Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961) was a poet, an artist, and the author of more than a hundred tales of fantasy and horror. He was a member of the famous 'Lovecraft circle' and was a major contributor to Weird Tales, along with Robert E. Howard and Lovecraft himself.S. T. Joshi is a freelance writer and editor. He has edited several Penguin Classics volumes, including The Call of Cthulhu, The White People and Other Weird Stories, and American Supernatural Tales.
"[Smith] is a fantasist with a much subtler graph of what gives the
genre known as 'weird fiction' its own peculiar delights...Smith's
vision echoes through popular culture...'The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis'
[is] the template for later science fiction horrors such as
Alien and The Thing--just as 'The Dark Eidolon'
itself looks ahead to every evil sorcerer in fantasy novels and
--Peter Bebergal, Times Literary Supplement
"In sheer daemonic strangeness and fertility of conception, he
is perhaps unexcelled by any other writer, dead or living. Who else
has seen such gorgeous, luxurious, and feverishly distorted visions
of infinite spheres and lived to tell the tale?"
--H. P. Lovecraft "Smith is sui generis, one of the most uninfluenced and original writers I know of. A germ from Poe, a little fire from George Sterling, perhaps an acid drop from Bierce, the color and cruelty of Eastern Legends."
--Fritz Leiber "Incredible worlds, impossibly beautiful cities, and still more fantastic creatures. . . Take one step across the threshold of his stories and you plunge into colour, sound, taste, smell and texture: into language."
--Ray Bradbury "It is often impossible to say where man's inspirations come from . . . my impetus remains as bright and compelling as it was the day I removed it from a library shelf . . . and passed--incredibly!--out of that building through a portal to the City where the Singing Flame lived."