Today's another busy day for me, I'm working the Fall fundraiser and I don't have the time to be surfing the Intert00bz. I composed this post yesterday in the wee hours of the morning. This being October, a month for scary stories, I think I should post some links to some of my favorite works of "weird" fiction. Clark Ashton Smith is a woefully under-appreciated (though I've shown my love for the guy) master of the "weird" tale. His fiction blended the fantasy, horror, and science fiction genres, with his stories often displaying a mordant (and morbid) wit. Smith was immortalized by his pen-pal H.P. Lovecraft as the Atlantean high priest Klarkash-Ton in his tale The Whisperer in Darkness.
Some of my favorite C.A.S. tales are set in the fictional French province of Averoigne, which was modeled after the real province of Auvergne. I imagine that Averoigne is bordered by James Branch Cabell's fictional province of Poictesme and C.L. Moore's fictional province of Joiry. Smith's Averoigne is inhabited by a disparate population of insufficiently faithful clergymen, a coterie of necromancers, at least two alluring enchantresses, and a passel of werewolves and vampires.
The best known tale in the "Averoigne Cycle" is probably The Colossus of Ylourgne, which details an involved revenge plot by the necromancer Nathaire, driven from the town of Vyones "during a year of unusual inquisitory zeal". The protagonist of the story, the less unsavory student of alchemy and sorcery Gaspard du Nord,e was incorporated into H.P. Lovecraft's "mythos" as the translator of the ancient and uncanny Book of Eibon (Eibon being the protagonist of Smith's The Door to Saturn.
Another infamous "Averoigne" tale is The Beast of Averoigne, which is a tale of an alien invasion, interpreted by a Benedictine monk as the visitation of a denizen of hell.
In a more comic vein, The Holiness of Azédarac is a tale of one Brother Ambrose, sent on a mission to investigate allegations of heresy on the part of a bishop, during which he meets the enchantress Moriamis.
The Eldritch Dark, one of my favorite websites, collects the works of Clark Ashton Smith. The website, a trove of gloriously purple prose and sonorous poetry, is quite a dangerous time sink. The trip to Averoigne is only a matter of a couple of hours, though.