Thursday, December 20, 2007

Two Out of Three

In addition to being a nifty Holiday evening, last night was also a banner night for book buying with new books by two of the 'big three' Weird tales authors. In case you're unfamiliar with this triumvirate of scribes, that would be H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith. Only Lovecraft wasn't represented.
The Last of the Trunk is a thick volume that is quite literally the last of the trunk where Robert E. Howard stored his manuscripts. Over the years most of Howard's prodigious pulp output, both published and unpublished, has been collected into various volumes. This book represents all that remained. Fragments, drafts, outlines, sketches, and all the other stuff that didn't really fit in anywhere else. Mostly of interest only to the Howard completist, the book was published as a limited edition of only 300 copies. Mine is number 67, which is the same number as my Collected Letters of Robert E. Howard volumes. Pretty darn cool.
The other book was A Vintage From Atlantis: The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, Volume 3. Third in a projected five volume set, this is another collection of the shot stories of CAS. Smith was the author I originally was least interested in of the three. The dark imaginings of Lovecraft and the over the top action of Robert E. Howard sort of overshadowed Smith back in my early reading days. More recently though I have come to appreciate Smith's prose and I have come to think him probably the finest stylist of the group. Poetic, strange, and evocative, his writing carries a weirdness to it that no other writer can really match. Great stuff and two more volumes to go.

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