Where to Start?

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Where to Start?

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1RATBAG.
gen. 8, 2020, 1:51pm

Hi all!

Hope the new year has been off to a great start. :)

I've never read any of Clark Ashton Smith's work before, and was wondering what would be considered a good starting point?

Is there a book series or omnibus that collects his entire body of work as well? My personal preference is something maybe limited edition, highly desirable, and/or collectible, as I am into collection.

Would appreciate and welcome all recommendations! Sorry if I am posting this off topic or in the wrong thread.

Thank you.

2RandyStafford
gen. 8, 2020, 1:59pm

The Arkham House A Rendezvous in Averoigne was that first Clark Ashton Smith collection I read. It's got stories from all his major series and most of his best tales. The edition I linked to has illustrations by J. K. Potter. It worked for me as a starter set.

3AndreasJ
gen. 8, 2020, 4:12pm

The Return of the Sorcerer was the first of his I read, and it was a good enough starting point I ended up buying his complete prose works.

4paradoxosalpha
Editat: gen. 8, 2020, 5:00pm

I started in the same place as Randy, and it's a great, fairly comprehensive (though hardly exhaustive) collection. The old Ballantine Adult Fantasy paperbacks are wonderful too, with their own kind of collectability: Zothique, Hyperborea, and Poseidonis.

If you want real completion in authoritative editions, it looks like the five volumes of the Connors and Hilger "Collected Fantasies" are probably the ticket: https://www.librarything.com/series/The+Collected+Fantasies+of+Clark+Ashton+Smit...
(But I haven't read in these and can't vouch for them on the basis of experience.)

5RandyStafford
gen. 8, 2020, 4:50pm

>4 paradoxosalpha: The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith is worth buying. The stories have extensive notes as to when they were composed and some alternate versions. They are presented chronologically.

6AndreasJ
gen. 9, 2020, 1:46am

>4 paradoxosalpha:, >5 RandyStafford:

I love the collected fantasies, but I dunno if I'd recommend them to a CAS neophyte - they, by nature, include his lesser efforts among the greater, and they're not cheap.

With the accessory volume The Miscellaneous Writings of Clark Ashton Smith they include his complete prose fiction: add, I guess, the The Complete Poetry and Translations series for the poetry. Then there's letter collections if you want to be really completist.

7RandyStafford
gen. 9, 2020, 10:30am

>6 AndreasJ: CAS was a great poet, and if you like poetry, The Complete Poetry and Translations is worth having.

8paradoxosalpha
gen. 9, 2020, 10:35am

Joshi thinks CAS was a wonderful poet and a negligible story writer, but I like the stories very much.

9RATBAG.
gen. 9, 2020, 10:36am

>2 RandyStafford:

>4 paradoxosalpha:

>5 RandyStafford:

>6 AndreasJ:

I think I will be starting with A Rendezvous in Averoigne just to get a taste.

Thanks so much, everyone!

10bookstopshere
Editat: gen. 10, 2020, 12:57am

Rendezvous is a great choice. Smith's fiction is wildly uneven, but that collection is very nicely put together

11RandyStafford
gen. 9, 2020, 7:18pm

>8 paradoxosalpha: Not every CAS story is great. Unlike Lovecraft, he wrote to sell, and he had infirm parents to support, but I think some of his fiction is very good. I particularly like the Zothique stuff.

12cd96
gen. 20, 2020, 4:53pm

Having just only recently started reading Weird fiction in the last year or so my knowledge of what's out there is quite limited. That said, the only volume I (currently) own or have read of CAS is Penguin's Dark The Eidolon and Other Fantasies (edited by S. T. Joshi) and I really enjoyed the range of stories it offered and felt it a suitable introduction to the author both for his prose and his poetry. It's only a cheap MMPB rather than something fancy like in your initial post but it would be suitable to see if you like him or not.

13housefulofpaper
Editat: gen. 20, 2020, 6:11pm

I was going to suggest Emperor of Dreams (Fantasy Masterworks) (I hope that goes to the right touchstone) a fat one-volume UK paperback collection from the noughts. I assumed it would be cheap second hand, but the prices on AbeBooks are crazy.

The Penguin classics volume is probably the best current option, for an introduction to CAS.

Edit - it does go to the correct touchstone!

14bookstopshere
feb. 9, 2020, 4:49pm

the wife says still too many books (tho down 28K from when we wed) and so I am offering to help weird fiction (or fantasy/sf) readers with filling in "wants" if I can. Just drop me a note with your wants or general areas of interest and I'll see if I can help.

15RATBAG.
feb. 10, 2020, 9:48am

>14 bookstopshere: Well, you already know which book I covet the most!

But if you also have CP's Ender's Game...I'd be interested! :)

16Crypto-Willobie
feb. 10, 2020, 10:13am

>14 bookstopshere:

Sounds to me like a case of too many wives...

17bookstopshere
feb. 10, 2020, 1:31pm

nah . . . there really are too many books (at least too many dupes) - there are times I can't locate a title. That may be a function of my aged memory, but still, I can easily live with a smaller mess.