In the first of five volumes, Night Shade Books brought the works of a classic fantasist to a new generation with THE END OF THE STORY: THE COLLECTED FANTASIES OF CLARK ASHTON SMITH, VOLUME 1, first published in 2007 but now in a trade-paperback reprint edition. Putting the stories in chronological order is the right idea to do, but having read any of Smith’s works before, it left me a little bewildered.
A frequent contributor to WEIRD TALES, Smith has been compared to Edgar Allan Poe and as a contemporary of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. But as I read these stories, it became quite clear that Poe was the heaviest influence. That’s not to say all these stories take place in days of yore, though there is a healthy serving of that type.