has overshadowed much Smiths work and if you're expecting tentacles or any other other Lovecraft inspired fan fiction tier shit, you won't find it here. Instead you'll find some pretty good short stories and an imagination rooted in fantasy. However, this collection doesn't showcase Smiths ability as a poet. Just get The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies as most of his other short stories, horror and sword and sorcery, are on youtube read to you for free.

  3. 5 out of 5

    The Artificer

    This book is one of the more problematic to review in all the Chaosium "Cycle" series. Not for the fiction itself- in that sense It TRULY deserves five stars. The massive number of spelling errors and typos was distracting. It's as if this book went to print without a single person proofreading it. In that sense it probably deserves a 1-star rating.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sylri

    I really appreciate what Robert M Price has done with this series: bring a lot of out of print and obscure short stories and collect them into interesting themed anthologies. They so far have been great primers for the original stories that featured certain creatures and locales from the Cthulhu Mythos, as well as the stories they were inspired by and ones they would go on to inspire. Now onto this specific book. This was my first foray into Clark Ashton Smith, whom I’ve heard a lot about and be I really appreciate what Robert M Price has done with this series: bring a lot of out of print and obscure short stories and collect them into interesting themed anthologies. They so far have been great primers for the original stories that featured certain creatures and locales from the Cthulhu Mythos, as well as the stories they were inspired by and ones they would go on to inspire. Now onto this specific book. This was my first foray into Clark Ashton Smith, whom I’ve heard a lot about and been interested in reading but have never really known where to jump in. I figured since I was reading this series this would be a good place to start. Now, since Tsathoggua has its own cycle book, there are none of his stories here, and all of the Eibon stories are in Chaosium’s Book of Eibon. So what’s left for this collection are the leftover tales that contain mentions of ancient evil tomes (including the Necronomicon), sorcerers, and ghouls. Price said that any of Smith’s stories that might have approached Lovecraft in tone was what he felt appropriate to include. Some of the Mythos connections seem tenuous at best, but they help to fill out the book. So what you end up getting is a rather rag tag bunch of stories that range from medieval France to Martian escapades! My favorites were his fantasies such as “The Ghoul”, “The Werewolf of Averoigne”, and his more inspired modern Lovecraftian stories such as “A Rendering from the Arabic”, “Ubbo-Sathla”, “The Treader of the Dust”, and “The Infernal Star”. Smith clearly shines when he’s in a more traditional fantastic setting, and I can’t wait to read some of his other fantasy stories! I admit to not being as partial to his Martian stories, even though they have some cool concepts, such as the vampiric creatures from “The Vaults of Abomi” or the nasty critter in “Eidolon of the Blind”. There’s something about Mars that just doesn’t jive with me. *shrug* There were a couple of stories that were indeed quite like Lovecraft, but were more pastiche-like than truly interesting like the stories I mentioned earlier, such as “The Hunters from Beyond” and “The Nameless Offspring”. These ones weren’t bad by any means, but didn’t show that brilliance that you get with his other stories. I like that Price included the original first drafts and names of the tales here, such as “A Rendering from the Arabic” versus “Return of the Sorcerer”, or “The Werewolf of Averoigne” versus “The Beast of Averoigne”. Funnily enough, I liked the changes made to make “A Rendering of the Arabic”’s ending more subtle, but I vastly preferred the original “The Werewolf of Averoigne”. It gives readers an opportunity to expose themselves to Smith’s original ideas and the less often published original first drafts. Unlike Lovecraft, Smith seemed easier to work with and more likely to edit his work to get it published. So all in all, this gives a good taste of Smith’s vast range and I look forward to reading more of his work based on this sampling. Unfortunately, the typos ran rampant through the collection and got pretty distracting at times. I expect better from a Chaosium anthology.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Larry

    I liked this a lot. One ripping yarn after another.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Signor Mambrino

    The ridiculous amount of typos make this a very disappointing read. Hard to believe that so many mistakes could have been made accidentally. These stories deserve better! I wrote a longer, angrier review here The ridiculous amount of typos make this a very disappointing read. Hard to believe that so many mistakes could have been made accidentally. These stories deserve better! I wrote a longer, angrier review here

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    Bill found this for me the other day at Orc's nest. I have to say I don't think this is the best collection of Smith's stories. There are not enough fantastical ones and far too many mundane horror but I still enjoyed it. There were three stories here that I'd read before, but they were different versions to the ones published in the old paperbacks. I have to say though while it was interesting to read the earlier versions of the stories, it was in most cases obvious why the extra bits were cut, Bill found this for me the other day at Orc's nest. I have to say I don't think this is the best collection of Smith's stories. There are not enough fantastical ones and far too many mundane horror but I still enjoyed it. There were three stories here that I'd read before, but they were different versions to the ones published in the old paperbacks. I have to say though while it was interesting to read the earlier versions of the stories, it was in most cases obvious why the extra bits were cut, in one story the middle chapter totally gave away the ending, and in another moving the forward to an afterward gave more of a sense of mystery and suspense to the story. But I did enjoy the stories, I also enjoyed reading the bibliographic notes at the end saying when and where the story was published and extra things (like if Smith liked it or not). The stories were all written between 1930 and 1933. My favourite story was The werewolf of Averoigne, being one of the few that was written in the middle ages (14th century) and as such suited Smith's style much more. It was a lovely little horror story (despite giving itself away). It felt oppressive and mysterious and I really enjoyed the style. There were also quite a lot set on Mars, which I enjoyed as I love the way Smith combines his sci-fi with Lovecraft style horror. (though they do run together in similarities afterwards). The treader in dust was another nice spooky story. Not being that into the "mythos" I was quite surprised at what was included here as a lot didn't really strike me as very "Lovecraftian" but I'm sure the editors know much better than me! An interesting collection but I think I prefer the older paperbacks for a more balanced view of Smith's works.

  8. 4 out of 5

    James Pratt

    I think a review for this book could go in one of two directions, to fans of Clark Ashton Smith looking for a decent sampling of his many stories (in this case those deemed most Lovecraftian by the editor), and to people unfamiliar with him who are looking for an introduction to his work (or simply in search of a collection of classic weird tales). To the first group, yes, there are some proof-reading mistakes but if you're willing to overlook them you will have acquired exactly what you were lo I think a review for this book could go in one of two directions, to fans of Clark Ashton Smith looking for a decent sampling of his many stories (in this case those deemed most Lovecraftian by the editor), and to people unfamiliar with him who are looking for an introduction to his work (or simply in search of a collection of classic weird tales). To the first group, yes, there are some proof-reading mistakes but if you're willing to overlook them you will have acquired exactly what you were looking for. While mirroring H.P. Lovecraft's bleak vision of a strange and hostile cosmos, these tales are purely Smith's own. There is nothing derivative about them. Smith didn't need to borrow or steal. He had an invented mythology of his own. To the second group...ditto. This slim volume doesn't begin to address Smith's vast body of work. It is, however, a good starting point for someone discovering Smith for the first time. James Pratt, author of 'When Dead Gods Dream: A Collection of Lovecraftian Short Stories'

  9. 4 out of 5

    Finn

    A decent collection of his works that are non-specific to either his "Book of Eibon" or Tsathoggua stories, this collection meanders between classical "Lovecraftian" period pieces of brooding horror (not so horrific in the modern day) and more forward thinking sci-fi pieces, incorporating the harsh Martian landscape (as envisaged in the 1930s) to the feelings of mounting dread. In many ways, this is more useful as a reference piece, as it has attempted to use original texts, rather than the edit A decent collection of his works that are non-specific to either his "Book of Eibon" or Tsathoggua stories, this collection meanders between classical "Lovecraftian" period pieces of brooding horror (not so horrific in the modern day) and more forward thinking sci-fi pieces, incorporating the harsh Martian landscape (as envisaged in the 1930s) to the feelings of mounting dread. In many ways, this is more useful as a reference piece, as it has attempted to use original texts, rather than the edited versions printed in the pulps. Robert M. Price, as editor, adds some useful commentary on the history of said pieces, and of CAS' relationship with Lovecraft. The two most outstanding pieces I found to be "The Ghoul", more from the point of world-building, and "Vulthoom", which is barely horror, and more pulp-sci-fi at large. Perhaps the most notable flaw however, is what appear to be misprints - "on" for "one", n's for h's, etc.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Raven

    My rating is a combination of two factors: enjoyability and readability. Though most of the stories exist in other sources, and therefore I had read a few of them recently, they are all enjoyable. But my enjoyment of them was diminished considerably by the consistently poor editing: there are spelling mistakes on nearly every page, often-times multiples, and they badly break the flow of otherwise engaging reading.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    Stephen King recommended author in Chapter 2 of Berkley's 1983 paperback edition of Danse Macabre. Stephen King recommended author in Chapter 2 of Berkley's 1983 paperback edition of Danse Macabre.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tad604

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cedric

  14. 4 out of 5

    Fred Kiesche

  15. 4 out of 5

    Darren Mitton

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dean

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tony

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emmy

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christoffer Andersson

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jussi

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sean Hoade

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Peters

  24. 5 out of 5

    David

  25. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Watkins

  30. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Miller

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