Read The Door to Saturn by Clark Ashton Smith Scott Connors Ron Hilger Online

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Published in chronological order, with extensive story and bibliographic notes, this series not only provides access to stories that have been out of print for years, but gives them a historical and social context. Series editors Scott Conners and Ronald S. Hilger excavated the still-existing manuscripts, letters and various published versions of the stories, creating a dePublished in chronological order, with extensive story and bibliographic notes, this series not only provides access to stories that have been out of print for years, but gives them a historical and social context. Series editors Scott Conners and Ronald S. Hilger excavated the still-existing manuscripts, letters and various published versions of the stories, creating a definitive preferred text for Smith's entire body of work. This second volume of the series brings together 20 of his fantasy stories. Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science fiction (space opera, time travel, hard SF, alien invasion, near-future dystopia), fantasy (grimdark, sword and sorcery, contemporary urban fantasy, steampunk, alternative history), and horror (zombies, vampires, and the occult and supernatural), and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a "New York Times" bestseller, a national bestseller, or a Hugo or Nebula award-winner, we are committed to publishing quality books from a diverse group of authors."...

Title : The Door to Saturn
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781597800297
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 350 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Door to Saturn Reviews

  • DNF with Jack Mack
    2019-01-10 15:18

    Best of three that I've read. A zealot chases a heretic across space and time. Good, but the ending falls flat. Required the discipline of several restarts. Succeeds in transporting the reader to an unknown realm. Made me want to warm up to Smith, but still a 2.5. Was the man intelligent? Indeed, a poet even, a visionary, but. . . .

  • Phil
    2018-12-26 16:09

    [The Door to Saturn]Part of CAS' Hyperborean cycle, the Door to Saturn has an interesting premise. A party of inquisitors storm the wizard Eibon's tower, hoping to bring him to justice for heresy. Eibon has a contingency plan, however, and a magic panel presented to him from his otherworldly patron Zhothaqquah to escape to Cykranosh (Saturn). The chief inquisitor Morghi discovers the trick and follows Eibon. They discover that the planet isn't especially hospital to human life, and they put aside their differences in an effort to survive their incomprehensible new environment. While more event- and locale-driven than plot-driven, the pair have an amusing adventure that reads very much like the kind of tale that Jack Vance would later write.[The Red World of Polaris]This story is a straight science fiction tale, with a ship of explorers pulled down to the surface of a planet orbiting Polaris after drifting too close. They encounter aliens who have replaced their bodies with mechanical shells, and their hosts are homicidally offended when the humans rebuff their offer for a similar "upgrade." While a lot happens in this story, apart from some vivid description there isn't much of interest here. Like The Door to Saturn, it's another story about characters trapped in a strange land, but it lacks the humor and whimsy of the previous tale.[Told in the Desert]This story returns to one of Clark Ashton Smith's favorite themes: loss. A desert wanderer tells his camp-mates about his chance discovery of an isolated oasis and the charming young woman he romanced there. A callow individual, he takes his simple lifestyle and devoted paramour for granted and leaves the oasis. He realizes his mistake too late, and wanders the deserts searching in vain for the oasis. There aren't any big surprises in this story, but it's a simple fable well told.[The Willow Landscape]While the previous story had an Arabian setting, this one takes place in ancient China. It involves an art collecting courtier who has fallen on hard times. He supports himself and his much younger brother by selling off pieces of his collection, until he eventually has to part with his absolute favorite piece, a wall scroll depicting a idyllic glen with a rustic hut, and arched bridge, and a small figure of a beautiful woman. The new owner--a fat man who, refreshingly, is not depicted as greedy or cruel--graciously allows the impoverished courtier one last night with the painting. He is rewarded for his love and devotion over the years by a mysterious voice who welcomes him into the world of the scroll, where he lives happily ever after with the maiden in the painting. As an art lover, I enjoyed this story a great deal. It seemed a bit like a reversal of Pygmalion, both feature protagonists who are rewarded for their devotion to a work of art, but instead of Galatea becoming flesh and joining Pygmalion as his wife, the courtier (whose "heart is native here but alien to all the world beside") is absorbed into the art. This is a beautiful, charming story.[A Rendezvous in Averoigne]This story is a classic, but probably more for the prose than the plot. It's a nice vampire story, but there's not much in the way of dramatic tension. The protagonist finds himself in a creepy, atmospheric situation, but it's resolved pretty smoothly, all things considered. Everything goes according to plan with the vampire-slaying, and I can't help but think the story would be stronger if there had been more obstacles or setbacks along the way. Still, the story is beautifully told.[The Gorgon]This story about the caretaker of Medusa's head could easily have been written by Lovecraft of Clive Barker. There aren't any major twists or reveals, but it has a nice creepy tone.[An Offering to the Moon]This story didn't work too well for me. The core premise, of an archaeologist basically going native and attacking a colleague while investigating an ancient sacrificial site, had promise, but the framing could have been better.[The Kiss of Zoraida]I tend to like CAS' Arabian Nights-style stories, and while straightforward this is an effectively-written story of a jealous husband's revenge.[The Face by the River]Not particularly notable or memorable.[The Ghoul]Another Arabian Nights tale, this one is clever take on the theme of an average person burdened with a horrible task by a monster. Darkly poignant.[The Tale of Sir John Maundeville]This story about a valiant knight starts off in an exciting and atmospheric manner, but the ending is absurdly anti-climactic. A literal conqueror worm king imprisons the knight for trespassing into the kingdom of the dead and...wordlessly, peacefully releases him after a reasonable period of incarceration. I would have liked to read Robert E. Howard's take on this premise, he would've given it a much worthier ending for sure.[An Adventure in Futurity]While involving time instead of space travel, the second half of this story is almost a retelling of The Red World of Polaris, with an advanced society being overthrown by a slave uprising combined with biological warfare. I found it hard to summon up much sympathy for the future humans, given that they kept slaves in the first place. This story also felt entirely too long compared to "Polaris."[The Justice of the Elephant]While set in India, this story has a similar flavor to the Arabian Nights-style. This story makes an interesting pair with The Kiss of Zoraida, as it's the lover who gets revenge on the murderous cuckolded husband. That he makes use of the very same "weapon" used to kill the executed wife adds a nice symmetry.[The Return of the Sorcerer]This story, with a secretary hired to assist a reclusive and harried-looking occultist, starts off quite a bit like The Devotee of Evil from Volume 1. Fortunately, it takes a wildly divergent path after the initial setup is established and culminates in a grisly ending that Edgar Allan Poe would have greatly appreciated.[The City of the Singing Flame]This tale inspires more questions than it answers. It's framed as an "abandoned diary" from a vanished colleague so it's easy to guess the narrator's fate, but the mysterious otherworld is described in an extremely compelling manner. [A Good Embalmer] It's easy to predict where this story is headed after the opening paragraphs, but this story stands out as one of the more obviously humorous of CAS' tales.[The Testament of Athammaus]An executioner deals with a monstrous criminal that refuses to stay dead. This story has an interesting premise and some creepy exposition, but otherwise doesn't stand out too much.[The Amazing Planet]This is an unusually action-packed story for CAS. Mistaken for animals, a pair of space explorers are captured by aliens and put on display at a zoo. Unable to communicate through any means but violence, the pair escape their cage and kill waves and waves of aliens until they're recaptured and shot back into space in the direction of the initial planet. The story has an interesting, desperate premise, but the execution doesn't quite live up to it.[The Letter from Mohaun Los]I'd grown a bit tired of time travel stories by the time this one appeared, but this one had an interesting twist. The universe is always in motion, so if you travel far enough forward or backward in time you can't count on remaining in the same spot. As a result, the protagonist ends up traveling not just through time, but into outer space and even to other planets. He and his stereotypical Chinese servant encounter a variety of strange societies, make an alien friend, and end up settling in the far future. One repeating theme in CAS' fiction seems to be that you can't go home again. When protagonists journey to strange lands, they usually stay there permanently, either voluntarily or otherwise.[The Hunters from Beyond]While more than a bit reminiscent of Lovecraft's "Pickman's Model" (something CAS readily admitted himself), this is a fun, creepy story to end off the volume with. After glimpsing an otherworldly monster, a struggling writer of weird fiction visits a sculptor cousin who regularly summons these creatures and uses them as inspiration for his art. The resulting plot doesn't have much in the way of surprises, but it's evocatively told.

  • Jesse Bullington
    2019-01-13 08:20

    More beautiful and bizarre stories from Smith, many of which I had not read in years or never read at all. The chronological order continues to fascinate me--having read the stories in order of setting before via his collections, it is a treat to bounce from Hyperboria to Averoigne and on to stranger pastures still. That all of these tales appeared in less than a year makes them even more impressive. Again, the Clark Ashton Smith collection to invest in.

  • Brian
    2019-01-01 13:22

    Since the book is called The Door to Saturn, and since that's the first story that appears in the collection, I should probably deal with that one first. It's a bit odd coming to it as a H.P. Lovecraft junkie. In Lovecraft's stories, Tsathoggua is pretty similar to the other Great Old Ones--a creatue of nameless fear, worshipped in secret by formless things that crawl along the black channels in lightless N'Kai deep below the surface of the earth. Lovecraft obviously took that from The Tale of Satampra Zeiros, but he put his own spin on it, and I read Lovecraft's work first, so coming to "The Door to Saturn" and have Tsathoggua portrayed as essentially a wizard's demonic familiar who shows up, makes ironic comments, and shares cosmic wisdom was pretty jarring. Even though that's a minor part of the story, the whole tone of "The Door to Saturn" has a kind of ironic wink behind it, from the "prophecy" uttered by Hziulquoigmnzhah on Saturn to the straight ripoff of the Blemmyes as a Saturnian race. And then right when it seems to be getting interesting, it ends.That's a problem with a lot of the stories in this book. actually. Take A Rendezvous in Averoigne. That story is one of Smith's most famous and reprinted stories, and I can kind of see why just from the language alone. Here:But when he thought to reach again the spot from which he had heard that shrill unearthly scream, he saw that there was no longer a path; nor, indeed, any feature of the forest which he could remember or recognize. The foliage about him no longer displayed a brilliant verdure; it was sad and funereal, and the trees themselves were either cypress-like, or were already sere with autumn or decay. In lieu of the purling brook there lay before him a tarn of waters that were dark and dull as clotting blood, and which gave back no reflection of the brown autumnal sedges that trailed therein like the hair of suicides, and the skeletons of rotting osiers that writhed above them.That is fantastic. The mood that the story sets, from the gloomy forest to the shadowed and unhallowed castle to the inhabitants who should not be, all of it is extremely creepy and evocative. And that makes it all the more frustrating that the story slowly builds and builds and then solves itself in, like, three paragraphs, the end. I think that's why I rated The Door to Saturn only three stars. While the writing was uniformly good across the board, and there was a lot of really evocative language, there wasn't actually that much that stuck with me after I read it. Many of the stories ended much earlier than I would have liked, and seemed to spend 90% of the time setting up a problem only to solve it in an instant: An Adventure in Futurity, "The Red World of Polaris," and "A Captivity in Serpens" (no eldritchdark.com links for those) were all stories of that type.There were two main stories that stuck with me. One was The Testament of Athammaus, another Hyperborean story like "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros," and one that actually tells the past of the city that Satampra and his companion visit. That one was quite creepy, though I thought the mood was a bit undermined by how clinical the tone was. Despite describing hideous and terrible events, the protagonist has a rather blasé attitude towards the whole thing and even has the distinction of being the last person to remain in the city before its ultimate abandonment. He is an executioner, true, but he still doesn't have that much experience with ultra-mundane beings like Knygathin Zhaum and I would have thought that the experiences of dealing with such an entity would have affected him more deeply.Come to think of it, that's my problem with most of the stories here. There's no emotional weight to the characters' actions, even if the words of the narrative themselves are forboding or gloomy or eerie or horrific, I rarely get the sense that the characters actually feel that way. The one story where I really felt like the characters weren't square-jawed Heroes was The Return of the Sorcerer. And actually, for the longest time, I thought this was one of Lovecraft's stories, because I originally read it in one of those books that's half-filled with Lovecraft stories and half-filled with stories by other authors, and then has Lovecraft's name all over the cover to help sell it. This is probably the moodiest story in the entire book, with palpable emotion expressed by all the characters contained therein, and it's absolutely worth reading even if you don't read any of the other stories. Also, in reference to my review of The End of the Story where I mention Smith's use of Latinate words, there's a quote from a letter Smith wrote to Lovecraft in the appendix of The Door to Saturn where he says:I was told the other day that my ‘Door to Saturn’ could be read only with a dictionary--also, that I would sell more stories if I were to simplify my vocabulary.Which I did find quite amusing, though I admit that the stories here would lose a lot of what made them great if the language were simpler. Many of them don't have much to recommend them in terms of plot, but the language makes them worth at least one read. Well, some of them. I wouldn't recommend "An Adventure in Futurity" or The Letter from Mohaun Los at all, but "The Return of the Sorcerer" or Told in the Desert are definitely a good read.Previous Review: The End of the Story.Next Review: A Vintage from Atlantis.

  • Marc Bagué
    2019-01-13 13:12

    Això segueix agradant-me més del que em pensava. No decau en cap ni un dels relats, des de la mes rància i clàssica història de ciencia-ficció espacial, amb heroïcitats increïbles incloses, fins el terror còsmic més malrotllero, passant per històries d'amor i pèrdua de les d'encongir el cor. Dir que era un geni és quedar-se molt curt.Esperant que algú em regali el següent...

  • Ardee-El
    2019-01-01 10:10

    This is the second in a series that collects the prose of Clark Ashton Smith in chronological order (by composition, not publication), with notes and—in some cases—alternate endings. And yes, I've read the first (The End of the Story), only before I started keeping track here on Shelfari.Like a sweet confection, the writings of Clark Ashton Smith should be consumed slowly over time, not in a single gluttonous sitting. His work seems uniquely suited to the short story—the denseness of his prose would probably become too oppressive over the length of a novel, like swimming in quicksand. But for a short dip in a dangerous pool . . .Broadly speaking, Smith's prose falls into three categories (with quite a bit of overlap): Science Fiction, Horror and . . . something else. Call them weird tales, call them phantasmagoria, call them simply fantasy; they take place in lands and worlds similar to ours but slightly different, in realities both antiquated and at right angles to what we know or think we know. These are mist-shrouded regions illuminated only dimly by twilight and the occasional retort of lightning.His science fiction is perhaps the least of his work. Even Smith in letters to H. P. Lovecraft (portions of which are included here in the notes for each story) seems to dismiss them, many of which were written to order. They are typical of the time, and bring to mind many other writers, from Edgar Rice Burroughs to Leigh Brackett: Fantastical science and planets which mirror aspects of ours too often and too closely, only with more aesthete heroes—not quite as apprehensive as one of Lovecraft's, but a far cry from one of Burroughs' bare-chested pseudo-barbarians or one of Brackett's cowboys-or-African-explorers-in-science-fiction-disguises. The "science" is often absurd, and there is a soft undercurrent of racism that was no doubt emblematic of the time. (There is, however, one story, The Letter from Mohaun Los that contemplates a time machine that moves in time only, not in space—so that space, that is, the Earth and our familiar solar system, moves away and the time machine remains stationary, until another planetary system moves into the same space. Much of the story is familiar "space exploration" from a 1930's vantage point, but that central conceit is memorable . . . almost Whovian.)Smith is on much firmer ground with his horror stories. Here he is nearly a blood brother to H.P. Lovecraft. This volume contains his oft-reprinted (and rightly so) "The Return of the Sorcerer" and is worth the price of admission alone. (It is also one of the few stories with an alternate—and more grisly—ending.)And then there is that third kind of tale, of which Smith was an unsurpassed master. The eldritch quality of his vocabulary, the complexity of his prose, the painterly portrayal of the places he takes the reader to . . . the effect is sharing in a dream—or a nightmare. In this category, this volume contains another Smith favorite, "A Rendezvous in Averoigne," a deceptively simple story of a balladeer en route to a romantic rendezvous in a French wood, which he has had the misfortune of forgetting is said to be haunted . . .One of the added joys of reading an author's works in order written is sharing in his development, as he flexes his muscles, and his concepts and interests progress and mature.As with the first volume in the series, highly recommended.

  • Jess M
    2018-12-27 13:16

    This review is for volumes 1 to 5 of the set. I have a weakness for collecting, a weakness I was more than willing to indulge for a set such as this. I found however that not all of CAS’s stories measure up to ones I had previously read (typically in pulp). And I am NOT AT ALL a fan of his poetry. The publisher has also added an impressive appendix to each vol. Sadly the margins and typeface used are substandard, not to mention the questionable cover art that seems to mock rather then venerate this amazing writers work. This collection is gift for the true CAS devotes among us, but probably not the best place to start your encounters with the author.New CAS readers may be happier with a half dozen pulps and old paperbacks.

  • Andy
    2019-01-10 08:58

    I liked this volume as much as the first one, maybe a bit less, but that's probably because I skipped several stories here I'd read elsewhere -- and those are some of his better ones. So it's hard to judge.Smith's sci-fi stories aren't as interesting as his delvings into grotesquerie with his decadent language and often gruesome goings-on. And looking at the story notes, Smith himself doesn't like them as much himself. That said, his science fiction stories greatly improved over this course of this collection I thought. There are some very good, stand out stories here.Only five of these stories appeared in the original run of Weird Tales (not including "The Face by the River" which appeared in a 2005 issue). That's not many considering the first volume had 16, and the one after this has 11. All stories that appeared in Weird Tales I marked with (WT) by the title.The Door to Saturn - I thought this was a really good story, very imaginative, less horrific and macabre. It was rejected from Weird Tales as "too fanciful," and other editors essentially told him he used too many big words! A priest seeking to arrest a heretical sorcerer, follows him into a portal to Saturn where they encounter some very strange inhabitants.The Red World of Polaris - Another of Smith's sci-fi exploration stories, some of imaginative description with little action for the first 3/4, then a cinematic ending that I thought was too drawn out. This story has a very interesting history, being rejected by various magazines, then being sold to a fan who disappeared. Ooooh spooky. A crew of humans explore a red planet in the orbit of Polaris, inhabited by creatures very strange and far-advanced.Told in the Desert - A far less fanciful story, certainly told with the usual ornate language though. This is a short, melancholy story of a man wandering the desert, seeking an oasis and woman who saved his life.The Willow Landscape (WT) - A poetic story, short and predictable but still worth a read. A poor scholar is forced to part with a painting which is so realistic he almost feels drawn into it.A Rendezvous in Averoigne (WT) - This is an excellent story, on the face of it, it's a somewhat conventional vampire story, but the grotesque language in which it's told makes it Smith's own. A man and his lover are transported into a dark world, staying in an old decaying castle owned by occupants long believed to be dead.The Gorgon (WT) - I liked this story, primarily for the reasons Lovecraft did (as noted in the story notes), it's atmosphere. It does have a nice, exciting ending and some creepy details as well. A man wandering the London streets encounters a stranger who claims to have the head of Medusa.An Offering to the Moon (WT) - This is a _decent_ story, a bit more pulpy than usual, not among my favorites here. Two archaeologists discover a ruin, and find themselves acting out a terrible rite there.The Kiss of Zoraida - A decadent little conte cruel, Smith more or less admitted to Lovecraft that it was a rent-payer. A jealous husband take a horrible vengeance.The Face by the River (WT2005) - This is a decent story, with a nice, feverish atmosphere of obsession about it. Something different from Smith. A man becomes haunted by a woman he has murdered, in a very strange manner.The Ghoul - This story is pretty good considering it's length of 2,000~ words. A man explains why he has murdered people to feed a ghoul.The Kingdom of the Worm - AH, now THIS is Smith in full on decadent, grotesque mode. Charnel worms, corpses, lots of lavish description. I love it, although I can see Farnsworth Wright's complaint that it has "little plot." A brave knight wanders into a city of the dead, and is made to experience the horrors therein.An Adventure in Futurity - Holy Safe Spaces Batman! This story is about as non-PC as you can get, I have to admit it's got some very racist implications. It's one of those sci-fi adventure stories with an apocalyptic bent; a fun, pulpy read which hasn't aged well and lacks what really makes Smith's work individual I'd say. Smith admitted in a letter to Lovecraft that he thought it was "junk." A man agrees to accompany someone from the future on his return trip to a time when mankind faces many challenges to it's survival. The Justice of the Elephant - Another conte cruel, very brief. A elephant trainer takes a terrible vengeance on a king.The Return of the Sorcerer - I read this previously, my notes said: A good old weird tale, a bit predictable in it's pulpiness perhaps, but I'm still a sucker for these types of stories. A man takes a job as a translator for a sorcerer, only to discover that the man is being pursued by a dead sorcerer even more powerful than himself. The City of the Singing Flame - I read this previously, my notes said: Good story in the dark fantasy, weird vein, feels like one of Lovecraft's fantasy world stories farnkly. A writer discovers a portal to another world inside a crater where a singing flame lures creatures into it, but where to?A Good Embalmer - Rather uninteresting story, very short. Reminds me of something one might read in Tales From the Crypt! One embalmer jests that if his friend ever comes to embalm him with his poor abilities, he will come back from the dead to stop him.The Testament of Athammaus (WT) - This is one of the best in this collection, a real horror tale and Smith seems to know he'd written a great story too, according to the story notes. A town executioner tells of his difficulty in killing an other-worldly man who resurrects each night.A Captivity in Serpens - This is another sci-fi adventure story, but this one is far better than most of the others here. It's both more outre and exciting throughout. A space crew find themselves captured, and studied as specimens of a far-advanced civilization.The Letter from Mohaun Los - And ANOTHER sci-fi adventure story, but this one was the best in my view, partially because by the end it seems to be more interested in fantasy than sci-fi. It's imaginative, smart and has some very memorable moments and images. A man who builds a time machine to transport himself to a simpler time, not only finds himself in a strange time, but in strange worlds as well.The Hunters from Beyond - Another I'd read previously, my notes: Another good earth-bound story, fairly standard "occult forces summoned go out of control" story, obviously a bit of a take on HPL's "Pickman's Model," a nice break from the more elaborate, other-worldly type of tales. A man sees a horrible, gargoyle-like creature as he is traveling to see his cousin, a sculptor who has been crafting those exact things.

  • Rjyan
    2019-01-16 11:58

    This is the second volume of a comprehensive collection of Smith's short stories, almost all of which were written for specific pulp magazines so Smith could make money with which to take care of his aging parents. So the quality of these stories fluctuates-- there are great notes to each story which reproduce some of Smith's own comments on them, usually taken from the copious correspondence he engaged in with HP Lovecraft. He denigrates a few of these stories as trifles squeezed out to satisfy the various editors' proclivities so he could get that dough, but he expresses great pride in most. The first and last stories in the volume are particularly great, although for opposite reasons: the first is a highly original meld of soft sci-fi and low fantasy, infused with a sly, dry humor that made me howl in out-loud laughter. Between them, there is some repetition of themes and phrasings, which makes a lot of sense considering he was cranking them out for a variety of different publications. If you've never read CAS, I would highly suggest starting with ZOTHIQUE, a collection of short-stories taking place in the same setting, a masterpiece and the powerful grandpa of the Dying Earth fantasies of J Vance and G Wolfe. (It's kinda expensive to buy physically but you can find a free pdf online if you poke around.) "The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies" published by Penguin Classics is very available physically, and gives a good overview of his various styles of stories-- Lovecraftian dread-horror, light-hearted spacefaring, fantasy tales taking place in vivid faux-Arabian, faux-medieval-France, faux-India, and Atlantian/Hyperborean locales, among others-- as well as a whole bunch of prose-poems and poem-poems he wrote, which (at certain times in his life, at least) he considered his real passion. BUT the title story in this collection is one of his best, so if you know you like CAS and haven't read it yet, you def want to acquire this book.

  • Ray
    2018-12-19 09:13

    The second of five volumes of the collected stories of Clark Ashton Smith. A little dated and twee but this author was one of my teenage favourites so I could not resist buying the collection. This volume is a patchwork of different types of stories - fantasy, gothic horror and space opera, some of which are hits and others not so.My favourite story was "The hunters from beyond" about a sculptor who employs evil creatures from another dimension as life models for his fantastic creations - and the terrible sacrifice made by his girlfriend to save him from them.I like the archaic language and obscure words CAS uses in his own unique way. Words of the day (I had to look up the meanings)EMMETS and PISMIRES - antsNot so welcome - casual racism in one story featuring an oriental character ("me velly solly" or similar). It may have been obligatory in the 30s sadly.4/5 from a sense of nostalgia.

  • Joseph
    2018-12-26 13:28

    Second in Night Shade Press' five-volume Collected Fiction of Clark Ashton Smith. OK, no, not every story in here is a masterpiece. Per Smith's comments as related in the "Story Notes" at the end of the book, even he didn't think so himself. But the high points ("The Door to Saturn", "The Willow Landscape", "A Rendezvous in Averoigne", "The City of the Singing Flame", and "The Testament of Athammaus" are the ones that leap out from the table of contents) are more than good enough to offset some of the weaker entries.Again, you get Smith's evocative vocabulary and gorgeous imagery. Again, for me, at least, it works better in the more remote, fantastical settings -- the imaginary medieval French province of Averoigne, for example, or the prehistoric lost continent of Hyperborea. The tales of contemporary horror are competent enough but often seem to lack spark, and Smith's attempts at series science fiction ("The Red World of Polaris" and "A Captivity in Serpens", both about the redoubtable Captain Vormak of the ether ship Alcyone, just didn't do much for me.Having said that, it's Smith. If you're just curious and want to dip your toes, you'd probably be better-served by more of a best-of collection, but if (like me) you're a completist, you'll be happy to have all of his fiction available in a single series.

  • Simcha Wood
    2019-01-01 11:25

    This second volume of Clark Ashton Smith's tales collects 20 works written during a period ranging from 1930 to 1932.In this volume, Smith is displayed at his best in the shorter pieces. These range from strange shorts like "Told in the Desert" and "The Willow Landscape" - which in their oneiric weirdness put one in mind of the wonderful one-off's from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series - to the terrifying "The Hunters from Beyond."His longer works, which make up a larger portion of this volume than they did the previous volume of this series, are fine blendings of Smith's moody, Latinate prose with his hallucinatory, other-worldly visions of the horrifying and fantastic. However, they are generally not as compelling as the shorter pieces (these longer pieces also tend more towards the sci-fi, which has not aged quite as well as Smith's horror tales and Hyperborean fantasies).All in all, though, this second volume is a welcome continuation of Smith's collected fantasies. It is a must read for fans of Smith, and will likely appeal to many fans of old school pulp fantasy as well as fans of more contemporary dark fantasy.

  • Eric
    2019-01-09 14:26

    Like most anthologies its hard to rate the entire volume, but I believe this book rates a 3 overall, but a 4 for fans of Clark Ashton Smith or HP Lovecraft.The Door to Saturn is the second in a five volume collection of Clark Ashton Smith's tales of fantasy and horror. Along the lines of HP Lovecraft's stories, Smith's tend to poke at the cosmic and underlying horror of the world around us. For example, "An Offering to the Moon" shows how the violent human sacrifice of the past can reach across time to those that look for its influence while "The Hunters from Beyond" show the cost of Faustian dealings with demons. Smith also goes beyond earthly terrors and the volume has two short stories which follow the crew of space-ship Alcyone to two terrifying planets in "The Red World of Polaris" and "A Captivity in Serpens".While there are no real bad stories in this volume, the quality is a little suspect in stories like "The Willow Landscape", which seems to telegraph the end of the story, and "The Justice of the Elephant", which seemed to be nothing other than a revenge story.

  • Dave H
    2018-12-21 12:19

    An excellent second collection of CAS’s Weird Tales, collected chronologically, and encompassing horror, science-fiction and cod-Arabian-Nights style stories. Highly enjoyable, bizarre, terrifying and action packed. Highlights include the Captain Volmar stories and the Lovecraft inspired ‘The Return of the Sorcerer’ and ‘The Hunters From Beyond’.

  • David Miller
    2019-01-14 14:18

    The trio of Smith, Robert E. Howard, and H.P. Lovecraft defined weird fiction between the world wars; to me their stories are shaped by the cataclysm of the Great War.This particular volume, as befits a chronological collection of all the author's stories, is pretty uneven. Some stories are very sprightly and entertaining; some not so much. They are not without insights into human nature.

  • Daniel
    2018-12-29 10:07

    Only a few of these stories stuck with me - the title one among them. Otherwise most of these stories were well-told and forgettable. I shouldn't be surprised; this collection will, after all, contain every story Smith published, and there's bound to be mediocrity in such a corpus.

  • Georgi Nikolaev
    2019-01-04 16:14

    Само заради последния разказ. Иначе клонеше към твърдо две.

  • Dan Johnson
    2019-01-08 10:23

    A fantastic continuation of the collection of Smith's tales. Notes regarding the writing and publishing process are a great insight.

  • Jaro
    2018-12-28 09:20

    I did not like this as much as the first book, but still a marvel of imagination and style.