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Posts Tagged ‘science fantasy’

I changed the “What I’m reading” widget in the sidebar; I was distracted from Howard’s “Conan” by the arrival of a collection of the best stories of Clark Ashton Smith, “The Return of the Sorcerer.”

I’m enjoying it, but not as much as I had expected. While the stories are entertaining and the imagery vivid, Smith’s florid, purple prose doesn’t wear well with me. I regularly find myself thinking “Oh, get on with it, will you?”

And that’s odd, because I love the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, who also employed pretentious, magniloquent prose and greatly admired Smith. But, thinking about it, Lovecraft was my introduction to this genre of Pulp weird fiction in my teen years, so he’s always held a special place for me in my “literary heart.” Smith, on the other, hand, I’ve only just started seriously reading, so I have less patience with his endless exploration of his thesaurus.

Still, as my friend James Maliszewski has often remarked, Smith was also a source of wonderful ideas for roleplaying games. This much is undoubtedly true, based on what I’ve read so far. Should I ever run a game again, Smith may be a large influence.

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