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Jun 23, 2011

' ...daemonic strangeness...'

'In sheer daemonic strangeness he [Clark Ashton Smith] is unexcelled.', so said H.P. Lovecraft. "Out of Space and Time Volume 1", as the title suggests, is a volume in a series. Warning - the horror, whether graphic or suggested - is unrelieved. Therefore, if this condition assaults your sensibilities, I suggest that you put this collection down and move on.

Arranged on a two-part basis, the first "Out of Space and Time" is the more enjoyable because in these stories a situation begs to be solved. Mr Smith's stories are hard to anticipate, but relentlessly they lead you along to resolution. I particularly enjoyed "The City of the Singing Flame" for its misdirection; Then the "A Rendezvous in Averoigne" involves a mesh of enchantments to liven up ye old vampire theme; Not to be outdone, "The Unchartered Isle" manages to suggest that other shipwrecked survivors belong to a 'Sunday school picnic' category.

Now for the second of the two-part basis,
'Judgments of Doom' is mostly about that, doom. I recommend "The Double Shadow" for its evenness of telling and for its spookiness of weird. Also, its brevity refreshes.

Finally, unless you peruse the dictionary on a daily basis, please have an encyclopaedic one handy for the five or more words per page, average, that you will need to look up.

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