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CRYPT OF

CTHULHU
A Pulp Thriller and Theological Journal

Vol. 4, No. 1 Hallowmas 1984

CONTENTS

Editorial Shards 2

Clark Ashton Smith and his World of Fantasy .... 3


By Jean Marigny

The Last Hieroglyphs 9


By Steve Behrends

The Clark Ashton Smythos 13


By Will Murray

An Annotated Chronology of Smith's Fiction 17


By Steve Behrends

The Feaster from the Stars 25


By Clark Ashton Smith and Lin Carter

CAS & Divers Hands 30


By Steve Behrends

The Price-Smith Collaborations 32


By Will Murray

The History of Averoigne? 35


By Glenn Rahman

Susran 42
By Lin Carter

Advice to the Lovecraft- Lorn 45

R'lyeh Review 46

Mail-Call of Cthulhu 48
2 / Crypt of Cthulhu

Debatable and Disturbing:


EDITORIAL SHARDS
Many readers have no
doubt wondered how long it would take before we
gave you an issue of Crypt of Cthulhu devoted to Clark Ashton Si^iith, surely
one of the superstars in the Weird Tales -Arkham House hall of fame. After
all, our third issue was already devoted to Robert E. Howard. To compen-
sate in some measure for the length of the wait we are releasing two Smith
issues simultaneously: the present "Smith analysis issue, " C rypt #26, and
Untold Tales Crypt #27, the latter a grab-bag of hithe rto-unpublished
,

Smithiana
The issue you are now holding features several erudite pieces on Smiths
work as a whole (leading off with "Clark Ashton Smith and his World o Fan-
tasy, " a lecture delivered at the Congress of the SAES at Limoges by Jean
Marigny in 1978) as well as on various aspects and sidelights of his work
(including three very informative research reports by Steve Behrends, CAS
scholar and editor of Untold Tales). A special treat awaits you in "The
Feaster from the Stars," a posthumous collaboration between Smith and Lin
Carter, and in Carter's own poem "Susran. "
And now for what must surely be an anomaly, even for Crypt of Cthulhu :

a retraction of something in a subsequent issue! You see, we actually had


Untold Tales back from the printer weeks before Crypt #26 was typed, and
in the meantime two developments had occurred. First, re the presence of
"The Brahmin' s Wisdom" in Untold Tales: it probably has no business being
there. Though the manuscript is to be found among Smith's papers, there
is grave doubt as to whether it is his own work. Behrends had not intended
to include it, and now he and Roy A. Squires have set your meddlesome
editor straight.

Secondly, Behrends mentions another draft of "The Nemesis of the Un-


finished, " the original collaboration between CAS and Don Carter (so you
see, "Smith- Carter collaborations" are nothing new!). In his note in Untold
Tales he refers to the future publication of this version in a far-distant issue
of Crypt number 40. Yes, we do indeed have that many more issues planned,
,

but we have recently reshuffled them. The result is that "The Nemesis of
the Unfinished" by Smith and Carter will appear in Crypt #31, while "I Am
Your Shadow," a variant version of "Strange Shadows" Crypt #25) will appea r
(

in Crypt #29. More Smith plot synopses are scheduled for Crypt #30, a pot-
pourri issue, as well. (And for the record, Smith's unfinished novella "The
Infernal Star" may now appear as one of Lin Carter's Charnel House Chap-
books instead of in an issue of his long-planned magazine Yoh- Vombis . )

Got all that straight? If you have, you deserve to relax with our two
Clark Ashton Smith issues.

--Robert M. Price. Editor


Hallowmas 1984 / 3

Clark Ashton Smith


and his World of Fantasy
By Jean Marigny

Translated by S. T. Joshi

Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961) ard, or Robert Bloch. His tales at-
is an author relatively little known test to a fertile imagination and a
in France. Like Lovecraft he was great originality which make him a
part of that generation of American writer probably unique in his field.
writers who, between the two wars, Lovecraft himself, who was still a
appeared in those popular magazines severe critic, wrote in regard to
specializing in fantasy and science- Smith in Supernatural Horror in Lit -
fiction which are now called "pulps," erature :

and of which the most famous is with-


out doubt Weird Tales . In sheer daemonic strangeness
A native of Auburn, California, and fertility of conception, Mr.
where he spent the majority of his Smith is perhaps unexcelled by
life, Clark Ashton Smith was entirely any other writer, dead or living.
self-taught- -something that did not Who esehas seen such gorgeous,
stop him from writing his first po- luxuriant, and feverishly dis-
ems from the age of 11. Conversely, torted visions of infinite spheres
it was not until the age of 35 that he and multiple dimensions and lived
became, at the instigation of his to tell the tale ?
friend Lovecraft, a professional
writer after having performed the The central interest of Clark Ash-
most diverse occupations. He has ton Smith' s prose work arises in that
left us seven collections of poetry it constitutes a new stage in the evo-
and five collections of fantasy tales, lution of American fantasy. Smith,
the majority of which had previously in fact, along with Robe rt E. Howard,
appeared in Weird Tales Finally,
. is one of the premier writers who
Clark Ashton Smith was also a tal- have distinguished themselves in that
ented painter and sculptor. His can- new genre between traditional fan-
vases have been compared to those tasy and science -fiction- -what is
of the symbolist Odilon Redon, and called "Sword and Sorcery" or "He-
his sculptures - -appa rently inspired roic F antasy. "
by pre - Colombian art depict nearly
all the characters
fantastic con- Genres and Themes
ceived by Lovecraft.
In the realm of specifically fan- Clark Ashton Smith is difficult to
tastic lite rature Clark Ashton Smith place among the writers of his gen-
writer of the first order,
is clearly a eration due to the extreme variety
andean easily bear comparison with of his themes and genres he adopted
other authors of his generation bet- in his tales. Some rely on tradi-
ter known than he- -August Derleth, tional "Gothic" fantasy, others be-
F rank Belknap Long, Robert E. How- long unambiguously to science-fic-
4 / Crypt of Cthulhu

tion, but the majority of the others Landscape," in which an art lover
contain elements from the one as becomes a prisoner in a painted land-
well as the other. scape which gradually comes to life,
His earliest stories are Oriental presents striking similarities to
tales, fables where the supernatural Blackwood's "The Man^Who Was
plays only a very reduced role. Milligan. " Some stories like "The
Among the nine tales which belong Phantoms of the Fire" make us think
to this category only "The Ghost of of Bierce's conte s cruels both by
Mohammed Din, " "The Ghoul, " and their evocation of a rural America
"The Third Episode of Vathek" can where the inhabitants have main-
be considered truly fantastic. These tained the coarseness of the original
stories are either Arabian tales in- pioneers and by the cruelty tinged
spired by the Arabian Nights , and with sadism which the tales involve.
which could well have been written Nevertheless, it is Lovecraft's
by Beckford, or are tales of India re- influence which predominates both
calling the colonial stories of Kip- in form and in substance. Many of
ling. The principal themes are in- Smith's tales have distinctly Love-
trigues in the seraglio and ven- craftian titles, such as "The Hunters
geances by ridiculed husbands or by from Beyond," "The Light from Be-
tyrants jealous of their authority. yond, " "The Treader in the Dust,"
One finds there such traditional "The Dweller in the Gulf, " or "The
character s as rajahs, caliphs, grand Immeasurable Horror. " Smith uti-
viziers, fakirs, eunuchs, and cour- lizes narrative methods and an in-
tesans . tentionally archaic style which ap-
Smith's first horror tales, pub- proach Lovecraft, and in a great
lished from 1 928 on, are at first sight number of his tales we encounter
very conventional. We find here the themes dear to "the recluse of Prov-
influence both of the English "Gothic" idence," e. g., that of the incautious
novel and of Poe, with whom Smith searcher, the artist or scholar who,
shares a marked taste for the ma- after having consulted some old
cabre and the necrophilic. They are grimoire, ventures at the peril of
often written in the first person, and his life into the tenebrous domain of
the narrator relates a particularly the forces of Evil. "The Hunters
horrible incident: an encounter with from Beyond," where we see a sculp-
living skeletons in "The Ninth Skele- tor using for models the monsters
ton, " with the ancient Medusa in which he has summoned by magical
"The Gorgon," or with monsters incantations, seems to have been in-
from outside in "The Hunters from spired by Lovecraft's "Pickman's
Beyond. " Necromancy and black Model." Smith is, conversely, dis-
magic are the themes most frequent- tinguished from Lovecraft inasmuch
ly recurring. Conversely, very few as he bears a more marked interest
ghost stories are to be found. in the resources of science and tech-'
The influence of Poe makes itself nology. His most recent horror tale s
felt particularly in "The Second In- come very close to science-fiction,
terment, " which recalls "The Pre- as in "Schizoid Creator" where a mad
mature Burial." Blackwood's influ- scientist employs a complicated
ence appears in "Genius Loci, " mechanism to summon the Devil and
where we see an evil countryside to make himself undergo a treatment
literally absorb a group of incautious himself of schizophrenia, the
to rid
voyagers. Smith's tale "The Willow modern version of absolute Evil.
Hallowmas 1984 / 5

These tales nevertheless conform haunted castles), and contemporary


generally to the conventions of con- fantasy (werewolves, vampires, the
temporary fantasy: they take place "Cthulhu Mythos"). Some of these
in our time, and in a familiar set- tales are indeed fairy-tales for
ting--either England or California, adults
and especially the region around In the tales comprising the Zo-
Auburn. Some nevertheless escape thique, Hyperborea, Atlantis, and
these norms and as a result become Xiccarph cycles, Smith abandons all
more difficult to classify. They reference to a known universe. The
plunge us into a past more or less civilizations he evokes, in spite of
far-away or, indeed, into the future, their resemblance to the Middle East
and their setting is decidedly exotic (vast exoanses of desert traversed
or totally imaginary: "The Willow by caravans of camels, cities of Is-
Landscape" takes place in China, lamic architecture, intrigues in
"The Venus of Azombeii" in Africa, harems, etc.), seem situated beyond
"The Seed from the Sepulcher" in space and time The continents serv-
.

Guyana, and "The Root of Ampoi" in ing as their focus correspond in no


Malasia. We also find tales of ex- way to the actual topography of our
plorers lost in fantastic lands, or planet, and the events which take
who discover fabulous cities, ves- place there are placed outside of all
tiges of vanished civilizations, such historical per spective. These imag-
as "The Invisible City, " "A Vintage inary places are, in addition, peo-
from Atlantis, " and "The Primal pled with monsters, and prodigies
City." These tales are again Love- occur there which transport us well
craftian in tone but constitute a tran- away from the real world. We are
sition between traditional fantasy here fully in the region of "heroic
and the "heroic fantasy" of the tales fantasy," whose setting and charac-
about Hyperborea and Zothique. Fi- ters recall those of science -fiction
nally, some tales escape all conven- but where sorcery replaces modern
tions, such as "Monsters in the s cience
Night," where a we rewolf by mistake Clark Ashton Smith has, finally,
attacks a robot which he takes to be approached the domain of orthodox
a human being. science-fiction in a score of tales in
Clark Ashton Smith has given his which can be found many of the tra-
creative imagination full rein in an- ditional themes of thatgenre: inter-
other series of much more original planetary voyages, explorations in
tales which are organized by cycles time or intoother dimensions, visits
around imaginary lands. The of extraterrestrials or descriptions
strangest of these are the tales of of future societies with advanced
the Averoigne cycle, whose setting, technology. Smith is situated at the
characters, and situations are in- antipodes from "hard science-fic-
spired by French fable, mediaeval tion": he does not explore scientific
epic, and Arthurian legendry. Here probability, and the technological
are found both the elements of Greek apparatus he uses is described in a
mythology (lamias, satyrs, the god- merely cursory fashion. What in-
dess Venus), mediaeval demonology terests Smith in science-fiction is
(sorcerers, enchanters, demons), alienation, outsidene ss the strange.
,

fairy-tales (magic mirrors, love His extraterrestrials are not only


philtres, invincible swords, giants), different from us morphologically
the "Gothic" novel (evil monasteries, and biologically, but they have a
6 / Crypt of Cthulhu

psychology totally different from the abbey of Perigonat the convent of


ours. They evolve in worlds whose Sainte - Zenobie Averoigne is an en-
,

description makes us think of stu- tirely imaginary land corresponding


pefying surrealistic tableaux where to no known region of France. This
all known norms are abolished. is a land of the Christian tradition,
"Murder in the Fourth Dimension" but the deities worshipped here are
takes place in a non-Euclidean curved the maleficent ones of the Cthulhu
space; in "The Eternal World" time Mythos. It is a land of sorcery which
is abolished; and in "The Dimension overflows with evil places -- the cas-
of Chance" the characters are tles of Malinbois or Ylourgne haunted
plunged into a universe where the by vampires, or the ruins of the
standard laws of physics no longer castle of Fausseflammes where a
exist, andwhere chance reigns su- lamia is hidden. In the forest of
preme . Broceliande which covers three-
fourths of the land, the wandering
Clark Ashton Smith's traveler can encounter sorcerers,
Personal Mythology vampires, werewolves, and even
satyrs. Averoigne is a mediaeval
Smith learned very early to free world, since most of the tales are
himself from the influence of his set in the twelfth or thirteenth cen-
contemporaries and create a per- turies; but it is situated outside of
sonal world of fantasy. Already in history, for the author carefully
the framework of the Cthulhu Mythos, avoids making allusion to known his-
in which he took part, he created his torical events. In spite of its unreal
own deities - -Tsathoggua, Abhoth, character, the world of Averoigne is
Ubbo-Sathla, and Atlach-Nacha. He perfectly consistent since the same
added the Book of Eibon to Love- place-names are found in all the tales
craft's imaginary library. and the topography is very precise.
Following Lovecraft's example, Some regions can be the stage for
he created out of whole cloth a myth- several different stories, such as
ical world which was entirely origi- the abbey of Perigon in "The End of
nal with him. He did not, moreover the Story," "The Beast of Averoigne ,"
try to create a unique system: his and "The Disinterment of Venus. "
myths are organized according to In the tales of the Zothique, Hy-
parallel schemas which each have perborea, Atlantis, and Xiccarph
their own internal coherence but are cycles, Smith has recourse to the
not interrelated. Averoigne, Zo- same methods as for Averoigne--
thique and Hyper bore a are hermetic
,
with the difference that he no longer
worlds which have their own culture, makes reference to a known land.
their own legends, and their own Xiccarph is not even a part of our
gods. world, since it is an imaginary
Averoigne is situated at the cen- planet, just as Lophai is in "The De -
tre of a known land--i.e., France-- mon of the Flowe r " or Yondo in "The
and the very name chosen by its cre- Abominations of Yondo." Zothique,
ator makes one irresistibly think of Hyperborea, and Atlantis are van-
the province of Auvergne--but here ished terrestrial continents - -only
all resemblance ceases. In spite of Zothique has been invented out of
some place-names with vaguely fa- whole cloth by the author. The two
miliar echoes, like Vyones, the cap- other s have long belonged to the cul-
ital, Malneant, theFrenaie, or again tural inheritance of mankind. At-
Hallowmas 1984 / 7

lantis is that fabled isle upon which sible languages. In "The Door to
Plato located his ideal republic, and Saturn" the message of the god Hzi-
Hyperborea is an imaginary conti- ulquoigmnzah is recorded thus: "Iq-
nent situated in northern Europe, to hui dlosh odhglongh"- -reminiscent
which Pindar attributed a temperate of the celebrated incantation in "The
climate and which later received the Call of Cthulhu"; " Ph'nglui mglw' -
name of the Kingdom of Thule. Start- nagl fhtagn." These barbarous words,
ing from the se legendary continents, emerging from another world, help
Smith create s a fantastic world, mak- to reinforce the impression of the
ing allusion to other imaginary lands strange and the unreal. Finally,
like Lemuria or the vanished conti- Clark Ashton Smith's fantastic lands
nent Mu. These lands are situated are peopled with flying dragons,
beyond our known environment, and speaking birds, vampiric flower-
the author can give free rein to his women, and other monsters more
imagination, as Lovecraft did in his bizarre still. It is sometimes dif-
dream world. Smith's imaginary ficult to distinguish reality from il-
regions are constructed by a coher- lusion, as in "The Abominations of
ent topography like that of Averoigne Yondo," and this blurring contrib-
and it is almost possible, following utes to the tale an emphatically
the indications given by Smith in the dream-like character.
various tales, to chart a precise Smith's science-fiction tales seem
map of Hyperborea and Zothique. like a sort of extension of his heroic
The same place-names reappear, fantasy tales. The planets described
and sometimes the same characters there also have strange names and
are found in several tales, like the are peopled with monsters. In con-
sorcerer Eibon in the Hyperborea trast to what he has done with Hyper-
cycle. Each land has its own myth- borea and Zothique, Smith has not
ology and its own gods: Mordiggian tried in this field to construct a co-
and Thasaidonare the deities of Zo- herent and unique framework. The
thique, while Ubbo-Sathla and Tsa- planet Mars, for example, which is
thoggua belong to the Hyperborean the setting for several tales, is each
pantheon. time described under a totally dif-
In regard to these lands Smith ferent aspect, and each tale is en-
employs a completely fantastic no- tirely autonomous.
menclature. While the names of the
cities in Averoigne must satisfy the Clark Ashton Smith's
norms of the French language those , Literary Artistry
of the cities of Zothique or Hyper-
borea no longer correspond to any Clark Ashton Smith' s work scarce-
known linguistic criterion, and the ly corresponds to the definitions cus-
same is true for the names of char- tomarily given to the genre of the
acters. Clark Ashton Smith, like fantastic. In fact, only in a small
Lovecraft, is fond of imagining bi- number of tales like "The Hunters
zarre, even unpronounceable names from Beyond" can there be found that
like Puthuum, Knygathin Zhaum, Lo- "strange, almost unbearable irrup-
quamethros, Xexanoth, and Avoosl tion into the real world" which Roger
Wuthoqqan- -and the se are only some Caillois has mentioned. Smith is
examples there are dozens of others.
; fond of plunging his reader directly
Smith' s gods, like those of Lovecraft, into an unreal world which is not
express themselves in incomprehen- necessarily opposed to the reassur-
8 / Crypt of Cthulhu

ing world of everyday reality. This is situated on another level: it is an


is particularly true in the tales of art above all visual, in which the
the Averoigne, Hyperborea, and Zo- writer takes the place of a painter,
thique cycles. The reader enters and his pen the place of a brush.
head first into these imaginary Where other authors are content for
worlds; he must accept their norms the most part to suggest, Smith is
and can rely upon them entirely, fond above all of describing with a
knowing in advance that all rational riot of detail rarely equalled. His
explication of the narrated events extraordinary lands peopled with
will be vain. We do not, as a gen- disquieting monsters, hisDantesque
eral rule, find in Smith that ambigu- abysses, his evocations of danse
ity, that uncertainty which accord- macabres , his cosmic visions
ing to Todorov is the central condi- stamped with a strange poetry raise
tion of authentic fantasy. Moreover, him to the level of the great creators
if we agree with Lovecraft that fan- of Fantasy, and he sometimes
tasy is inseparable from pain and chances, in this precise regard, to
horror, we must acknowledge that surpass his mentor and friend Love-
Smith places himself well within this craft.
conception. He excels, in fact, in Although he belonged to Love-
descriptions of macabre or horrible c raft's small coterie and was sub-
scenes like the drowned and half- ject, as we have seen, to his influ-
eaten corpses who come back to life ence, Clark Ashton Smith does not
in "Necromancy in Naat, " or the belong to any school. His fantastic
hordes of mummies, skeletons, and work is probably unique in its field,
decomposed corpses who emerge and if his tales have not left very
from their tombs in "The Empire of profound traces in the literary his-
the Necromancers. " tory of the twentieth century. Smith
There is a latent sadism in these himself regarded them merely as a
tales of Smith- -he is fond of visibly means of gaining income preferring
,

describing scenes of torture or of to devote the majority of his time to


particularly cruel vengeance. Smith, painting and poetry.
however, never reaches the limits The tale s he has left us neverthe-
of the unbearable - -in contrast, for less testify to a great creative imagi-
example, to Stoker- -and he never nation, a vast culture, and a perfect
founders in the cheap eroticism of a mastery of the English language.
good number of his contemporaries. His elegant and slightly archaic style
Smith is, moreover, much less ef- make some of them true poems in
fective when he embarks upon tradi- prose. Clark Ashton Smith is above
tional fantastic themes: his vam- all an enchanter, and his fantastic
pires, werewolves, and lamias are world belongs to the domain of the
not very terrifying and incite us more marvelous, i.e., to an imaginary
often to laughter What is most lack-
. world which no longer has anything
ing in Smith is that profound convic- in common with the real world. Smith
tion as to thepowers of the forces of is, one might say, the Bosch or the
Evil which we find in a Lovecraft, a Dali of American fantasy. He has
Blackwood, or a Machen, or again opened new per spectives both in con-
that pathological obsession which is temporary fantasy and in science -
at the heart of Poe's work. fiction, and as such fills the role of
Clark Ashton Smith' s literary art a pioneer.
Hallowmas 1984 / 9

The Last Hieroglyphs


SMITH'S LOST OR UNPUBLISHED FICTION
By Steve Behrends

Beyond his 110 mature published contribute to our understanding of


stories, Clark Ashton Smith is known Smith as a writer of weird fiction.
to have completed a handful of others, The bulk of our information con-
and to have come close to finishing cerning these stories has come from
a few more; and although Crypt of Smith's letters to his writer -friends,
Cthulhu has recently brought "Double but I would also like to acknowledge
Cosmos, " "Nemesis of the Unfin- the information and help given me
ished, " "The Dart of Rasasfa, " and by Glenn Lord, Rah Hoffman, Don
"Strange Shadows" into print for the Fryer and Roy Squires in this re-
first time, and at least one more tale gard, and to thank Mr. E. Hoffmann
should appear elsewhere in the near Price especially for discussing
future, several major pieces are "Dawn of Discord" and "House of the
still outstanding. Monoceros. "
Smith's unpublished stories in-
clude both fantasies and ironic non- Completed Stories
fantastics. A handful of manuscripts
in the latter category are still with "The Red World of Polaris"
us andean be found in the Smith Pa- (August, 1930, 13, 500 words; lost?)
per s Collection at Brown University
("A Copy of Burns," "The Pawnbro- "My 'Red World of Polaris' is
ker's Parrot," "Checkmate," "The pseudo- scientific with a vengeance:
Flirt, " "A Platonic Entanglement, " it deals with a race of people who
"The Expert Lover," perhaps others), had their brains implanted into inde-
but the majority of the unpublished structible metal bodies, and who are
weird tales--which this article dis- going to perform the same office for
cusses--are missing. the humans who visit their world.
In contrast to the numerous syn- The denouement is terrific .
". .

opses and fragmentary opening para- (CAS to HPL, 8/22/30); "The last
graphs in Untold Tales the works,
chapter could easily afford themes
outlined below repre sent substantial for Dore or Martin, in regard to
efforts on Smith's part: a tale that cataclysmic scope at any rate" (CAS
Smith completed or carried for quite to HPL ca. mid-September 1930).
a distance is naturally a more elab- This ending may be hinted at in the
orate and detailed affair than a hand- following salutation: "Greetings and
ful of notes. Also, Smith thought valedictions from the outer moon of
enough of these particular plot- the Red World, in the hour following
germs to fleshthem into stories . . .
the collapse of the atomic vault, the
perhaps their ideas were close to outbreak of the metal-eating mon-
his heart (e. g. ,
"Mnemoka"); per- sters from the subterranean realm,
haps he simply they would yield
felt and the downfall of the last Sabelian
ma rketable yarns. Either way, what- tower of the Zophratars (?)." (CAS
ever we can discover about these to HPL August 22, 1930.)
missing or unpublished works should The idea of brains kept alive in
10 / Crypt of Cthulhu

artificial bodies dates from Smith's in a single day. There's not much
childhood. As other stories based of the cosmic in it; but it might in-

on similar notions began to appear terest you as an attempt at psycho-


in the science -adventure magazines, logical realism" (CAS to HPL ca.
he grew pessimistic about "The Red October 17, 1930).
World's" salability. A copy of this was at one time in-
cluded in Smith's posthumous pa-
"Like Mohammed's Tomb" pers, but was never delivered to
(October 1930; 3, 000 words; lost?) Brown University. Mr. Rah Hoff-
man, who read the tale in manuscript,
Writing to Lovecraft in mid-Octo-
remarks "I recall the story as dread-
ber 1930, Smith mentioned that he
ful, embarrassing, etc. As I do not
was "lagging over a scientific hor-
even [Smith's]
like ghost stories, not
ror Like Mohammed' s Tomb.' The
'The Phantoms of the Fire,' 1 truly
'
,

chief merit is that the scientist uses


suspect this story concerned such a
his contraption to commit a highly
phantom face by the river" (Hoffman
novel and unique suicide, and also to
to Behrends, August 23, 1984).
remove a budding fellow-inventor
from the sphere of mundane effort." "Dawn of Discord" and
The story was sent along in his next
"House of the Monoceros"
letter (November 10,1930): "Here's
a little scientific horror for you to
It'sunlikely that either story was
read. The anti-gravitation mechan-
written before May 1938. Both were
ism was put to good use, I think. "
handed over to E. Hoffmann Price,
Elsewhere in his fiction Smith has
who rewrote them for publication in
referred to the tomb of Mohammed:
Spicy Mystery Stories, where they
in "The Master of the Asteroid" we
appeared unde r his own name, "Dawn
find the sentence, we hang . .

of Discord" in October 1940, and


suspended like Mohammed's coffin,
"House of the Monoceros" in Febru-
remote from earth and equally re-
ary 1941 as "The Old Gods Eat"
mote from the stars, in an incom-
(Glenn Lord discovered this). Re-
mensurable vastness without bourn
garding the eventual fate of Smith's
or direction. " The "Tomb" tale
own drafts. Price writes: "When the
might then resemble "A Murder in
scripts he gave me had served their
the Fourth Dimension, " in which a
purpose, of course I scrapped them.
man is deposited into a barren realm Scripts were not sacred relics"
beyond the universe we know, per-
(Price to Behrends, June 9, 1984).
haps resulting from his use of the
Smith's Completed Stories log
anti-gravitation device, which may
tells us that "Discord" and "Mono-
have repelled him simultaneously ceros" were originally 6, 000 and
from all objects of matter.
5,200 words in length, respectively;
Donald Sidney-Fryer tells us that Price's efforts brought them to 9,000
both "Red World" and "Mohammed's and 7,800 words. At the moment we
Tomb" were sold to Michael DeAn- have only the Price versions to ex-
gelis (editor of Asmodeus )
in the
amine, since no draft, fragment, or
1950s.
synopsis by Smith has turned up for
either story .and the stories in
. .

"The Face by the River"


print read nothing like Smith (-this
(October 1930; 2, 500 words; lost?)
is especially true of "Monoceros").
"Here is a tale . . . which I wrote The reader is referred to "The
Hallowmas 1984 / 1 1

Price-Smith Collaborations" else- body which have come from Yamil


where in this issue for synopses of Zacra" (CAStoAWD, March 1, 1933).
these tales. "House of the Mono- The amulet was "found behind the
ceros" can be found in Price's Far cracked binding of a volume of Jane
Lands, Other Days. According to Austin" (CAS to DeCamp, September
Mr. Price, a third story was given 21, 1952); and "In the Foreword, the
him by Smith: "There were three hero. . is arrested in pur is natur-
.

CAS stories; alas, I have no recol- abilisby a patrolman while trying to


lection of unpublished #3, neither reach his suburban residence at dawn
substance nor title" (Price to Beh- via a main avenue of his home city.
rends, July 17, 1984). Could it have He tells the subsequent story to the
been "The Face by the River"? friend who rescues him from his
plight, asan explanation of how he
"A Good Embalmer" found himself in that condition of
(February 1931; MS draft in Smith 'Adamic starkness'" (CAS to AWD,
Papers Collection) March 9, 1933).
The existing manuscript mentions
This scheduled for inclusion
is Smith's invented tome, The Testa-
in the second issue of Lin Carter's ments of Carnamagos (as does his
Y oh- Vombis and may also appear
, "Xeethra" and "The Treader of the
as a limited pamphlet from the pri- Dust"), Hyperborea, Zothique and
vate press of Roy Squires. the Necronomicon It also features
.

the same "Avalzant, Envoy of Cos-


Major Unfinished Stories mic Evil" pictured in The Fantastic
Art of Clark Ashton Smith A char- .

"The Infernal Star" acter which had yet to appear in the


(Early February 1933; left incom- story by the time Smith stopped work
plete at 10,000 words; copies are in on it is the subject of another paint-
the hands of several private collec- ing: describing a portrait he had
tors, and two pages of an early draft sent to Robert Barlow, Smith ex-
are verso to the "Weaver in the plained, "Malanoth, concerning whom
Vault" manuscript in the John Hay you inquire, is a master wizard from
Library's Lovecraft Collection. )
the world Pnidleethon, which re-
volves about Yamil Zacra, central
"The involves a harmless
tale sun of evil, and its dark companion,
bibliophile in a series of wild and Yuzh" (CAS to RHB, September 10,
mysterious happenings, ending in his 1934).
translation to Yamil Zacra,' a star Smith had planned this novel as a
which is the fountain-head of all the serial for Weird Tales, and when
evil and bale and sorcery in the uni- Wright discouraged him he set it
verse. It mixes wizardry and nec- aside; but, as with his "Master of
romancy with the latest scientific Destruction," he toyed with the idea
theory of 'radiogens, or atoms of
'
of finishing it in the late 1950s and
sun-fire, burning at a temperature showed the fragmentary draft to Au-
of 500 Centigrade in the human body.
1 gust Derleth in February 1958 in
I am using the innocuousness of the hopes of an eventual Arkham House
hero's normal personality as a foil release. An early draft in the Rah
to that which he temporarily assumes Hoffman/CAS collaboration "The
beneath the influence of an amulet Arcana of Arkham- Auburn, " which
that stimulates those particles in his describes Hoffman's early visits
12 / Crypt of Cthulhu

with Smith, gives Smith's sense of and drifter of the space-lanes, who
the story during the 1940s: "He has purchases the illicit Mnemoka from
about a third or half of a book- length the Aihai Pnaglak, hoping to relive
fantasy novel written, which he ex- some hours with his first love Sophia ,

pects to complete one of these days. (remember "Last Incantation"?).


It is titled 'The Dark Star ... It is Unfortunately, Jon is also haunted
1

his first novel, and he wants to write by far less pleasant memories,
it exactly as he wants, without any memories of a brutal murder he had
editorial changes. Consequently he committed. After taking the drug,
hopes to publish it as a book, and if some physical manifestations of his
this does not work out, he intends to memories appear in the present,
include it in another Arkham House and time seems confused. Here
. . .

collection." Note that Smith's "new" the story breaks off.


title "The Dark Star" was also his Little is known regarding "Mne-
original title, since the early synop- moka s" composition; references to
1

sis for the tale, included in The Black it have yet to appear in Smith's cor-
Book , is called "The Dark Star. " respondence. Conjectural evidence
from The Black Book of Clark Ash -
"Mnerripka" ton Smith indicates the story dates
from Smith's bur st of creative ener
Several partial drafts have been gy in the mid- to late-1950s: Item
preserved in the Smith Papers Col- 210 lists the title along with a host
lection, together with their carbons of other stories considered or com-
this duplication is very fortunate, pleted during the '50s, such as "Sym-
inasmuch as all pages are terribly posium of the Gorgon" (August 1957),
burned. With some effort, however, "Theft of Thirty-Nine Girdles" (Oc-
the first 2,000 words can be entirely tober 1952-April 1957), "Wingless
reconstructed, with fragments total- Phoenix"- - this almost surely be-
ing 700 words extending beyond. Had came "Phoenix" (November 1953)--*
he ever completed it, "Mnemoka" and "Monsters in the Night" (April
would have been Smith' s fourth story 1953).
with the Martian setting of "The An attempt has been made to com-
Vaults of Yoh-Vombis," "The Dweller plete this story. Since no synopsis
in the Gulf, " and "Vulthoom. " has yet come to light, I've drawn the
Mnemoka is a drug, brewed from extant beginning and fragments to-
a Martian cactus, that allows the wards a conclusion of my own devis-
user to re-experience past events ing. Smith's reconstructed begin-
in his or her own life. Thematically ning stops after the phrase, "And
the tale is similar to "The Chain of now that grisly wound, " and is en-
Aforgomon, " in which a character tirely unadulterated; some 1,400
calls upon the Lurking Chaos Xexan- words follow in which all of the frag-
oth to achieve the same end. Also re- ments appear, with an equal mix of
call "The Last Incantation," wherein Smith and Behrends; and my 700
Malygris the mage seeks to resur- word conjectural conclusion com-
rect his first love, and to recapture mences with the paragraph beginning
his innocent past. But unlike these "The light of every gem. ... 11

two stories, the main character is "Mnemoka*" is slated for the third
not someone we can sympathize with: or fourth is sue of Lin Carter's Yoh-
he is "Space-Alley Jon," a murderer V ombis.
Hallowmas 1984 / 13

The Clark Ashton Smythos


By Will Murray

ClarkAshton Smith is considered couldn't have been worked into it.


to be one of the signal contributors Zothique is as much of a land of
toH. P. Lovecraft' Cthulhu Mythos.
s magic and fantasy and horror as Hy-
According to Weinberg and Berg perborea, and even if it weren't, the
lund's Reader's Guide to the Cthulhu Cthulhu Mythos is no stranger to
Mythos Smith produced twenty- six
,
modernity- -or even to science fic-
Mythos stories in all. They range tion.
from the inconsequential and doubt- A more macabre kind of horror
fully classified tale of Averoigne, infuses Smith's Mythos yarns, one
"The Satyr, " to the overwhelmingly laced with magic and mocking humor.
cosmic "Ubbo-Sathla. " Of course, There is none of HPL's grounding in
Smith's premier story of this type reality to prepare the reader for the
has to be the classic "Tale of Satam- wonders of exposure to the unthink-
pra Zeiros, " a story that so im- able. Not a shred of his scientific
pressed H. P. Lovecraft when he materialism, or whatever one wishes
read it in manuscript, that he im- to call Lovecraft' s world view. And
mediately incorporated Smith's toad- no brooding New England farm-
god, Tsathoggua, into the pantheon houses. Smith presents his view of
of the Mythos. the Mythos in earlier ages, where
Despite Smith's many contribu- the line between fantasy and reality
tions to the canon, very few of these is not as clearly drawn. As such,
are typical Mythos stories. That is, there is significantly less impact to
few are set in the modern world and his Mythos entities. When Tsathog-
involve the traditional Lovecraftian gua emerges, black and furred and
themes of threatening entities from possessing a viscous plasticity, from
Out There. Two exceptions are "The his bowl in "The Tale of Satampra
Nameless Offspring," itself unusual Zeiros," he is a horrible figure, but
because it is set in modern England, because Smith describes him in de-
and "The Hunters from Beyond, " tail, referring to his batlike and
which is a tale about soul-devouring toadlike attributes, this entity does
Elementals from another dimension. not provoke the awe of a Cthulhu, or
You won't find Cthulhu or Yog-So- even an Azathoth, whom Lovecraft
thoth in a Smith story, although they carefully never described. He is
are mentioned once or twice under even less horrible to the reader than
variant spellings like Kthulhut and the impossibly ophidian Knygathin
Y ok- Zothoth. Zhaum, the supposed descendant of
No, most of Smith's Mythos sto- Tsathoggua who stalked Hyperborea
ries are set in medieval Averoigne, in "The Testament of Athammaus. "
o r further back in time in his stories In a world of lurking horror, Tsa-
of the prehistoric Polar continent of thoggua is just another loathsome
Hyperborea. Oddly enough, none of critter.
his stories of the future continent of Smith's alleged Mythos stories
Zothique can be classified as belong- are chock full of such beings. In
ing to the Mythos, although there is "The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan,"
no apparent reason why some of them it is an unnamed guardian of a trea-
14 / Crypt of Cthulhu

sure who possesses "... a toad- dis, whose discovery of a mystic


like face and a swollen, squidgy body crystal once owned by the Hyperbo-
and numerous cuttlefish limbs or ap- rean wizard, Zon Mazzamalech
pendages," who, according to Smith, leads him to plumb the depths of the
did not "resemble any specie s of ani- Necronomicon and The Book of
mal, or any known god or demon of Eibon . Paul discovers that in an
Hyperborea, " and therefore was earlier incarnation, he was Zon
most definitely not Tsathoggua. This Mazzamalech- -who had searched in
creature speaks in a sardonic, but vain for the lost tablets of the pre-
very human voice, and its motives human gods which ". . . were
are rather mundane. It watches over guarded in the primal mire by the
the treasure in order to feast on un- formless, idiotic demiurge, Ubbo-
lucky treasure hunters, which itdoes Sathla. "
to Avoosl "in a leisurely and me- Via the crystal; Paul goes back
thodical fashion" at the story's end. through time, reliving each of his
Can you imagine C.thulhu calling to past lives in descending order until
skin divers venturing too close to his consciousness has regressed to
R'lyeh in such a fashion? I cannot. his prehuman incarnations and:
Smith's most cosmic Mythos en-
tities were Rlim Shaikorth, the white There, in the gray beginning
worm of "The Coming of the White of Earth, the formless mass that
Worm" and Ubbo-Sathla, of the story was Ubbo-Sathla reposed amid
by that name. Shaikorth (it's a mea- the slime and the vapors. Head-
sure of the lack of awe Smith's enti- less, without organs or members,
ties generate that one's reflex is to it sloughed from its oozy sides,
treat their names like Christian in a slow, ceaseless wave, the
narties- -ever hear anyone call Yog- amoebic forms that were the ar-
Sothoth "Sothoth"?) is an Old One, chetypes of earthly life. Horri-
according to Smith, who came down ble it was, if there had been aught
from the stars on his ice mountain, to apprehend the horror; and
Yikilth, and resembles a gargantuan loathsome, if there had been any
white worm with bleeding eyes. De- to feel loathing. About it, prone
spite this nonanthropomorphic ap- or tilted in the mire, there lay
pearance, he speaks in a too-human the mighty tablets of star-quar-
voice and possesses a disappointing- ried stone that were writ with the
ly cliche hunger for the flesh of his inconceivable wisdom of thepre-
worshippers. A worshipper of the mundane gods.
worm learns of his imminent fate And there, to the goal of the
and disposes of Shaikorth with a forgotten search, was drawn the
bronze short sword, although in dy- thing that had been --or would
ing, the entity vanquishes his killer sometimes be--Paul Tregardis
in a torrent of black and terrible and Zon Mezzamalech. Becom-
blood. ing a shapeless eft of the prime,
"The Coming of the White Worm" it crawled sluggishly and oblivi-
is a mordant joke on the concept of ously across the fallen tablets of
becoming one with the godhead, and the gods, and fought and ravened
this theme is carried to its ultimate blindly with the other spawn of
conclusion in "Ubbo-Sathla," Smith's Ubbo-Sathla.
most Lovecraftian Mythos story. It's
the story of Londoner Paul Tregar- It's an appropriately cosmic sto-
Hallowmas 1984 / 15

ry, but there is still that element of taking the Mythos beyond the pale of
ironic humor in Smith's Worm Ouro- pastiche? So let's split the differ-
boros- style ending which sets this ence and call Smith's twenty- six
story, like all of Smith' s, apart from Mythos stories a kind of sub- set to
the distinctly sober Lovecraft brand the canon. A mythology that com-
of Mythos excursion. pares to the Mythos the way the
It is significant to note that of all myths of the Romans compared to
of Clark Ashton Smith's Mythos en- the earlier Greek myths: the Clark
tities, the only one H. P. Lovecraft Ashton Smythos.
thought enough of to include in his
stories, or for that matter in the
genealogy of Mythos entities repro- AD RATES
duced on page 183 of Selected Let -
ters IV, was Tsathoggua. Strictly Full page (6 3/8"x9 3/4") $25
speaking, there isn't much room in Half page (6 3/8"x4 7/8"
the pure Lovecraft Mythos for the or 3"x9 3/4") $13
likes of Rlim Shaikorth, or even Quarter page (6 3/8"x2 3/8"
Ubbo-Sathla, and Hyperborea is as or 3"x4 7/8") $7
foreign to Lovecraft's ideas as Bar- Please do not exceed exact dimen-
soom, although HPL did drop the sions. Camera ready copy. (And
name from time to time. don' t make it look too amateurish.
Smith's stories are excellent, but
later, less talented contributors to
the Mythos are more in line with
Lovecraft's concepts. This is not a
criticism, but merely one person's
assessment. Smith, in his own way,
was an original thinker. What he
lacked in terms of Lovecraft' s world
OTHER CRYPTIC
view, he more than made up for with PUB LIC ATIONS
his own unique brand of imaginative
conceits. As such, the Cthulhu My- RISQUE STORIES #2 New, with
;

thos stories of Clark Ashton Smith, more naughty tales by Lin Carter,
although in some instances inspired Carl Jacobi, and the one and only
by HPL's ideas, are not truly con- "Justin Case" (Hugh B. Cave). Plus
tinuous with them. Perhaps it's time as sorted filthy smut from^offman.
to recognize Smith's achievements Cerasinsi, Murray, and Price.
for what they are: offshoots of the Fabian cover. $3. 00

Mythos, not a part of it. And per- RISQUE STORIES #1 $3.00


haps, while we credit Smith for be-
ing his own writer, with a personal SHUDDER STORIES #1 $3. 00
vision as distinctly different as
TWO-FISTED DETECTIVE
Lovecraft's, it's time to honor
STORIES by Robert E.
Smith's supposed Mythos stories, Howard $4. 50
his private Smythology, as it were,
with a rubric of their own. and distributed by Cryptic Publi-
Some may rankle at this sugges- cations: The History and Chro -
tion. A Mythos story is a Mythos nology of the Book of Eibon by Lin
story, after all. Fine. But doesn't Carter $ 1 00 .

Smith deserve separate credit for


/ Crypt of Cthulhu

j
NEW I J
H. P. LOVECRAFT CARDS |

i i i i

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Hallowmas 1984 / 17

An Annotated Chronology
of Smiths Fiction
By Steve Behrends

Chronologies are dull affairs, of works are marked with an asterisk.


course: they can come in handy at
times, but how often have you curled "The Abominations of Yondo"[l925]
up with one before a crackling fire? "I think it was mainly Love-
It would be much more interesting, c raft's interest and encourage-
say, to have a list of the stories that ment that led me to ['Yondo'l,
the author himself considered his which appeared in The Over-
finest. Smith never gave us such a land Monthly " and "evok[edl I ,

list; and while he did select his best was told, many protests from
work for inclusion in Out of Space the readers. "
and Time he commented at the time
, (1) "Sadastor" f 1 925]
that the "choice seems pretty diffi- "The Ninth Skeleton" [after 4/28 and
cult, since, after a few outstanding before 8/28]
items such as 'The Double Shadow' (2) "The Last Incantation"
and 'A Night in Malneant,' I seem to [10/23/29]
find dozens or scores of fairly equal (3) "The End of the Story"
merit" (CAS to August Derleth, Sep- [10/1/29] "It's a good tale--
tember 5, 1941). especially from the sales-
Still, while he may not have put angle. "
them down in one place, Smith did (4) "The Phantoms of the Fire"
have opinions about his stories and [10/6/29] "I prefer nearly all
frequently expressed them to his myother tales. "
pen-pals. In an effort to bridge the (5) 'A Night in Malneant" [l 0/ 15/29]
gap between arid scholarship and "One of my best atmospherics."
some of these
light entertainment, (6) "The Resurrection of the Rat-
comments have been gathered to- tlesnake" [10/10/29] "Pretty
gether, along with other informa- (10) punk, except for the touch of
tional tidbits, and appear below the genuine horror at the end. "
"There much "
pertinent title in the following, isn't to it.

spiced-up Smith chronology. (7) "Thirteen Phantasms"


A date in brackets indicates a [10/11/29]
date of completion, unle s s noted, and (8) "The Venus of Azombeii"
a number in parentheses before a [H/ll/ 29 "A weird mixture
]

titlegives that story's place in the of poetry and melodrama. "


Completed Stories log. This order- (9) "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros"
ing has been followed as much as [11/16/29] "One of my best. "
possible, despite minor disagree- "The Monster of the Prophecy"
ments with date s from othe r sources "One of my favorite yarns. "
Only when a tale's completion was "Absolutely novel in inter-
considerably delayed with respect to planetary fiction. " "The re-
its inclusion in the log has the or- sult of a definite inspiration."
dering been changed. Unfinished "The plot . . . was good from
18 / Crypt of Cthulhu

any angle; and I am willing to ms. and read it over, when I

bet that the satiric implica- am too bored to read anything


tions will be missed by a lot of in mybook-cases " !

readers. " "I'm sure it's the (26) "The Red World of Polaris"
first interplanetary story on [late 8/30] "Pa ssably written,
record, where the hero doesn't but suffering] from triteness
return to earth at the end!" of plot. " "It was written on

(11) "The Metamorphosis of Ear th" several mountain- tops, be-


[late 1929] "fea sed on a far neath the thousand-year -old
from bad idea. " "Probably the junipers on granite crags; and
best element is the satire. " the giant firs and hemlocks by
. . am now engaged in kill- the margin of sapphire tarns."
ing off an odious bunch of sci- "Mere words didn't seem to
entists. " . . stand up in the presence of
(12) "The Epiphany Death"
of those peaks and cliffs. But
[1/25/30] "Inspired by 'Ran- now, amid the perspective of
dolph Carter' and . . . written familiar surroundings, 'The
in about three hours. " Red World' doesn't seem so.
"
(13) "A Murder in the Fourth Di- bad.
mension" [1/30/30] (27) "Told Desert"
in the ?] [

(14) "The Par rot in the Pawn-Shop" (28) "The Willow Landscape"
[1/5/30] [9/8/30]
(15) "A Copy of Burns" [2/27/30] (29) "A Rendezvous in Averoigne"
(16) "The Devotee of Evil" [3/9/30] [9/13/30] "One of my own fa -
(17) "The Satyr" [1/31/30] vorites--in fact, I like it much
(18) "The Planet of the Dead" better than the celebrated 'End
[4/6/30] of the Story.
(19) "The Uncharted Isle" [4/2 1 /30] * "The Eggs From Saturn [be-
* "Vizaphmal in Ophiuchus" gun late 9/30] "[will feature]
[plotted 4/30] a realistic local setting for its
(20) "Marooned in Andromeda" interplanetary mysteries and
[5/16/30, begun 1/24/30] "An horrors .

excellent peg for a lot of fan- * "The Ocean-World of Alioth"


tasy, horror, grotesquery and [plotted and begun late 9/30]
satire. " (30) "The Gorgon" [10/2/30]
(21) "The Root of Ampoi" [5/28/30] (31) "An Offering to the Moon"
"A dud. [10/30] "No great favorite of
(22) "The Necromantic Tale" mine. " "Maybe I tried too
[6/23/30] much for character-study and
(23) "The Immeasurable Horror" contrast, to the detriment of
[7/13/30] the weird atmosphere and the
(24) "A Voyage to Sfanomoe" 'action.
[7/17/30] "A sort of favorite (32) "The Kiss of Zoraida"
with me. " He listed it among [10/15/30] "An ungodly piece
his best pseudo- scientific of pseudo-Oriental junk. "
yarns. "Well enough done, with some
(25) "The Door to Saturn" [7/26/30] touches of terrific irony. "
"This tale is one of my favor- (33) "The Face by the River"
ites, partly on account of its [10/30]
literary style. " "I take out the (34) "Like Mohammed's Tomb"
Hallowmas 1984 / 19

[ 10/301 about as good as I can do in


is
"The Sorceress of Averoigne" the line of unearthly horror. "
[plotted late 10/30] "I really thinkhe (or it) is about
(35) "Checkmate" [11/7/30] my best monster to date. "
(36) "The Ghoul" [11/12/30] (44) "The Amazing Planet (A Cap-
"The legend is so hideous that ,
tivity in Serpens)" [3/31, be-
1 would not be surprised if gun 11/30] "I'll give them
there were some mention of it their 'action' this time!!!"
in the Necronomicon " . (45) "The Letter from Mohaun Los"
(37) "A Tale of Sir John Maunde- [4/9/31]
ville" [11/16/30] "A good (46) "The Hunters from Beyond"
short." "['Sir John' and 'The [4/28/31]"I'm none too fond
Ghoul'] pleased me for their "Doesn't please
of the story."
archaism. " "The kingdom of me very
well--the integral
Antchar, which I have invented mood seems a little second-
for this tale, is even more un- rate, probably because the
wholesome, if possible, than modern treatment is rather
Averoigne. " uncongenial for me. "
(38) "An Adventure in Futurity" (47) "The Holiness of Azedarac"
[12/27/30] "An awful piece of [5/21/31] "The plot maketh
junk. " rather a merrie tale, me-
"
(39) "The Justice of the Elephant" thinks.
[12/29/30] (48) "The Maker of Gargoyles"
(40) "The Return of the Sorcerer" [6/16/31]
[1/6/31] An "original plot; but (49) "Beyond the Singing Flame"
it seems to need some addi- [6/30/31] "Strikes me as the
tional atmospheric develop- best thing I have don^ recent-
ment. " ly. "

(41 ) "The City of the Singing Flame" (50) "Seedling of Mars (The Mar-
[1/15/31] "Some day I must tian)" [ 7 /20/3 1 ] "Aprettyfair
look for those two boulder s . . . scientifictional opus. r'

If you and other cor respondents * "The Master of Destruction"


cease to hear from me, you [plotted 8 / 3 1 ] "It ought to
can surmise what has hap- make a thriller. "
pened " ! (51) "The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis"
* "A Tale of Gnydron" [plotted [9/12/31] "A rather ambitious
2 / 3 1 ] Note: Zothique con- hunk of extra -planetary weird
ceived. ness. " "The interplanetary
(42) "A Good Embalmer" [2/7/31] angle . . . adds considerably
"Have spent three days over a to the interest. " In October
six-page horror. It is not. . 1932 Smith submitted "Yoh-
in my natural genre, and may Vombis" (and "Empire of the
not even Have the dubious me rit Necromancers") to an antholo-
of being salable." "[it] should gist, as examples of his best
take the palm for macabre gro- work.
tesquery. " * "The Rebirth of the Flame"
(43) "The Testament of Atham- [plotted before 9/22/31]
maus" [1/22/31, plotted 4/30] (52) "The Eternal World" [9/27/31]
"I shall feel rather peeved if "The best and most original of
Wright turns it down; since it my super- scientific tales, so
20 / Crypt of Cthulhu

decadence. '"
far." "The toughest job I have of
ever attempted." "Gernsback (60) "The Seed from the Sepulche r'
took 'The Eternal World,' but [2/32] "[i like it] for its imag -
advised me tosput 'more real- inative touches, but am going
ism' into my future stories, to chuck the malignant plant
saying that the late ones were idea after this. I don't want to
'verging dangerously on the run it into the ground!"
weird.' That's really quite a (61 )
"The Second Interment"
josh--as well as a compli- [1/29/32]
ment. " (62) "Ubbo-Sathla" [2/15/32]
(53) "The Demon of the Flower" (63) "The Double Shadow 3/ 14 / 32] 1

[10/17/31] Smith had consid- (64) "The Plutonian Drug" [4/5/32]


ered including this in The Dou- "Among my best in the field of
ble Shadow as one of his best
,
science-fiction." "It was cer-
stories not sold to magazines. tainly tough writing, and I'm
* "Slaves of the Black Pillar" still a little groggy. " "Hell-
[plotted and begun 10/31] ishly hard to do. "
(54) "The Nameless Offspring" (65) "The Supernumerary Corpse"
[11/12/31, plotted 1/31] "The [4/10/32, plotted 11/30]
plot is about as diabolic as (66) "The Master of the Asteroid"
anything I am ever likely to [6/9/32]
devise. " This work was in- (67) "The Colossus of Ylourgne"
spired by Machen' s "The Great [5/1/32] "Others have com-
God Pan. " mended the tale, so I begin to

(55) "A Vintage from Atlantis" think that perhaps I have unde r -
[ 1 1 / 3 1 ] "It is far from bad. " estimated it." "[it has a] strik-
(56) "The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoq- ing plot. "
quan" [11/25/31] (68) "The Mandrakes [5/15/32]
(57) "The Invisible City "[12/15/31] "Not a very important item. "
'Ahunkof tripe Notenough
. . . (69) "The Beast of Averoigne"
atmosphere to make it good-- [6/18/32] "Rather good--
and too many unexplained mys- terse, grim, and devilishly
teries for the scientifiction horrible." "I think that I have
readers, who simply must have done better tales, but few that
"
their formulae . . . am pretty are technically superior.
thoroughly disgusted by it. " (70) "A Star- Change" [6/32, plotted
"So punk that I don't want to 10/30] "A whale of an idea. "
show it to anyone. " "A high-grade science -fiction
(58) "The Immortals of Mercury" tale." "'A Star-Change' is
[1/19/32] "A lot of tripe, I'm more realistic [than 'The Light
afraid; but if it brings me a from Beyond'], but, in my es-
200. 00 dollar check, will have timation, is equally good. As
served its purpose. " far as I know it is the only at-
(59) "The Empire of the Necroman- tempt to convey the profound
cers" [1/7/32] "A tale which disturbance of function and
pleased me considerably. " sensation that would inevita-
"There is a queer mood in this bly be experienced by a human
little tale ... it is much over- being on an alien world. "
greened with what H. P. once (71) "The Disinterment of Venus"
referred to as the 'verdigris [7/32, plotted 6 / 3 1 ] "A rather
Hallowmas 1984 / 21

unimportant piece." "This, of mospheric associative value."


all my recent tales, will be (78) "The Third Episode of Vathek"
hardest to sell, since it com- [9/16/32] "I really think the
bine s the risque and the ghast- ending is one of the best pieces
ly." "Rather a wicked story." of work I have done lately. "
(72) "The White Sybil" [7/14/32] (79) "Genius Loci" [9/26/32]
(73) "The Ice-Demon" [7/22/32] "An experiment for me . . .

"Well written. But I had to Itwas damnably hard to do,


workit over so much that it and I am not certain of my suc-

stale on me, somehow. "


went cess. I am even less certain

(74) "TheIsle of the Torturers" of being able to sell it to any


[7/31/32] "The best of the editor- -it will be too subtle
summer's crop ... a strange for the pulps, and the high-
mixture of eeriness, grotes- brows won't like the supernat-
query, bright color, cruelty, ural element. "
and stark human tragedy. " (80) "The Light from Beyond"
"One of my own favorites. " [10/31/32, plotted 8/31]
(75) "The Dimension of Chance" "First-rate. "
[8/32] "Probably better as a (81) "The Charnal God" [11/15/32]
satire than anything else. " "A devil of a yarn- -necroman-
(76) "The Dweller in the Gulf" cy, invultuation, necrophilism
[8/32] Smith had bad luck with and necrophagy- -but strictly
this story. He considered it moral at the end, since the foul
"a first-rate interplanetary necromancers get it in the
horror, sans the hokum of neck. " "For my taste, it has
pseudo -explanation, " and yet much plot and not
a little too
to sell it on second submission enough atmosphere. "
he was forced to add a charac- (83) "The DarkEidolon" [12/23/32]
ter (John Chalmers to provide ) "A devil of a story, and if
just such hokum. "The tale Wright knows his mandrakes,
has a magnificent Dantesque he certainly ought to take it on.
ending, " which was hacked If the thing could e ve r be filmed
apart by Hugo Gernsback him- ... it might be a winner for
self when it appeared in Won- diabolic drama and infernal
der Stories . spectacles. " "Contains some
(77) "The Maze of Maal Dweb" of my best imaginative writ-
[9/32] "Ultra-fantastic, full- ing. "
hued and ingenious, with an (84) "The Voyage of King Euvoran"
extra twist or two in the tail [1/33]
for luck." The was origi-
title (82) "Vulthoom" [2/14/33, begun
nally "The Maze of Mool Dweb',' 10/32]"Fails to pie ase me. "
but Smith felt that "Maal Dweb -[it] seems to have pleased
tw o syllables would be pref- [Wright] for some ungodly rea-
erable perhaps, for tone-color, son; but after all it's a cut or
etc." After finalizing this title, two above Edmond Hamilton."
he indulged in a bit of self- (85) "The Weaver in the Vault"
praise: "I think it should be [3/14/33] "I like the tale my-
admitted that some of my no- self, particularly some of the
menclature achieves certain atmospheric touches. "
nuances of suggestive and at- *(90) "The Infernal Star" [begun
22 / Crypt of Cthulhu

early 3/33] ishly hard yarn to write . . .

(86) "The Flower -Women" [3/33, a most infernal chore, since


begun 10/32] the original inspiration seems
(87) "The Dark Age" [4/33] to have gone cold, leaving the
"My lousiest in many moons, tale as immalleable as chilled
largely no doubt, because of iron. "
the non-fantastic plot, which (95) "The Primal City" 1 / 34] [

failed to engage my interest at * "The Scarlet Egg" [begun 3/34]


any point. The one redeeming (96) "Xeethra" [3/21/34, plotted*
feature is the final paragraph, 8/33 or before]
which takes a sly, underhanded (99)
(97) "The Last Heiroglyph" [4/7/34]
crack at the benefits (?) of "A whale of a weird notion. "
science. " *(98) "Shapes of Adamant" [?]
(89) "The Death of Malygris" [4/33]
(91) "The Tomb-Spawn" [begun "Necromancy in Naat'J [2/6/35]
7/33] "Seems the best of my more
* "The House of Haon-Dor" recently published weirds;
[begun 7 / 33] though Wright forced me to
(92) "The Witchcraft of Ulua" mutilate the ending*******"
[8/22/33] "I feel that it is (100) "The Treader of the Dust"
well-written; and it gives a [2/15/35]
certain variant note to my se- (101) "The Black Abbott of Puthuum"
ries of tales dealing with Zo- [before 4/35]
thique." "Erotic imagery was (102) "The Death of Ilalotha"
employed in the tale merely to [3/16/37] "Quite good, I be-
achieve a more varied sensa- lieve, especially in style and
tion of weirdness." "I wouldn't atmosphere. It is unusually

have had the originality to poisonous and exotic " "I seem
write it a few years back. " to have slipped something over
(93) "The Coming of the White on the PTA. "
Worm" [9/15/33] "A tale that (103) "Mother of Toads" [3/20/37,
I am inclined to favour in my begun ca. 5/35] "A passable
own estimation. " "It [was] weird, with a sufficiently hor-
hard to do, like most of my rific ending. "
tales, because of the peculiar (104) "The Garden of Adompha"
and carefully maintained style [7/31/37] "A tale which I am
and tone-colour, which involves inclined to like. "

rejection of many words, im- (105) "The Great God Awto"


ages and locutions that might [begun 9/37? (published 2/40)]
ordinarily be employed in (106) "Strange Shadows" [begun
writing. " 3/40?] A later version, "I Am
(94) "The Seven Geases" [10/1/33] Your Shadow," may have been
"Outrageously grotesque, sar- completed 11/41.
donic and satiric." "Iam rath- (107) "The Enchantress of Sylaire"
er partial to that opus. These [? (published 7/41)]
grotesque and elaborate iron- (108) "Double Cosmos" [3/24/40
ies come all too naturally to (penultimate version), begun
me, I fear. " 3/34]
(88) "The Chain of Aforgomon" (109) "Dawn of Discord" [? H.
(E.
[1/34, begun 4/33] "A devil- Price 1

s rewrite published 1939


Hallowmas 1984 / 23

or 1940)] 1950s]
(110) "House of the Monoceros" * "Beyond the Rose-Arbor" [?]
(Price's rewrite published
[? * "Maker of Prodigies" [?]
2/41)] * "Music of Death" [?]
* "The Painter in Darkness" * "Queen of the Sabbath" [?]
[begun 7/46]
"Neme sis of the Unfinished" [7/30/47
(first version)]
(111) "The Master of the Crabs"
[8/3/47]
MAIL-CALL OF CTHULHU
(c ntinued from page 52)
#(112) "Eviction by Night" [?]
"Morthylla" [(9 or 10)/52l
"limp-wristed" story- -a puzzling
"Schizoid Creator" [(9 or 10)/52]
statement, since to my mind the
"Monsters in the Night" [4/11/53]
philosophical position expressed in
"Phoenix" [1953 (published 11/53)]
the tale (that art and music are of
"The Theft of Thirty-Nine Girdles"
[4/57, begun 10/52]
greater worth to the human spirit
than the plodding grind of manual
"Symposium of the Gordon" [8/5/57]
labor) seems to me a perfectly sen-
"The Dart of Rasasfa" [7/21/61]
sible and rational one; and if Mr.
Lane would read the story more
ADDENDUM
carefully, he would find some very
nasty satire on the Protestant Work
The following synopses or incom-
Ethic in the tale. The prose is some
plete stories are "major ," but either
of the most musical in all Lovecraft,
cannot be dated, or have only very
I think.
unrestrictive bounds on date of com-
- - S. T. Joshi
position:
Jersey City, NJ
* "In a Hashish-Dream /A Tale of
Hashish- Land" [begun in 1 920s] Regarding Joel D. Lane's remarks
* "Asharia: A Tale of the Lost concerning HPLand homosexual un-
Planet" [plotted before 1/32] dertones in his fiction. For at least
"Has great possibilities, I
one instance that he cites, the hand-
feel. " some young man with "the fascina-
* "The Minotaur Brother " [plotted
' s
tion of a dark god or fallen archan-
after 5/26/35] gel" (from the Dream-Quest ), one
* "Offspring of the Grave" [plotted can point to a literary source. As
after 5/26/351 I've shown in my article comparing
* "I Am a Witch" [plotted after the two works, HPL was greatly in-
3/16/37] fluenced in writing the Dream-Quest
* "Mandor's Enemy" [begun in early by William Beckford's Vathek. An
1950s] uninhibited homosexual, Beckford
* "The Wink and the Chuckle" [be- consciously stocked his novel with
gun before 4/53] attractive young men. I suspect the
* "Chincharerro" [begun after "The naive Lovecraft derived the image
Wink and the Chuckle"] of the boyish Nyarlathotep from
* "Mnemoka" [begun in 1950s] Beckford, without realizing the ho-
* "Unquiet Boundary" [begun in
moerotic implications.
1950s] --P'eter Cannon
* "Djinn Without a Bottle" [begun in New York, NY
24 / Crypt of Cthulhu

FANTASY ARCHIVES
"THE UNCOMMON
"Dreams and Fancies"

FOR THE SERIOUS COLLECTOR


We specialize in the uncommon,
the unusual, and the hard to find
in Science Fiction and Fantasy
of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

71 8th Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10014
(212) 929-5391
Hallowmas 1984 / 25

The Feaster from the Stars


By Clark Ashton Smith and L ;
n Carter

I.

The Lord Vooth Raluorn, a mem- The demon - worshippers, it


ber of the minor nobility of Hyper- seemed, had ensconced themselves
borea and twenty-ninth hereditary in anabandoned manse which reared
High Constable of Commoriom, suc- its terraces on the esplanade of the
ceeded to his inheritance at an un- Yrautrom canal, where they engaged
usually premature age, when his fa- furtively in their unlawful rituals
ther, an inveterate huntsman, suc- during those seasons of the year
cumbed to the fangs and claws of one when the star Algol is in the ascen-
of the lesser dinosauria. As his of- dant. Accompanying the constabu-
ficial duties were largely ceremo- lary troop, in order to lend the le-
nial, Vooth Raluorn enjoyed both the gality of his office to their nocturnal
leisure and the income to indulge in raid, Vooth Raluorn was among the
his principal enthusiasm, whichwas first to gain entry to the semi- ruin-
the perusal of antique grimoires and ous edifice, and while the robed cele-
the mastery of the arts of wizardry. brants were bound and searched, he
In this hobby, he was assisted, albeit examined with interest the altarlike
posthumously, by his grandsire, for tablestone which stood at the centre-
the twenty- seventh hereditary High most portion of the vault in which
Constable had been unremitting in they had conducted their liturgical
his persecution of the interdicted blasphemies. It was strewn with a

cultus of the' demon Tsathoggua and number of inte resting ritual objects,
his loathly ilk, and his tireless per- unique among these being a singular-
secutions had resulted in the accu- ly abhor rent eidolon hewn from glint-
mulation of an enviable library of ing obsidian, which depicted a swag-
sorcerous tomes. bellied and corpulent entity with bat-
His leisure thus divided between like wings and the splay-footed hind-
scholarly pursuits and the lascivious legs of a monstrous toad. Face it
pleasures of his rank, Vooth Raluorn had none, save for a grisly beard of
luxuriated in the best of both the in- slithering tentacles which obtruded
tellectual and the voluptuous spheres, from the frontal portions of its re-
and from these studies and pleasures pellantly mis- shapen skull.
he was but infrequently roused by the Before accompanying his raiding-
call of his constabulatory duties. party and their prisoners to the
One such occasion took place early nearest gaol, Vooth Raluorn revolt-
in the reign of Queen Luthomne
. a: edly shattered the eidolon to ringing
conventicle of demon-worshippers shards with the bronze-shod maul of
having been discovered in the south- his office.
ernmost suburb of the capital, Vooth This action, as it eventuated, was
Raluorn was forced to extricate him- exceedingly unwise. Returning at
self from the embrace of his leman, length to the arms of his concubine,
the supple -limbed and sable-tressed the High Constable found himself un-
Y sabbau, in order to respond to the able to rekindle the fiery ardour he
call of duty. had known earlier on that memorable
26 / Crypt of Cthulhu

evening, and became increasingly Raluorn. It seemed that the cult


aware of a curious mixture of list- which had worshipped Zvilpogghua
lessness and uneasy excitation which (until such time as the surviving
neither the honeyed lips of Ysabbau members of the conventicle had per-
nor the bitter lees of the winecup ished by impalement, due to the swift
could seemingly assuage. justice of Queen Luthomne's eccle-
Nightly thereafter were the dreams siastical courts) formerly
had
of VoothRaluorn made hideous by an counted among their number a rene-
umbral apparition of menacing as- gade named Y zduggor who, for what-
,

pect which resembled in eve ry detail ever reason, had quitted their body
the repellant idol he had so impru- some years agone, to take up the life
dently riven asunder. None of the of a penitent eremite among the
wizardly volumes in the library of steeps of the black Eiglophian Moun-
his grandsire served to render again tains. Of the wise Y zduggor, whom
wholesome his slumbers, and even the wizards of Commoriom held in
though Vooth Raluorn dared employ the highest repute, it was rumored
the redoubtable exorcisms of Pnom, that he, as a former devotee of the
at first the Lesser and then in turn obsolete and interdicted cultus of
the Greater, he found no means Zvilpogghua, was privy to the sac-
whereby to extirpate the shadowy e rdotal lore of that entity, and more-
and obscene apparition from his over, that Zvilpogghua, as firstborn
dreams. of the spawn of dreaded Tsathoggua,
With despair and more than con- begotten by the Black Thing upon a
siderable trepidation, Vooth Raluorn female entity named Shathak on far
at length consulted those of his col- and frozen Yaksh the seventh world,
leagues in the Art Sorcerous with was a demonic personage of the most
whom his relations were mutually primordial lineage, and very greatly
friendly. One such, a saintly sep- to be feared.
tuagenarian yclept Zongis Furalor, Thereupon, and without dalliance,
succeeded in identifying the cult- did the dream-haunted Vooth Raluorn
object as an image wrought in the forthwith eloign to the Eiglophians
likeness of a demonic entity whose in search of the remote and secluded
name among men was Zvilpogghua; dwelling of this Yzduggor.
so obscure was the repute of this
demon, that Vooth Raluorn had never II.

heretofore encountered aught con-


cerning him in the grimoires and In these central regions of the
testaments available for his perusal, continent, the land grew wild and
but Zongis Furalor abstracted from perilous, and it was only prudent of
his folios a painted likeness of the the High Constable to venture thither
demon which the High Constable accompanied by two stout guards of
shudderingly recognized as identical his retinue, Yanur and Tsangth.
with the shadow- shape which had for They journeyed, clad in garments of
nights rendered his dreams unspeak- saurian-leather with accouterments
ably noxious. of bronze, and both warriors bris-
Alas, his wizardly colleague ei- tled with blades and barbs, for fear
ther knew little concerning the de- of the furry and prehuman Voormis
mon or refused to impart his knowl- who haunted the peaks, to say noth-
edge thereof; he had, however, a ing of the monstrous catobleps oi the
word of advice for the hapless Vooth mires.
Hallowmas 1984 / 27

Indeed, the unlucky Tsangth fell mummy- thin to the point of emacia-
prey to the scythe - clawed catobleps tion, wrinkled flesh umber of hue
during their traversal of a swampy between patches of ancient filth,
region, and the doughty Yanur per- wearing naught but the reeking hide
ished in combat with the furtive of a Voormis knotted about skeletal
Voormis, leaving the young noble loins. With a friendly halloo, the
with naught to depend on save his own High Constable approached the ere-
wizardry and the strength of his ada- mite and addressed him by name.
mantine scimitar, whose tang was But to this friendly greeting the lean
sunk in a grip carved from masto- hermit returned no reply, not even
donic ivory. deigning to recognize the approach
Alone and unaided did Vooth Ral- of a fellow-human. Thin lips reveal-
uorn assail the glassy scarps of vol- ing all-but- toothless gums, where
canic obsidian, the scoriae cliffs of yet remained the discolored stump
time -riven basalt, avoiding the fu- of a worn fang or two, mumbling
maroles and crevasses wherein prayers or adjurations in a hoarse
might well lurk not only the savage and croaking voice, the eremite con-
Voormis, but the cockatrices and tinued at his devotions, ignoring the
basilisks rumored to favor such very presence of the young noble,
darksome lairs. and all the while with talon-thin fin-
Above him as he toiled upwards gers he counted the beads of an un-
towards the cell of the repentant couth rosary seemingly fashioned
eremite, the cloudless blue ascended from human knuckle -bones
to a zenith of flawless sapphire. With At length, his devotions concluded,
difficulty, he made safe crossing of Yzduggor, for it was in sooth he,
beds of black lava like motionless granted his supplicant the benison of
rivers of stony knives, and, enter- a sour glance of unwelcome from
ing upon a scruffy stand of gnarled yellow eyes bleared with rheum. Un-
juniper s, which meagerly flourished daunted, Vooth Raluorn opened his
from patches of fetid black loam, he leathern wallet and produced those
entered a narrow cleft between vast, gifts he had hopefully assumed one
tumbled blocks of levin- shattered so long sequestered in this wilder-
basaltic boulders, huge as the toy ness, far from the habitation of men,
blocks abandoned by the careless might covet above all else: dried
hands of Titan- children. meats, sweet jellies, ripe swamp-
Through this winding and tene- fruits, a fat black bottle of fire-
b rous labyrinth he went, finding him- hearted brandy from Uzuldaroum,
self at last upon a flat and level ta- and a bag of fragrant snuff. One by
bleland whe re a tongue of rock thrust one he laid these offerings before
out over a vertiginous and bottom- the bare, and bony, and very dirty,
less abyss. Thereupon he spied a feet of the eremite.
hovel whose walls were made of His choices proved apt and quite
boardings hewn from Jurassic coni- welcome, for the claw-like hands
fers, roofed over by the palm -like snatched and tore at the luscious
fronds of cycads. Before this mis- delicacies, and while Yzduggor guz-
erable hut, upon a bed of sanguine zled and slobbered in the most dis-
coals, a cauldron of black iron gusting of manners, the young wiz-
steamed and bubbled. ard explained the reason which had
And crouched upon the door - stoop, prompted this visit and implored the
he spied a gaunt and wretched figure. assistance of the former devotee of
28 / Crypt of Cthulhu

Zvilpogghua. valuable admixtures as powdered


His appetite appeased, the eremite dust of opals and the tears of the
at length yielded grudging reply to hippogriff; fortunately for his cof-
his entreaties, and erelong did the fers, Vooth Raluorn was enabled to
young Commorian learn from Y zdug- procure several of these constitu-
gor's reluctant lips that presently ents at cost, as his closest relative,
Zvilpogghua resided on far and fro- his nephew and heir, Nungis A vargo-
zen Ymar, a world circumambient mon, had been reduced by poverty
about the green star Algol, and might to trading in rare substances re-
be called down to this world by his quired by wizards.
worshippers during those months of With all ready to hand, the sun
the year when the constellation Pe r- westering, Perseus in the ascendant
seus is in the heavens, whereupon it and Algol a fervent eye of green fire
is his grisly wont to feed upon the in the firmament, the young wizard
flesh and to drink of the blood of men, repaired to a hilltop in the precincts
wherefore is he known to sorcerers athwart his manse, hitherto occupied
as the Feaster from the Stars. only by tombs and sepulchres, and
"Very malign and unforgiving is prepared to exorcise foreve r the de-
Zvilpogghua," quoth Y zduggor in monic entity whose disapproval he
harsh and ruminative tones to the had, however accidentally, incurred.
young wizard, "and beware lest you He traced the circles and built
incur his wrath or ire, for he is wise the fire and cast thereinto the re-
and old and cunning, and not of a quired substances. Vapors occulted
charitable nature. " the moon's cold eye, but Algol glared
The refollowing, he advised his burningly down upon the scene. With
visitor to do thus -and- so which might cold globules of per spiration bedew-
avert the vengeance of the Son of ing his furrowed brow, Vooth Ral-
Tsathoggua. "Or might not," added uorn intoned the versicles recom-
the hermit with an enigmatic chuckle. mended by the eremite. A silence
fellupon the gloom - shrouded emi-
III. nence; the wind died; cold stars
leered down from above.
His return from the Eiglophian A black shadow descended.
range was more difficult and haz- Swag-bellied, toad-like with bat-
,

ardous than had been the way thither, wings and splayed, webbed feet it
lacking his two stalwart guards. was; entirely lacking in forelimbs,
Vooth Raluorn was forced to lone the head featureless, a writhing
battle against the beasts of forest mass of tentacles or feelers, the ob-
and swamp, with his wizardry and scene black shape swept down on the
his swordsmanship, and fortunately huddled, shrieking form on the head-
he came out of each contest the vic- land, and bore it aloft in webbed
tor. Returning home to the ancient claws. Nor was it ever again seen
house of his ancestors he dispatched
, by mortal men.
pages and servitors to purchase the
requisites for the formula recom-
mended by the eremite.
This involved considerable ex- And far to the south, beyond jun-
pense, as it required rare spices, gle and swamp, foothills and moun-
costly perfumes, expensive chemi- tains, on a spar of jutting rock where
cals, dangerous narcotics, and such stood a c rude hovel, a gaunt and fam-
Hallowmas 1984 / 29

ished eremite groveled before a allel to"The Seven Geases. "


crude image. 3. "Yzduggor" and "Vooth Raluorn"
"Yet one more offering, Lord are names coined by Smith, which
Z vilpogghua," the mummy- thin her- appear in his notes for the story
mit whined. "I eliminated one pre- eventually published as "The Sev-
cious ingredient from the formula, en Geases. " In his final version
to thy power and glory. Grant me of the text these names were
forgiveness for having deserted thy changed to "Ezdagor" and "Rali-
coventicle: there will be other offer- bar Vooz. " I hate to let good

ings, I vow ..." names go to waste, too.


And, months later, in Commori- 4. It was Lovecraft who came up with

om to the north, a certain impover- the notion of a "Child of Tsathog-


ished scion of the lesser nobility, gua" in his excerpt from Of Evill
one Nungis Avargomon, was de- Sorceries, one of the fragments
lighted beyond belief to learn that he which Derleth incorporated into
was declared by the courts to be the The Lurker at the Threshold .

sole and complete heir of the miss- HPL failed to specify its gender.
ing Vooth Raluorn, and became pos- In his "Genealogical Chart" ex-
sessor of the ancestral estate and cerpted from a 1934 letter to Bar-
inheritor of the thirtieth High Con- low and published in Planets and
stableship of Commoriom. Dimensions Smith gives "Zvil-
,

And all that he had done was to pogghua" as the name of Tsathog-
cheat on the powdered opals. gua's only listed child. He also
adds the information that the child
NOTES : was begotten on a female entity
named Shathak upon the planet
1. The one coined by Love-
title is Yaksh (Neptune) by Tsathoggua,
craft and ascribed to his imagi- before he descended to this earth.
nary author "Robert Blake, " in In lieu of contradictory data, I
"The Haunter of the Dark. " It's presume Zvilpogghua to be male.
a shame to let a good title go to 5. "Luthomne," " Yrautrom," " Ysab-
waste bau," "Zongis Furalor," "Yanur,"
2. The story itself derives from a etc. All of these names were
plot-idea of Smith's which is not coined by Smith and listed for fu-
in The Black Book but was dis- ture use in his notes.
covered by myself scribbled on 6. Please note that of the twenty-
the back of one of Smith's holo- four proper nouns in this story,
graph manuscripts: "When a only one (Ymar) was invented by
magistrate, condemning to death myself.
the members of an illicit cult of - - Lin Carte r

devil-wor shipper s,
gratuitously
shatters the idol of their god, he
incurs its wrath. When all of the
cultists are executed, the demon
must exact its own vengeance on
the magistrate." Note that I have
only slightly altered this, making
the lead character a High Con- Copyright > 1983 by Lin Carter.
stable, rather than a magistrate, Published hereby arrangement with
in order to avoid too close a par- the Estate of Clark Ashton Smith.
30 / Crypt of Cthulhu

CAS & Divers Hands


IDEAS OF LOVECRAFT AND OTHERS IN SMITHS FICTION

By Steve Behrends

Considering that Clark Ashton idea of finding an ancient manuscript


Smith corresponded for years with in English and in one's own hand, be-
several of the finest minds in weird fore he had incorporated it into "The
fiction, it shouldn't surprise us to Shadow out of Time" (see Selected
learn that some of the ideas and im- Letter #440). Smith included this
ages we encounter in his stories are idea inhis unfinished novelette, "The
not his own. Smith regularly mailed Master of Destruction, " and may
manuscripts to his friends Lovecraft, have been deterred from completing
Derlethand Wandrei, and took much the yarn, in part, because Lovecraft
of their criticism to heart; but sug- had gotten around to using the notion
gestions came also from his editors, himself! And it may be, as Derleth
and from the Auburn acquaintances points out in his footnote to Selected
to whom he would show his early Letter #673 (November 29, 1933),
drafts that a dream of Lovecraft' s inspired
By far the greatest influence was "The Treader of the Dust, " com-
exercised by Lovecraft, reflecting pleted February 15, 1935.
both that writer's intense interest in An in-joke in Smith's "The Nec-
the theory and structure of fantastic romantic Tale" re volve s around an-
stories, as well as his own great other suggestion from HPL. The
imaginative powers. A handful of main character in the story, a Sir
examples of Lovecraft' s hand in Roderick, is spiritually linked to an
Smith's stories are documented in ancestor who was burned at the stake.
the Selected Letters volumes, and He reads a record of the crimes and
references in Smith's letter s toHPL punishment of this ancestor, his con-
hint at a few more. We will first list sciousness is propelled backward,
these examples, then examine influ- he experiences the burning death,
ences from other sources. and awakens from the "dream" to
In a letter to HPL dated Novem- find that his ankles are scorched.
ber 23, 1930, Smith outlined a plot- Lovecraft mentioned to Smith that
germ that was to grow into "The Re- he might have people in the crowd
turn of the Sorcerer, " involving a swear they'd seen the figure at the
murderer who dismembered his vic- stake disappear, and that this "ru-
tim and is being haunted by the sev- mor" might make it into the old rec-
ered parts of the corpse. Lovecraft ord that the contemporary Sir Rod-,
thought to provide an explanation for erick reads. Smith loved this sug-
the haunting, and simultaneously to gestion, thinking that it "made" the
expand the story's scope, by intro- story. So, if you crack open your
ducing a sorcerous background for copy of Other Dimensions, you'll find
the two men. This suggestion was that in the story this "rumor" was
adopted by Smith and led eventually amended to the old document . . .

to the introduction of the Necronomi- but we're told the amendment had
con into the tale. Around the same been written in "a finer hand than the
time, HPL supplied Smith with the rest" (this could refe r to Lovecraft'
Hallowmas 1984 / 31

notoriously small handwriting, or of Chance ']-- the random atoms, etc.


Smith may have been tipping his hat --was suggested by the [Wonder Sto-
to the elder writer). ries] editor" (CAS to AWD, Novem-
The extant HPL-CAS correspon- ber 15, 1932). And unknown modi-
dence also records that Smith chose fications to the ending of "The Maker
not to accept Lovecraft's proposed of Gargoyles" came from Derleth.
ending for "A Star Change." In this On the opposite end of the stick,
tale a man is whisked to a far, alien CAS offered criticism and plot-
world, whe re he suffers unspeakable twists to his group of pen-pals for
torment at the strange sights and stories like "The Return of Hastur, "
sensations. His hosts perform an "The Shadow over Innsmouth, " *and
operation which transfigures his "The Lives of Alfred Kramer, " but
senses, permitting him to tolerate it seems that his offerings fell usual-
his surroundings. He eventually es- ly on deaf ears. In all likelihood,
capes to the earth, where these new Derleth was too haughty to consider
sense-abilities cause him to per- making any changes to his work, and
ceive everything around him with Lovecraft was probably too de-
horror. On the margin of the letter pressed . . .

(ca. early October 1930) wherein In an article of this sort it seems


Smith outlined the plight of the main natural to mention for completeness
character, HPL jotted down "Have Smith's acknowledged collaborations,
him find what he thinks to be an ut- of which there are three. "The Third
terly strange and hideous planet- Episode of Vathek, " with William
recognizing it as the earth (except Beckford, represents a story com-
for vaguely disquieting suggestions pleted by Smith, with no actual col-
of familiarity) only at the last," and laboration. Smith added 4,000 words
passed this on to Smith in Selected to the tale, writing without a synop-
Letter #439. However, in the story sis, although he felt "the develop-
as Smith wrote it, the hero under- ment Beckford had intended is obvi-
stands from the first that he has ous enough" (CAS to AWD September
reached the earth. 11, 1932). For "Seedling of Mars/
Beyond Lovec raft, a few othe r in- The Planet Entity," as by Smith and
stances are known in which Smith E. M. Johnston, he worked with a
took the advice of others for his fic- plot by Johnston entitled "The Mar-
tion. The horrific spice added to the tian, " which had won second place
end of "The Resurrection of the Rat- in the Wonder Stories Quarterly in-
tlesnake"- -finding bloody rattles in terstellar plot contest (I wonder who
the author's fist- - came from a girl- and what won first? - - the Quarterly
)

friend. Harry Bates, editor of commissioned Smith to write a sto-


Strange Tale suggested the repeti-
,
ry around it. And for "The Nemesis
tion of the premature burial in "The of the Unfinished," evidence indicates
Second Interment." The central idea that Smith first fleshed out one ver-
for his unfinished "The House of sion of this story fram a sketch by
Haon-Dor" came from a correspon- Don Carter, and later went on to
dent, who told him of a haunted shack write a variant version of his own
in Oceanside (see the note in Untold devising, keeping only the character
T ale to the "Haon-Dor" fragment). of the frustrated writer (see the note
"The basic idea of ['The Dimension to this story in Untold Tales ).
32 / Crypt of Cthulhu

The Price -Smith Collaborations


By Will Murray

E. Hoffmann Price is uniquely any case. Squires reported that


distinguished among members of the "House of the Monoceros" appeared
so-called "Lovecraft Circle" in one in theFebruary 1941 issue of Cul-
important respect: he was the only ture Publications' Spicy Mystery
writer to collaborate with both H. P. Stories as "The Old Gods Eat" but
Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. that the fate of the first story was
This fact is not generally known even unknown.
among Smith aficionados even though In fact, "Dawn of Discord" was
there were two published Price- also sold to Spicy Mystery Stories,
Smith collaborations to the single where it was printed in the October

Price - Lovecraft story. 1940 issue as--"Dawn of Discord!"


The story Price wrote with H. P. Spicy Mystery was the weird maga-
Lovecraft is, of course, the famous zine of the Spicy line, which also in-
sequel to Lovecraft's own "The Sil- clude d Sixj^_Dteti_v, Spicy -Ad ven-
ver Key" titled "Through the Gates ture and Spicy Western Stories All .

of the Silver Key. " It was written four magazine s were among Price's
by Price originally, but Lovecraft steadiest fiction markets. His work
rewrote a significant portion of the for the line is well- represented in
story before it appeared in the July Carcosa's Price collection, Far
1 934 Weird Tales under a double by- Lands, Other Days which includes
,

line. Although according to tech- a reprint of "The Old Gods Eat" (un-
nique one of Lovecraft's revisions, der its original title "House of the
the result was so Lovecraftian that Monoceros"!). As a group, the Spicy
it is grouped with the rest of his pulps were light reading, mildly ris-
canon. que, and so stylistically homogenized
It is practically the opposite with that even if Clark Ashton Smith had
the Price-Smith stories. Here it considered selling his work there,
was Price who revised the Smith his vocabulary alone would have
stories, sold them as his own, and made that impossible (although
took complete credit for himself. Smith's marked sexual themes would
This was just as Smith wished it. have been perfectly at home in the
The story behind this unusual ar- pages of the Spicies). Accordingly,
rangement is this: in 1940, Smith E. Hoffmann Price's reworking of
turned over to Price two stories the both stories had to be extensive, so
former had been unable to sell as extensive that it amounted to a sal-
written. As reported in Roy A. vage job.
Squires' article, "The Fiction of "Dawn of Discord" superficially
Clark Ashton Smith" Nyctalops #7),
(
resembles one of Smith's straight
the stories were "Dawn of Discord" science fiction stories. John King,
and "House of the Monoceros. Both 11
disturbed by the outbreak of World
stories were given to Price with the War II, has developed an unique ap-
explicitunderstanding that Price re- proach to abolishing war:
vise them and sell them where he
could. Possibly there was a financial War, King had reasoned, was
arrangement attendant to this. In an insane habit that some bird-
Hallowmas 1984 / 33

brained primitive had devised as But it turns out that Foma is only
a substitute for judgment or in- trying to wrest the secret of time-
telligence; and thus, a man of the travel from King. Failing that, Foma
twentieth century, without any il- is beaten and King tortured. Enter
lusions as to the glory of strife, Ania to the rescue. But there are
might direct the first warrior complications. These include mutual
chief into a happier channel. If antagonism between Ania and Foma
these people of the Golden Age, (who has turned against Jurth and
drunk by the novelty of Iron and really wants to hook up with King
Power, could see what evolution this time), King 's discovery of Jurth'
had finally made of war, they "infra- r jnic war-vibration machine,"
might sober up. War had once which is causing all the strife in the
been an adventure, but it had long Golden Age, and the effect that ma-
since lost whatever redeeming chine is having on King' s mental bal-
quality it had possessed. ance. He decides to wreck the ma-
chine and assassinate Jurth for the
Armed with this dubious pacifist good of future generations.
philosophy. King builds a bathy- This story is so trite, it's impos-
sphere-shaped time machine and sible to destroy the surprise by re-
sets the dials for this "dawn of dis- vealing the ending. King fails to ac-
cord," and just happens to land near complish either of his aims, and just
the city of Jhagger just as it is com- as he's about to take Ania back with
ing under the evil sway of the first him to the present, she and the sul-
war lord in history, Jurth. Jurth con- try Foma get into a cat fight. King
trols an army equipped with tele- leaves without either of them, gives
pathic wristbands, paralysis scep- up his pacifistic ideas, and decides
ters, and iron tridents. Having taken to go after the shapely blonde who
over Jhagger, Jurth is sweeping the works in a nearby office. End of
countryside, looting other settle- story.
ments and taking prisoners. One of Not a shred of Clark Ashton
them, a blonde slave -girl named Smith's actual writing seems to have
Ania, is the first person King en- survived the revision. Unless you
counters. She's escaped the city, count the word "alembic, " that is.
and when Jurth and his boys come Most likely, Price took the idea,
along. King has to tangle with them. some of the plot development and
In hand-to-hand combat with Jurth, characters, and retold the story in
the formerly peaceful King finds his own style. The one thing we can
him self enjoying the battle. He can't say about Smith's original story is
figure it out, not even after he loses that it clearly betrayed his concern
the fight and ends up in the prison over the conflict then breaking out
turret of Jurth's castle. Ania es- in Europe. The hero's failure is
capes. While in the cell. King is rather Smithesque as well.
visited by the black-haired Foma, One of the chief elements Price
who describes herself as "one of seems to have introduced into "Dawn
Jurth's discarded wives. " The be- of Discord" was the conflict between
witching Foma throws herself on the the virginal blonde and the dark-
doubtful s cientist- - and having noth- haired temptress. This is also stan-
ing better to do. King doesn't turn dard "Spicy" material. In fact, it's
her down. Their dalliance takes central to "The Old Gods Eat" as
place, in true "Spicy" style, offstage. well.
34 / Crypt of Cthulhu

"The Old Gods Eat" is even more coping and ends up impaled on the
removed from Smith's oeuvre than horn of the ancient skeleton of the
the other story. It is essentially a monocerous. But both Diane and
hard-boiled private eye yarn set in Jim Dale know they've twice seen a
England and laced with a wisp of fan- very much alive monoceros in that
tasy. Detective Jim Dale tells the foggy pit.
story in tough, first-person style. Once again, little remains *of
He's called to the surf-pounded Corn- Smith's distinctive style, unless you
wall town of Pengyl by Lord Tregan- care to count the words "castellated"
neth because, as he explains, "A and "monoceros." JimDalfeis hard-
monster was eating the peasants. " ly the typical Clark Ashton Smith
Not a monster, really. A mono- protagonist. As he explains his pres-
ceros. Asea creature with a uni- ence in England:
corn's forehead spike. Peasants
have been disappearing from the area I had sort of a reputation wished

of Lord Treganneth's castle. They on me. I'd come to London to


blame him because his ancestors nail an embezzler; bonding com-
were Druids who sacrificed people pany business, you know. The
to the monoceros in olden days. Dale gent couldn't run further, so he
doesn't believe a word of it, but then hung himself with the cord of his
the Lord's dark-tressed housekeep- bath robe. The papers made a
er, Emily Polgate, leads him into play of me hounding the man to
the castle cellar, and in the pit where his death. That musthave pleased
the monoceros was originally kept Treganneth, so here I was.
he sees something vague and phan-
tasmal, but with a pronounced horn. Well, what can you expect from a
The ghost of the monoceros? Dale magazine where a typical story would
thinks it's something he ate, or that start with the sentence: "What sur-
it was done with mirrors. prised Reeves most, when he found
But the peasants keep disappear- himself in Atlantis, was that the re-
ing. Dale sees one being led to his lationship between the sexes was
doom by a dancing nude blonde. Is very much like that in the New York
she the same unclothed girl he dis- which he could remember only dim-
covers imprisoned in a turret cell ly." The Spicy pulps were formula-
(yes, another turret cell) who claims ridden, overly preoccupied with
to be Diane Rolley, Treganneth's dimly-described nudity at the ex-
secretary? She tells the confused pense of story, and excruciatingly
Dale that the Lord is keeping her a bland. It is unfortunate that two of
prisoner until the monoceros busi- Clark Ashton Smith's later stories
ness is over with, after which they should have met with such a fate (the
will wed. Dale is very suspicious. original versions of both texts are
But he needn't have been if he had not known to exist). But this should
read back issues of Spicy Mystery not be counted against E. Hoffmann
Stories. Blondes are never--or al- Price, who after ail, has never
most never- -the guilty party in a claimed that his best work appeared
Spicy story, especially when a black- in Spicy Mystery Stories It was a
.

haired wench lurks somewhere in collaboration of convenience done for


the plot. a lesser market, and the result was
The story ends in the expected a pair of curiosities. It is in that

cat fight. Emily falls over the wall light that they should be read.
Hallowmas 1984 / 35

The History of Averoigne ?


By Glenn Rahman

Clark Ashton Smith's several fact and folklore ofAuvergne better


mythic worlds stand as testimony to than any other part of the French
his capacity as an artist. His sto- landscape. Champagne and Alsace-
ries of Zothique, Hyperborea and Lorraine, likewise forested and re-
Poseidonis bring age-old fantasy mote, yet fail to make a convincing
realms to vibrant life. Yet for all match. Eastern France has always
the artistry lavished upon these stood at the crossroads of Latin and
worlds that never were. Smith's al- Germanic culture and of political
chemy never flowed more purely disturbance. Provincial Auvergne,
than it did in his tales of medieval in the quiet center of France is much
,

adventure and sorcery in the land of more in the spirit of Smith's crea-
Averoigne. tion. Moreover, the story "The
A remote and mysterious prov- Maker of Gargoyles" implies the
ince of France, Averoigne was the proximity of Averoigne and Prov-
abode of vampires, satyrs and la- ence. A glance at the map will show
mias, a stage where monks, magi- that Auvergne abuts upon Provence.
cians, and lovers were the actors. How do the geographies of Au-
Half-pagan in his poetic zest, Smith vergne and Averoigne compare?
was the one modern American who Vyones, the capital of Averoigne,
could have recreated a world of me- must be identified with the chief city
dieval romance such as Averoigne. of Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand.
But did Smith have a real locality Like Vyones, Clermont-Ferrand
in mind when he created his Aver- stands at the heart of the province
oignian stories? A letter to Smith and boasts of an excellent cathedral
from H. P. Lovecraft provides the --although, unlike Vyones, Cler-
clue. mont-Ferrand does not house an
In a missive dated December 13, archbishop. The town of Ximes, of-
1 933, Lovecraft discusses the Ave- ten mentioned by Smith, should be
roignian story "The Holiness of Aze- sought in one of Auvergne's other
darac. " The context makes clear cathedral towns--St. Flour or Le
that Lovecraft took for granted Ave- Puy. O r the two, St. Flour's claim
roigne s identification with the old
1

is favored, since, like Ximes, it is


French province of Auvergne--in also the site of a Benedictine abbey.
modern times the area delineated by The Benedictines were preemi-
the departments of Cantal, Puy-de- nent in both Averoigne and Auvergne.
Dome and Haute - Loir e. Besides the Smith but seldom mentions any other
similarity of names, what evidence order, and while Permonstratensian,
supports this connection? Ciste rcian and Augustine monaster-
Smith's Averoigne was an isolated ies flourished the length and breadth
mountain country covered by magi- of medieval France, all the great
cal forests and springs, a center of abbeys of Auvergne were Benedic-
Druidic worship from time imme- tine. Smith's Perigon Abbey, the
morial. In the medieval period its setting of several stories, is to be
castles were peopled by witches and identified with either Aurillac or La
monsters. This description fits the Chaise Dieu, both monastery towns.
36 / Crypt of Cthulhu

La Chaise Dieu's claim is stronger menhirs, the monoliths, of which


because, like Perigon, the associ- Stonehenge is only the. best known
ated town was comparatively small. example. The oldest, dating back
Furthermore, La Chaise Dieu's six thousand years, are found in Gaul.
higher prestige in Auvergne rivals Auvergne claims many of these
Perigon's eminence in Averoigne. monoliths, but in the course of its
Averoigne's physical geography history, what is six thousand years?
also reminds us of Auvergne's. Au- The caves of Lascaux, westof Auril-,
vergne is a highland centering upon lac, contain Europe's finest prehis-
a wide, volcanic valley. Smith, in toric paintings -- three hundred cen-
"The Colossus of Ylourgne, " men- turies old.
tions the "outlying, semimountainous When history begins, the Celtic
hills ofAveroigne. " Gauls reign in Auvergne. The iden-
Accepting the hypothe sis that Au- tity of those who held swjay before
vergne can, and probably did, stand them- -the cunning engineers of the
as the model for Averoigne, let us monoliths, the painters of the cav-
briefly sketch the history, fact and er ns -- remains unknown. But in the
folklore of the one and--by implica- speech of the Celts philologists de-
tion- -of the other. tect peculiar influences, giving
Auvergne forms the center of us pause to wonder what strange
what is called the Central Massif of tongues Celtic has assimilated.
France. On a map the mountains The province bears the name of
resemble a wolf s paw-print; from a
' its first remembered people, the
central mass, the ranges grow out Arverni. These were Celts in speech
like toes. The highland of Gaul is a and custom, but H. P. Lovecraft
landscape of granite, oak, pine and spins a legend regarding the Aver-
fir, combined into dark, lonely for- ones, mentioning "that famous pas-
ests. Within them abound groves of sage in Flavius Alesius, where it is
chestnuts, patches of mushrooms, suggested that the Averones (a dark
and blue, glimmering pools. Legend race like the Aquitani) came from a
warns visitors not to throw stones great land in the we ste rn ocean which
into these crater lakes, lest a ter- had sunk beneath the waves. "
rible storm blow up. In general though, sources de-
Auvergne's resources arehardly scribing the ancient Gauls are very
tapped, hoarded away on those scarce and only cast light upon them
strangely- sculptured heights. From at the hour of their destruction. Di-
out of the fissured basalts of Au- odorus Siculus, Strabo, Athenaeus
vergne pour the healing waters of and Julius Caesar wrote about them,
France, the last product of its an- but they all used a common source,
cient vulcanism. The largest group the account of the Greek Posidonius
of outsiders to visit Auvergne are (1 35-50 BC).
the sufferers from gout, liver ail- At this early date, the Arverni
ments, catarrh and rheumatism, were led by magician- sage s, the
drawn to La Bourboule, Chatel- Druids, the authoritative class in
Guyon, Le Mont-Dore and Royat for Celtic society. Interestingly, the
miraculous relief. Druids were not originally a part of
A thousand year s before the young Celtic culture. According to the
civilizations of Sumer and Egypt F rench historian Georges Dottin,
e re c ted their monuments the ancient
, the institution never existed among
West had raised up the mysterious the Celts of Italy, Spain, the Danube,
Hallowmas 1984 / 37

Thrace or Asia Minor. The priest- heads. Was such a creature based
hood of Druids was only organized on fact? Events of the eighteenth
in the far West- -or was it borrowed century around Mende would suggest
the re from a far older source of wiz- that it was.
ardry and wisdom? The Arverni represented a cul-
The Druids' province was enchant- ture so alien to our own that many
ment, divination and sacrifice. Sac- moderns would be shocked by it. The
rifices often were human. Accord- Arverni practiced head-hunting and,
ing toCaesar, the Gauls thought that occasionally, cannibalism. In 58 BC,
man was the only way of
the life of a Caesar initiated his campaign to
redeeming that of another man, and conquer Gaul. The Arverni were
that theimmortal gods could not be his most skilled and determined foes.
placated in any other way. Some They were the last of the Gauls to be
tribes used to erect huge effigies of subdued and Vercingetorix, their
woven osier, which they filled with leader, became France's first na-
living prisoners to be immolated by tional hero. The Arverni champion
fire dealt Caesar his only Gallic defeat,
Women, too, enjoyed high Druidic at Gergovia, and very nearly fin-
offices and became the forbears of ished him at Alesia.
the medieval witch. Both priest and Gaul's culture was harsh, but no
priestess emphasized the art of harsher than that of its neighbors
shape- shifting, presaging later leg- who won respectability. Human sac-
ends of lycanthropy. Of the legend- rifice was common in the hero- tales
ary knowledge of the Druids, of their of Greece's Mycenaean ancestors.
uncanny command ove r all the forces The gladiatorial combat of the Ro-
of time and of space, more than mans was also originally a means of
enough has been written elsewhere. divine sacrifice. Nor did the fall of
Gallic theology, even in its fragmen- the Druids put an end to the burning
tary survivals, is too vast a subject of men in the name of religion. The
for this article. Lucan, writing in pyres of medieval Christianity were
the first century AD, stated the gluttonously fed by the bodies of
Roman opinion of their rituals: heretics. What Gallic civilization
"Cruel Teutates propitiated by might have developed into if given a
bloody sacrifice, and uncouth Esus fair chance is a point of speculation.
of the barbarous altars, and Taranis As Rome festered at the heart, it
whose altar is no more benign than pulled the provinces down with it.

that of Scythian Diana. " Its Greco-Roman tradition was ex-


A kind of fertility goddess called hausted and decadent. What the Gauls
Sheila-na-gig ("The Lady of Breasts" could cull from the waning culture
--but* corrected by Colin Wilson to had to be superficial; what they lost
"Sheila -na-gog, " "The Lady of the in precious native lore and art was
Gods) was obscenely depicted upon irreplaceable.
even the walls of Gallic churches The emperors accelerated Gallic
well into the Christian era. In addi- decay by the per secution- of the cul-
tion to gods, Celtic mythology ture-bearing Druids. The reason
abounded in monsters. The Beast behind the persecutions, in strange
of Noves, whose image is preserved contradiction of their religious tol-
in Avignon, is pictured with a human erance elsewhere, has not been sat-
hand protruding from its jaw, and its isfactorily explained. The celebrants
fore paws rest upon two severed of the gladiatorial and wild beast
38 / Crypt of Cthulhu

shows ought not to have been shocked cepted it. The pre-Christian cults
by a few lives lost in solemn ritual. of the West could not just disappear.
Nor was Druidism a rebellious na- To appease them missionaries will-
tionalistic force ;
Gaul was quiescent ingly admitted features of the old
save where a Roman governor re- worship into the new. Christianity
volted. Something in Gallic Druid- translated the gods and goddesses
ism threatened the Romans in a way into saints or devils. The peasant
that the priestly mountebanks of continued to bring offerings to the
Egypt and Syria never did. Was it health-giving spring of Apollo, but
the power of their sorcery that the now it was accredited to St. Apol-
Romans feared? linaris. Wells associated with old
But subtle were the ways of Au- divinities still received reverence,,
vergne; the Druids kept a haven in but were now Christian holy wells.
the highland backwaters. Numerous The old shrines and burial grounds
Gallo-Roman inscriptions show that had become Christian churches and
the cult continued throughout the pa- cemeteries. Auvergne's saints did
gan period. Some Roman emperors, not build churches, but sought sav-
if we are to believe Vopiscus' His - age, lonely places to meditate, liv-
toria Augusta consulted
,
Druid ing in huts or tiny cells.
witches in Gaul, despite the outlawry The travel writer Freda White
of the sect. reported in her 1964 book that she
Except during the civil war, Ro- believed she found traces of Druid-
man occupation was quiet. Augusto- ism still remaining in the Central
Nemetum, which became Clermont- Massif. Sir James George Frazer
Ferrand (Vyones in Averoigne), was observed in The Golden Bough that
founded at the outset of foreign rule. on the evening of the first Sunday in
The Latin language was accepted by Lent, fires are still kindled every-
the hill-dwellers as readily as had where in Auvergne. Every village,
been the Celtic before it. The old hamlet, ward and farm has its bon-
gods continued to be worshipped un- fire. People dance, sing, leap
der Roman names. Gaul's greatest through flames and then proceed to
temple of Mercury, celebrating his a ceremony where a straw torch is
Gallic counterpart, Lugh, stood in fastened to the top of a pole. When
Avergne at Puy-de-Dome. Pan, it ishalf-consumed, bystanders light
identified with Cernunnos, the brands from it and carry them to
Horned God, was especially taken to garden, orchard, field and every
heart. place where there are fruit trees.
Before Rome collapsed, Auvergne They pass the burning torches under
gave it an emperor, Avitus (455-457). the branches singing "Granno." Fi-
His career was short, Avitus having nally they go home and feast. This
alienated the Romans by dealing with is a fertility charm which Frazer
Visigoths, pagans and heretics, and suggests is a ritual of Grannus, the
--as Gibbon emphasizes- -by his Gallic Apollo, whose ancient worship
satyrish escapades. The Visigoths is attested to by inscriptions all over
actually seized Auvergne in 475, F ranee.
holding it until expelled by the F ranks Visitors to Auvergne today can
in 507. see for themselves how close to the
Christianity came late to the Au- surface of medieval worship stood
vergnians - -and had to accommodate the old paganism. In the village of
itself to their ways before they ac- Mozac, a twelfth century carved
Hallowmas 1984 / 39

pillar displays Pan and his satyrs. the High Middle Ages, the architec-
In the village of St. Paulien an old tural style known as the Roman Av-
church has, under its cross, a ped- ergnat. The province clung to it un-
estal which was once a pagan altar. til the twelfth century, long after the

In view of such evidence we must Gothic fashion had swept the less
agree with Freda White, who is of conservative areas of France.
the opinion that ancient influences In 1044 La Chaise Dieu (equiva-
persisted longer in Auvergne than lent to Smith' s Perigon) was founded
anywhere else in F ranee. by Robert of Aurillac. Although a
Auvergnians are highly resistant count by birth, he went into the re-
to outside innovation. What less can treat with two other monks. Before
be expected of a race that has kept he died, three hundred disciples had
its ethnic spirit since pre-Roman attached themselves to him. The
times? Except for their language, monastery grew and produced a num-
the inhabitants of Auvergne, physi- ber of the notorious anti -Popes of
cally and ethically, are more akin Avignon. Gradually La Chaise Dieu
to their brother Celts, the highland commer.:ed a spiritual and moral
Scots, than to their continental neigh- decay. (Smith notes the contempo-
bors. They have not often mixed rary corruption of Perigon in a wry
with invader s- -who have usually tale, "The Disinterment of Venus.")
found the rugged hills a hard redoubt It was sacked in the Wars of Religion
to reduce. and closed during the French Revo-
During the early Middle Ages, Au- lution.
vergne was a part of the Merovingian The most notable personalities in
and Carolinian states. When the Smith' s Averoigne are its sorcerers,
Carolingian Empire fell apart in the including the remarkable Azedarac.
ninth century, Auvergne became a But even Azedarac' s career would
separate country. William the Pious, not outshine that of Auvergne's Ger-
the first hereditary count of Au- be rt.
vergne, in 886 also acquired the Gerbert, a humbly-born monk of
duchy of Aquitaine. Aurillac, became tenth century
During all this time the old reli- France's greatest scholar, but ru-
gion was hardly in the minority at mors of witchcraft and alchemy fol-
all, according to some scholars. The lowed him all his life. He acquired
ancient cult worship, so much of it arcane Moorish learning in Spain
associated with the Horned God, still and brought back the pendulum clock
possessed adherents everywhere, and Arabic numbers to Europe.
particularly in the hills and country Subsequently, Gerbert tutored the
districts. This religion of the Horned German Emperor Otto III and was
God was practiced in serious com- appointed master of the cathedral
petition with established Christiani- school of Rheims. He took part in
ty, whose corruption and elitism a successful plot to remove Charle-
robbed it of its value as an edifying magne's heirs from the throne of
force and a spiritual model. France. His intrigues continued
These years, up to the twelfth when he usurped the archbishopric
century, were prosperous for Au- of Rheims, despite his low birth.
vergne. Pope Urban II chose Cler- Finally, threatened by excommuni-
rnont- Fer rand for the starting point cation, Gerbert resigned and re-
of the First Crusade. Auvergne was turned to the court of Otto III. Under
also the site of the first triumph of royal patronage he won the see of
40 / Crypt of Cthulhu

Ravenna and, soon afterwards, the it to support the royalists during the

Papal throne itself. F rench Revolution; in retaliation the


Reigning as Sylvester II, he saw Revolutionaries demolished its fa-
the coming of the Millenium (1000 mous walls.
AD), but suffered a troubled tenure, To Clark Ashton Smith, Averoigne
scandalizing himself with alchemy was one thing above all else- -the
and intrigue. In 1001 a revolt drove haunt of the werewolf. So too was
the reputed wizard from Rome. He Auvergne. It is only to be expected

returned the next year, but died in that a magic land whiqh pours out
1003. healing spring waters might contain
Auvergne's prosperity ended in a few that are evil and lycanthropic.
the twelfth century,when it fell under "The Enchantress of Sylaire" tells
the rule of the English kings through the story of one such Averoignian
marriage. The province became a spring.
contested prize between the mon- Shape -shifting was part of the
archs France and England.
of The wizard lore of the Druids. The
local barons used the turmoil to haunted forests of Auvergne pro-
usurp tyrannical power over the in- duced numerous werewolf legends.
habitants. Their oppressiveness is William of Auvergne, a bishop of
remembered to this day. A typical Paris up to 1249, was something of
legend recalls the Countess Brayere, a lycanthropy expert. A chapter of
who dined on infants. his De Universo treats diabolical
The Hundred Years War made werewolfism at length.
conditions even worse. The regional On July 8, 1764, commenced the
nobility joined with common merce- most striking case of lycanthropy in
naries, the routiers. Under the en- the Central Massif. A werewolf,
suing robbery, plagues and famines, soon to be known as the "Beast of
the peasantry revolted in the great Gevaudan" initiated a rampage near
Jacquerie rising in 1358. Gangs of Mende. So many children were slain
farmers scoured the countryside, over the following months that King
plundering manors and putting any- Louis XV ordered out a troop of sol-
one with soft hands to death. They diers to deal with the menace.
wore animal as if they be-
skins, On February 6, 1765, the troops
lieved themself one with the shape cornered the creature, filling it with
shifting Druids of old. musket shot and pursuing it into
The dawning of the Renaissance a thicket, where they lost its trail.
brought on the hysteria of the witch It had been a remarkable sight, run-
persecutions. There had always ning on two legs like a bear. Sup-
been crypto-pagans and sorcerers posing that no beast could survive
in Western Europe, but now ortho- the wounds they had inflicted, the
doxy itself was in ferment. The six- soldiers packed up and returned to
teenth century saw the rise of the Paris.
Protestants and the French Wars of Soon the werewolf was back at
Religion. No longer was Auvergne work. The devastation continued un-
to be left out of the violent events of til 1767, a period known as the "time

Europe. Armies crossed it, strug- of death." The parish records of the
gling for possessionof its towns and area contain long lists of victims.
castles. St. Flour (Averoigne's For three years the beast baffled and
Ximes) successfully resisted a Hu- even spurned its pursuers. Modern
guenot seige. Its conservation led demonologist Montague Summers
Hallowmas 1984 / 41

relates: "The country folks were an example of the old beliefs in their
well assured that the monster was a final form, we need not be sorry at
warlock who shifted his shape and it their passing. But is it so? Wehave
was useless to attempt to catch him." the testimony of travelers who sus-
But attempt they did. At last, in pect that there is much magic in Au-
June 1767, a band of five hundred vergne yet. It is this type of magic
and sixty peasants formed a circle that Clark Ashton Smith wove into
around the werewolf's hunting the marvelous saga of Averoigne.
g rounds and closed in. They trapped
the Beast of Gevaudan in a grove SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
near Le Sorge d'Auvert, where a
local hunter, Jean Chastel, slew it Caesar, Julius. The Gallic Wars.
with a silver bullet.
Dottin, Georges. The Celts . Bar-
Chastel reported that the beast
celona, Spain, 1977.
he killed "had a strange appearance.
It had peculiar hoof-like feet, pointed Fodor, Eugene. F ranee . David
ears and the body was covered with McKay Co. , Inc. ,
1974.
dark, tough hair. " Montague Sum-
Hughes, Pennethorne. Witchcraft.
mers estimates that more than a Baltimore: Pelican Books, 1965.
hundred children were murdered by
the werewolf. Although two hundred MacCana, Proinsias. Celtic Myth -
years and more have passed, those ology. London: Hamlyn Publish-
days of terror have left their scars ing Group, Ltd. , 1970.
on the French landscape. Freda
Murray, Margaret. The God of the
White found that the Mende area is
Witches. Garden City, NY: Dou-
today a bare land, although it had
bleday, I960.
once been thickly forested. "The
deforestation was done to clear the Ogrizek, Dore. The Provinces of
land of wolves, after the devastation F ranee New York: McGraw Hill
.

of the 'Bete du Gevaudan'," she re- Book Company, Inc. , 1951.


ports. New
Piggot, Stuart. The Druids.
This is the reported out-
last York: Praeger, 1968.
break of Auvergnian lycanthropy that
has come to our attention. Perhaps Summers, Montague. The Were -
the monster had been the last of the wolf. New York: Bell Publishing
old Druidic wizards. Possibly the Co. , 1969.
strange history of the Beast of Ge- White, Freda. West of the Rhone.
vaudan inspired Smith's tale "The New York: W. W. Norton and Co.,
Beast of Averoigne. "
1964.
Historians and anthropologists
have theorized that the passing of
the Age of Faith, with a concurrent
social and economic change, led to
the decline of both Christianity and
the witch cults. Industry broke down
the isolation of the old community
as peasants found mill work in the
cities. The Age of Reason was dawn-
ing.
If the werewolf of Gevaudan was
42 / Crypt of Cthulhu

SUSRAN
By Lin Carter

The cold moon gleams upon the sand and with her luminance she laves
The murmurous and moaning waves adown the seawall and the strand.
Her face of pallid ivory glows like a lamp athwart the gloom:
Her cold and silken rays illume the sable sinews of the sea.
The melancholy surges slide in hollow thunder at the base
Of that colossal wall whose face frowns like a fortress on the tide.

where stony ramparts loom, fires blaze like banners down each ramp
Aloft,
From burning brand and brazen lamp a thousand flames confront the gloom
And where each flaring cresset streams, a sentinel from young Ophir
Or savage Kush leans on his spear, and stares down on the sea, and dreams

Yet higher still, the minarets of splendid Susran lift their spires-
One glimmer of bejewelled fires, whose wonder history forgets.

Moon-dim, the vast metropolis of Susran sleeps above the main,


For Night has seized in his domain sea-girt, antique Poseidonis.
The palace sleeps, but, like a star, above one door a lamp is set;
A mute with thews of polished jet stands guard with brandished scimitar

Before the portal; and within the drowsy, poppy- scented room
Dim lamps of hollowed pearl illume a chambe r vile with nameless sin;

Where, sprawling in his silken nest, he lies, the Monarch of the Age.
A naked adolescent page has lulled Gadeiron to his rest.
There is one sea- affronting height that soars aloft above the rest
Of Susran's castle-crowded crest, a cliff as stark and grim as Night.

Thereon, a tower of stark stone, perdurable as adamant,


Gleams, as the moon through one cloud-rent, illumes its lofty spire alone.

Therein, a chamber like a fane, whose casements ope upon the sea:
Enthroned on mellow ivory, Malygris gazes on the main.
Tall was the mage, austere and lean; all robed in violet was he,
With woven- silver charactry adorned in writhing serpentine.

Enthroned on high above the rest, with silvern beard and cold green eyes,
Dreaming, ironical, and wise, Malygris looks upon the West.
About, a tiled mosaic floor was strewn with implements arcane--
Cucurbit, thurible, athame--and many a vellum-bound grimoire,
All intermixed with precious things of an inestimable worth-
From bourns beyond this little earth, tribute from ultramundane kings
Or magi lesser in renown, to beg fulfillment of desire
Or to placate Malygris ire, and avert the thunders of
1
his frown.
Hallowmas 1984 / 43

Aye, let Gadeiron rule the sea as very Master of the Age--
So smiles the stern, sagacious rriage, who rules a vaster empery!
For his Imperium sublime o'er lands remote that myth neglects,
And spheres anterior in time, whose rays our eye but scarce reflects.
Is boundless as the infinite dim regions of eternal Night
Wherein each little star is lit by reflex of a Greater Light.

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44 / Crypt of Cthulhu

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Hallowmas 1984 / 45

lach-Nacha spins his web never


Advice to the ceasing his work except to devour a
. . .

haple ss victim. Tell me, sybil, what


is his purpose? Why does he spin
Lovecraft -lorn with such eternal industry? Why
does he seek to span a bottomless
abyss with his web?
Yes, yes, I have long thought of
asking him my que stions face to face
--but I fear--I fear calling him forth
and suffering his vengeful wrath--
for I know that he abhors to be parted
from his eternal web- spinning. If
you do not know the answers to my
questions-- then tell me-- tell me how
I may protect my hide from his fear-

some bite--should I make out a mail


order to America for an enormous
can of Raid?
I await your reply, O sybil of
the Octopoid One.
From the hand of
A. Alhazred the Younger
Istanbul, Turkey

Dear Al, Jr. ,

A true crumb
off the old cookie,
aye. You seek the answer to one of
Salutations to the sybil of Cthulhu the greatest mysteries of all worlds.
and his minions, in this the year of And I'll tell you: the Great Spider
the fourth tentacle of Cthulhu- -I am is my Great Clothier. He's already
great, you are great- -Greetings. overworked, so don't bug him.
The name that I own is Abdul Al-
hazred the Younger, known simply Love,
as Abdul to caliphs and sultans or
known as Alhazred the Younger to Donna Death
scholars and scribes, or just as the
mad to peasants and camels. I--I
have taken up the task of revising
the Necronomicon- - that imperfect
account of the powerful ones- -writ-

mm
ten by my distant ancestor Abdul Al-
hazred the Elder. Yes, by the glori-
ous navel of Shub-Niggurath I have
!

almost finished this prodigious un-


dertaking! Yet, to finish my labo-
rious revision, I must now know- -I
must know why the Great Spider At-
46 / Crypt of Cthulhu

Rlyeh Review
Robert Bloch, The Night of the Rip - ders, the first on August 30, the sec-
per Doubleday, 1984.
. $14.95. ond September 8. The reign of ter-
ror really began Septembe r 30, when
(Reviewed by Marc A. Cerasini) the Ripper killed two women in one
night. It all culminated with the
Jack the Ripper, unquestionably most brutal murder of all--thatof,
the archetypal mass murderer of Mary Kelly--on November 1. The
modern times, has gripped the human women were all prostitutes of the
imagination since his grisly crimes lower class, were mutilated, and
all
were committed almost a century all the murders occurred
in what
ago. Volumes have been written, may have been the worst ghetto in
both fiction and fact, about events the Western world, the East End.
that could almost be described as The murderer or murderers sent
mundane in this day and age: five taunting letters to the police and to
seedy murders in a horrible slum. the newly formed Whitechapel Vigi-
Yet interest is still intense, so lance Committee. At one point a
much so that Susan Brownmiller was kidney taken from one of the victims
moved to comment- -in Against Our was mailed to the police. After the
Will, her book about rape--not on death of Kelly the murders ceased-
the murders themselves, but on the the Ripper was never caught. Some
prevailing fascination with the Rip- maintain that his murders brought
per. Indeed, Jack became a "cult" about social reform and that the con-
figure almost immediately. Only ditions in the slums were somewhat
years after the Whitechapelmurders, alleviated, but this is not borne out
sensationalist newspapers in Europe by Jack London's People of the Abyss .

and the United States attributed any a chronicle of his excursion into this
similar crime to Jack himself (as if same slum twenty-five years later.
the world were too small a place to During the twentieth century,
house two such fiends). Amateur there has been a resurgence of inter-
"ripperologists" abound to this day, est in the Ripper murders. Some
and theories and suspects prolifer- major new theories have been put
ate. Taken as a whole, these studies forth, most claiming new evidence
reveal one pertinent fact; the Ripper either suppressed by the police at
has become a mirror which refle cts the time or uncovered through new
the dark side of each successive scientific methods. All of these
generation who examines him, and theories unquestionably tell us more
each generation finds some truth, about the men who formed them than
some knowledge of itself, through about the Ripper himself.
studying the Ripper's handiwork. Michael Harrison put forth the
Each new theory as to the motive and theory that the crimes were the work
identity of the murderer has reflected of Eddy, the Duke of Clarence- -not
the fears and fantasies of the people so surprising in this age of cynicism
who have propounded it. toward government. With the rise
For those unfamiliar with the of Feminism came the theory that
Jack the Ripper affair, a short syn- the Ripper was a botched abortion-
opsis is in order. London in 1888 ist, a Midwife of Murder, so to
was rocked by five shocking mur- speak. Police and criminologists
Hallowmas 1984 / 47

prefer believe that the Ripper was


to ish physician. Dr. Albert Trebor
Montague Druitt; he "fits the facts" (Robert Bloch?); and the lovely,
nicely and makes for a neat case. tragic Eva, a nurse at a Whitechapel
Conservatives prefer to think he was hospital. Like Bloch's last novel,
a Russian anarchist trying to bring Psycho II, any one of the character
down the Crown. The most recent could have been a killer.
(and perhaps the most well-docu- And that is the message, and the
mented) theory has been put forth by genius, of Bloch's novels. Like all
Stephen Knight: that the Ripper mur- those theories on the Ripper, Bloch's
der s were order ed by Queen Victoria story tells us something about our-
to cover up Eddy's scandalous mar- selves; perhaps something ugly, but
riage to a Catholic, and carried out surely valid. The characters in
by the Physician Ordinary, Sir Wil- Night of the Ripper seem at first to
liam Gull- -with the help of the Ma- be standard, stock characters, not
sons and the British painter William much elevated from "pulp" protag-
Sickert. This all comes in the Post- onists. Yet, as the story unfolds,
Watergate / Kennedy Assassination the people in the novel reveal them-
Era when conspiracy theories selves in surprising- -and shocking
abound. --ways. We can all see a little bit
Robert Bloch, no stranger to of ourselves in each of the charac-
Saucy Jack (he wrote the classic of ters, and we understand that, given
Ripper fiction, "Yours Truly, Jack different circumstances, we, too,
the Ripper, " for Weird Tales ), has could have been the Ripper.
written a witty, intelligent book that This novel is not the final word
does the impossible - -it combines on Jack. Murders and murderers
and synthesizes all of these theories of his ilk have become too much a
into a coherent, entertaining, and part of everyday reality now, and
exciting thriller. that sort of reality is be st dealt with
Mr. Bloch certainly does his in mythical terms. So, in novels,
homework. Just about everybody films, or even wild conjecture in the
and everything who has ever been put guise of fact, we will hear more
forth as the Ripper gets a nod- -from from Jack the Ripper. And then, of
the Lady Abortionist to theJewish course, there's always the six
s chocet (ritual slaughter -man). o' clock news.
Some of the dazzling lights of the Vic-
torianAge show up as well: George
Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, even
John Merrick, the Elephant Man.
Like two previous novels, Psycho SOFT BOOKS - 89 MARION ST., TOR.,
and Psycho II the story is told in
,
ONT., CANADA, M6R 1E6. We buy & sell
short, intense chapters, and Night specialty & limited edition publishers,
is spiced with gruesome headings
plus most general publishers, that print
science fiction, fantasy, & horror, both
culled from mankind's more embar-
old & new, bound in cloth cover or paper
rassing moments. The protagonist, wrapper, fanzine to Arkham, et. al.
Dr. Mark Robinson, is an American We have published The Young Folks' Ulys-
physician visiting London, who gets ses, by H.P. Lovecraft, plus H.P.L.: The
caught up in the Ripper murders. Books, FuBar, & Les Bibliotheques Write .

Assisting him is the real-life Inspec- for free catalogue.


tor Abberline, who was one of the
officers in charge of the case; a Brit-
48 / Crypt of Cthulhu

MAIL-CALL OF CTHULHU
Crypt #s 22, 23, and 24 contain Fora moment you almost had me
a great abundance of material of a fooled-- the Weird Tales issue comes
totally "not to be found elsewhere" pretty close to its prototypes, and
nature. In the entire range of Love- the lineup is certainly imposing.
craftian scholarship I can think of Judging from this, plus the announced
no other publication that has pre- contents of the next two issues, you
sented quite so much that is new, have been busy indeed!
challenging, and intellectually stim- --Robert Bloch
ulating since its inception. Los Angeles, CA
--Frank Belknap Long
New York, NY
Crypt #25 is a knockout, as usual,
especially Long's "Gateway to For-
The cover of Crypt 25 is one of ever. "
your best ever: Fabian is, to my - -Carl Budka

taste, superb. This one so reminded Philadelphia, PA


me of Bok that it had me searching
for his sigil F. B. Long and Carl
!

Jacobi(long- time favourites of mine), I received Crypt #25 and loved it.

CAS, REH, Cave, and Rimel formed Wonderful Bokish cover by Fabian .

a splendid line-up, and all extremely I loved it. Enjoyed all the fiction,
interesting- -which is what you'd ex- but my favorites, I think, were by
pect. Cave and Rimel . Nice to see my
Also, I note that your interior small piece appear in such a fine
artwork has gone up in quality and issue.
quantity, putting your magazine on --Allen Koszowski
an even higher level. I hope it isn't Upper Darby, PA
just for this rather special issue?
What's more, a bit of controversy
invariably livens up the scene a little. Crypt 25 was excellent as always.
All very entertaining. Nice to see the Smith and REH pieces.
As a last word on criticism, I'd "Gateway to Forever" by Long was
like to quote Samuel Johnson: "Crit- a let-down for me, though. Long
icism is a study by which men grow has always been one of my favorites
important and formidable at very of the ol' WT gang, The Hounds of
small expense. " Or more specifi- Tindalos being one of my favorite
cally for S. T. Joshi (because he'll Arkham collections, but this piece
probably better appreciate the An- just did not work for me; it read
cients) a quote from Zeuxis: "Criti- more like a first draft. He has done
cism comes easier than craftsman- much better. Other than that, an ex-
ship. " Ain't it ju*s.t what I've been cellent issue of admittedly minor
saying ? pieces by the great and near-so of
As for Ramsey Campbell' s letter the WT authors. I hope you can put
who pulled his chain? another together in the near future.
--Brian Lumley --Dan Gobbett
London, England Riverdale, MD
Hallowmas 1984 / 49

The W memorial was a real gas cisely the kind of close textual (or
toread. Jason Eckhardt' s art is just stylistic) analysis Lovecraft' s work
wonderful. His header s for Strange deserves, and also is a worthy po-
Shadows" and "The Hampdon Horror" lemical essay. For it stands as a
were marvelous. It's great news sturdy refutation of the regrettably
that you'll be reprinting Rimel' s fic- wide spread assertion (best exempli-
tion; I look forward greatly to read- fied by Edmund Wilson) that Love-
ing it, not to mention the Gary Myers craft was a poor stylist given to pur-
fiction you have stacked up. ple prose. If Lovecraft ever re-
--Steve Behrends ceives the sort of grudging respect
Ithaca, NY mainstream criticism now accords
Raymond Chandler it will be due to
Fabian and Eckhardt have always persuasive essays like Steve's.
done attractive work in Crypt but , Will Murray is consistently good,
this time they've outdone themselves. and I always look forward to things
The cover [of #25] really has the by Dirk Mosig and Richard L. Tier-
feeling of a Bok illo, and the interior ney. I do wish we could have more

art captures perfectly the quaintly stuff by Charles Hoffman and Marc
pedestrian quality of 1930s pulp art- Ce rasini.
work. The Allen Koszowski illo on --Jeff Newman
p. 40 is also exceptional. You really Jersey City, NJ
captured the look and spirit of Weird
Tales. (The only thing you didn't- I've seen quite a few issues of
or couldn't- -reproduce is the mar- C rypt and must say I'm impressed!
velous pulp smell it had. ) Especially with the special issues
I've never before written to ex- such as the Lumley and Tierney is-
press my thanks and appreciation to sues and the excellent Mythos gri-
you for the beautiful magazine you moires issue! Also, I have a few
produce and for reintroducing me-- suggestions I hope you'll consider.
through Crypt- -to the world of HPL First, I heard you are having a Lin
fandom. I really can't tell you just Carter issue, which I anxiously await,
how delightful and exciting it was to for he is really an unde r rated write r
discover a high-quality zine devoted of Mythos fiction, and I wonder if
exclusively to Lovecraft. The first you'll consider reprinting his tale,
thing that impressed me was Crypt's "The City of Pillars" since it is a
unique blend of humor and serious story which is hard to find copies of.
scholarship/criticism. The mag is And also I think a Ramsey Campbell
free of the deadly solemn, frequently Mythos issue would be nice (witness
pretentious qualities that character- his recent return to the Mythos) and
ized some of the Lovecraft criticism perhaps you could reprint his "Be-
I'd occasionally seen during the fore the Storm, " which is also hard
1 970s. "Lovecraft As I Seem to Re- to find. And lastly, how about a col-
member Him" is a perfect example lection of the Morgan Smith tales of
of the spirit of playfulness which Robert Weinberg and occasionally
gives Crypt its distinctive tone and Paul Berglund? I know Weinberg

makes it such a joy to read. probably doesn't want to see them


Of course it is the serious arti- again but perhaps he can be con-
cles that give Crypt its lasting value. vinced.
Steve Mariconda' s "H. P. Lovecraft, A return of the Hounds of Tinda-
Prose Stylist" [ Crypt #12] is pre- los and a Mythos piece by Eddy Ber-
50 / Crypt of Cthulhu

tin! I can hardly wait! How about Yet the stuff is of interest, and cer-
reprinting some of the better pieces tainly of value to the curious, and to
from EOD?
There's over ten
the literary scholars. Sprague deCamp
years of intere sting tales by such as (in his Howard biography) has capa-
Shoffner, Adams, Pugmire, etc. bly shown how a writer's verse may
Well, keep up the good work and be mined for biographical informa-
respect your Elder Gods. tion. As Karl Wagner pointed out a
--James Ambuehl few issues back, the whole purpose
Bemidji, MN of the fan, or specialty, press is to
make this sort of esoterica available
Begrudgingly I'm extending my to those interested. If you'd done it
subscription to your Crypt of Cthu - in an incredibly elaborate $400 edi-
,

lhu "Begrudgingly" ? ? ? Where's


. tion, illustrated by Michaelangelo
Donna!?! Where ' s the humor ? ? ? and bound in exquisitely- tooled yeti
It's CRYPT OF CTHULHU not hide, I probably would have resented
LOVECRAFT STUDIES ! ! ! it, but your unpretentious format for

I don't wantor expect MAD Maga- Saturnalia helps keep things in per-
zine . . . but let's not get too seri- spective .

ous ! Mr. Lane raises another interest-


"Mail-Call's" getting a little old. ing point: can Lovecraft be fairly
. . . Too many big name who s who' s ' ! compared to Poe? I think the an-
I like new and different alterna- swer is yes . Lovec raft was in the
,

tives! same sense that Poe was, a great


--David A. Kraklow writer. He is probably more widely
Carbondale, IL read. Poe is merely better estab-
lished in the school system, so that
I write primarily to address a everyone who ever went through high
point raised by Joel Lane in your school English has probably read at
letter column. I am glad he finds least one Poe story or poem. So Poe
my assessments of HPL sane and is more of a household word, but this
reasoned (but then, appearances can is not the only measure of success
be deceiving, as I remarked to Wel- or importance. I think Lovecraft is
lington at Waterloo, some while seen as an equal by people who know
back). To clarify: I suppose the dif- a little more about this area of writ-
ference between me and some of ing. Quite possibly Lovecraft will
HPL's more fanatical admirers is have more to say to future gener-
that, while I rate the Old Gent very ations than Poe will. The great
highly as a fiction writer and as a mounds of critical and academic ma-
critic, I don't consider him to be a terial will come, as inexorably as a
great philosopher, and I do not re- creeping glacier. In fact, I think
gard his every effusion as a pearl of Lovecraft may have gained more,
priceless wisdom and beauty. In fact, critical respectability in the forty-
I consider most of his poetry to be seven years after his death than Poe
more the sort of priceless pearl that did.
a pigeon drops out of the sky. But another thing Poe and Love-
At the same time, I am glad you craft have in common is that their
published Sa turnalia I would agree . reputations rest on a very small per-
with Mr. Lane that most of this stuff centage of their total writings. Poe
is bad. I fail to find much of the wrote crap. If he can be allowed

merit Joshi claims to have detected.


Hallowmas 1984 / 51

"The Journal of Julius Rodman or sion is written with genuine feeling,


"The Tale of Jerusalem," then Love- an insight into his characters (where
craft can have his "Herbert West" Howard's is a stereotype), and a
or "From Beyond. " You need only much greater degree of technical
read a dozen unfamiliar Poe titles sophistication. His version is a full
to see just how bad Poe could be. story, rather than a capsule / synop-
He was also given to shameless sis. It would be very educational

critical practices, log-rolling for for would-be writers to compare the


his friends, and worse. In the new two.
Library of America volume of his --Darrell Schweitzer
Essays and Reviews, you can find a Strafford, PA
review of a book of Poe's stories--
written by Poe himself, and published Crypt of Cthulhu #25 was most
anonymously in a magazine. He as- impressive! I loved Steve's cover

sures us in no uncertain terms that pastiche of Bok. Remarkable issue.


Poe is a writer of striking originality - - Ben Indick

and power. Teaneck, NJ


At the same time Poe has nothing
like Lovecraft's letters, which, to I was somewhat taken aback by
my mind, are as worthy of being Joel D. Lane's letter in Crypt #25,
considered literature as Pliny's are. which seems to have twisted out of
And Lovecraft probably has a larger context certain things I said about
body of respectable fiction than Poe Lovecraft's poetry in my introduc-
does. Poe's reputation really de- tion to Saturnalia I do not believe
.

pends on his poems and perhaps fif- I have ever claimed that Lovecraft's

teen stories, all of them short. poetry deserves to be ranked with


Lovecraft has a larger selection of the world's greatest; but I confess
short stories, novelettes, and novel- to having doubts as to whether Mr.
las. And, with Charles Dexter Ward ,
Lane is so great an authority on po-
I think HPL came closer to writing etry as to declare the poems in Sat-
a successful novel than Poe ever did. urnalia "unmitigated garbage": I

I might add that Mr. Lane may be would not come to such a conclusion,
reading too much into "The Quest of and I have read most of the great and
Iranon. " We need not question the not-so-great poets of the world from
author's emotional maturity. The Homer to W. H. Auden. A few of the
story is simply imitation-Dunsany, poems in Saturnalia we re as good as
and a specimen of the sort of roman- the best of Lovecraft verse --a
ticism between beautiful and merely fairly cautious and reserved state-
pretty, with a "farewell cruel world" ment, I thought. Mr. Lane may per-
theme which doesn't quite convince. haps lose patience with Lovecraft's
It is comparable to several Dunsany archaic idiom; but, as I tried to point
stories, such as "Carcassone" and out in my introduction, we have no
"The Sorrow of the Search," although right to criticize Lovecraft for his
it adds an element of (seeming) self- conscious and willful choosing of that
pity not found in Dunsany. idiom- -that is his decision as an
"The Supreme Moment," interest- a r ti s t
ln gly, bears considerable resem- I am, moreover, not entirely cer-
blance to DeCamp' s "Judgment Day" tain that Lovecraft need be relegated
( in A Gun for Dinosaur ), but with the to the permanent status of a minor
great difference that DeCamp's ver- writer: if the general prejudice
52 / Crypt of Cthulhu

against fantasy and horror amongst


English-speaking critics gives way,
then we may well see a fairly uni-
versal elevation of Lovecraft to the
status of a major writer. Of course
I am a supporter of Lovecraft; but I

trust my work shows that I have not


approached him uncritically or with-
out having absorbed the authentically
great writers and thinkers of the
Greek, Latin, French, German, Ital-
ian, and English languages.
When shall I "come to terms with
the offensiveness of some of [my]
hero's utterances"? "Offensiveness"
is a matter of opinion; perhaps some
of Lovecraft s remarks give some
1

people offense and others not; per-


haps some things Lovecraft said (like A TECHNIQUE FOR
his racialist remarks) would not CREATING INDIVIDUAL
have caused so much offense in his SYSTEMS OF SORCERY
time as they do in ours. My point
is not to pas s judgment on Lovecraft
Baaed on the writings of
(for in fifty or a hundred years time
'
Aleister Crowley and Austin
someone else may pass an entirely Osman Spare, these
different judgment and deem my own augmented by the personal
ridiculous) but to view him as a lit- research of the author:
erary and historical and cultural
figure. What do you want me to do?
slap Lovecraft figuratively on the STEPHEN MACE
wrist for some of his statements?
What will this accomplish? I want
106 pages with seven
to unde r stand why Lovecraft said and
illustrations by Spare
did the things he did, not to chastise
him for it; perhaps in the end, I may
, #13.31+ $1.00 postage
find that he had very good reasons CT residents add sales tax
for saying what he did (which is not
necessarily to say he was right in
This and over a thousand other titles
so saying it). Nothing is accom-
plished by getting worked up about available from A world of
some of Lovecraft's more contro- fUagiti
versial views.
Colin Wilson, in The Strength to
Dream already suggested "The
,
al
0HDK Com
Birthday of the Infanta" as an influ- 1 H3 Chapel Street
ence on "The Outsider"; there are
perhaps likelier sources. One other Ne Haven, Ct. 06511
strange remark made by Mr. Lane:
he calls "The Quest of Iranon" a Send $1 for catalogue
(continued on page 23)
NEXT TIME
Reading this magazine you could be excused for assuming that
H. P. Lovecraft had never written anything but his Cthulhu Mythos
tales. Most Lovecraft pastiches are Mythos tales; fantasy gamers
know HPL only via the Mythos gods and grimoires; even Lovecraft
scholars concentrate on the philosophical underpinnings of the
Mythos. But of course Lovecraft wrote many horror stories that
have nothing to do with Cthulhu and his kin. And Crypt of Cthulhu
#28 focuses on the "Non-Mythos Horror Tales" of Lovecraft:

"Sources for 'The Colour out of Space"' by Will Murray

"The Humor at Red Hook" by Robert M. Price


"Abnormal Longevity in 'The Picture in the House'"
by Darrell Schweitzer
"Lovecraft and the Regnum Congo " by S. T. Joshi

"The Terrible Old Cat" by Will Murray


"A Note on 'Cool Air'" by Will Murray

Plus Donna Death, "Fun Guys from Yuggoth," and more detestable
fun!

Copyright O 1984

"Clark Ashton Smith and his World of Fantasy" by Jean Marigny


"The Feaster from the Stars" by Lin Carter (1983), published
here by arrangement with the Estate of Clark Ashton Smith
"Susran" by Lin Carter
Cover art, "The Mother of Toads," by Allen Koszowski
All other material by
Cryptic Publications
Robert M. Price, Editor
35 Elmbrook Place
Bloomfield, New Jersey 07003