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Zothique

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  436 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Tales of Zothique is a collection of fantasy short stories by Clark Ashton Smith, and edited by Lin Carter. It was first published in paperback by Ballantine Books as the sixteenth volume of its celebrated Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in June 1970. It was the first themed collection of Smith's works assembled by Carter for the series. The stories were originally publish ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 273 pages
Published June 1970 by Ballantine Books
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J.G. Keely
I've spoken before about the constant invention and reinvention of the 'Mystical East' in Western fiction, but by and large, the reason authors do this isn't to malign the East, or to produce propaganda--these are just the secondary results--indeed, it isn't really about the East at all, it's about the author and their own personal self-invention.

It is the dark and coursing undercurrent of European perversity, sensuality, and violence which inspires these writers. It is an obsession with transgr
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Oscar
Dicen que es de sabios rectificar. Sabía que debía darle una nueva oportunidad a estos cuentos de Zothique de Clark Ashton Smith, y afortunadamente lo he hecho más pronto que tarde. Ahora que los he releído más pausada y detenidamente, puedo afirmar que ‘Zothique, el último continente’, es una absoluta obra maestra.

Esta magnífica edición de Valdemar, contiene los dieciséis relatos ambientados en Zotique escritos por Smith, y publicados en su momento en la ya mítica Weird Tales, los cuáles están
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Bryan Alexander
A collection of Smith's Zothique stories.

If you haven't read Clark Ashton Smith, very quickly: know that Smith was one of the great fantasists of the early 20th-century American pulp era, contemporary with his friends H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. Like them Smith wrote weird tales, stories of mystery and horror, often in outlandish locales. Like Howard, some of his stories involve medieval-ish kings, swordsmen, magicians, etc. Like Lovecraft, Smith is fond of extreme vocabulary and arcan
...more
Rodrigo Tello
A medida que avanzan los relatos se nota la mejoría en la calidad de los mismos y la maestría de CA Smith en esto de crear unos mundos obscenos, depravados y moribundos que creo yo, ningún autor antes o después se atrevió a tanto. Y digo esto porque el aire malsano y a la vez épico y hasta paranormal que se respira en cada página de esta obra no lo he visto en ninguna otra ni creo que lo veremos ya, es uno de esos clásicos únicos e irrepetibles de la literatura fantástica que hoy, gracias a Dios ...more
Alex
Such beautiful decadence. I've enjoyed a lot of Clark Ashton Smith, but this is the collection that has moved me to place him as the best of the Weird Tales Trinity (Lovecraft, Howard, and Smith). I wonder if part of why he is the least appreciated of the three is fallout from things like the content censorship like the comics code in the 50's. There's a lot of squidgy bits and a not-infrequent reference to necrophilia.

Every word is carefully placed in these stories that rest between pulp horror
...more
Bill
Zothique, by Clark Ashton Smith, is typically lumped in with the Cthulhu Mythos along with its author, largely because Smtih was a regular correspondent of Lovecraft's. However, Zothique bears more in common with the Arabian Nights than dank, damp Cthulhu.

From the Epilogue by Lin Carter we learn that Smith's Zothique cycle of stores, all published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales between 1932 and 1948, are set in Earth's distant future, where high technology is but a memory and magic has once ag
...more
Elena Martínez López
It feels wrong that Clark Ashton Smith's works are included in the Cthulhu Mythos just because he was friends with H.P. Lovecraft and was also published in the Weird Tales magazine. As much as I love H.P.L.'s stories after reading 'Zothique' by C.A.Smith it's easy to see that their works have nothing in common (EDIT: ok, ok, they set a similar atmosphere)

But let's talk about the book itself, I simply loved it but since I'm in love with this kind of literature my opinion is probably not very par
...more
Joseph
Zothique is probably my favorite of the settings Clark Ashton Smith used for his stories. The setting: The distant future; all of Earth's continents have merged together into a single supercontinent under an ember-like dying sun. The surviving human kingdoms are decadent and perverse; the deserts are dotted with genii- and lamiae-haunted ruins. Without Zothique, there would be no The Dying Earth and no The Shadow of the Torturer.

Smith's prose is, as always, elegant and bejeweled.

Favorite stories
...more
Fraser Sherman
Clark Ashton Smith was, in hindsight, one of the big names to come out of the 1930s Weird Tales (at the time neither he, Robert E. Howard or Lovecraft were as big as they've been since). These stories of the far future dying Earth where necromancers rule, everything is corrupt and decadent and dark magics intrude on human life are very stylish (Smith's prose is ornate and elegant) and rather on the dark side (a happy ending is where the villains die too). Well worth reading.
Daniella
What words can do justice to the finest fantasy collection ever written? Zothique brings together the 16 short stories penned by Smith, set in the eponymous fantasy future continent.
Smith accomplishes more in a few pages than lesser contemporary authors such as George Martin accomplish in a thousand.The sublimity of the language, combines with an imagination so fervent, as to literally transport the reader into a fantasy world of sorcery and demonism; both beautiful and nightmarish in scope. Eac
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Peter
Great compilation. Stories tend to begin en media res and tend to end with a negative or absent "conclusion", but that is absolutely fine. Every story is an interested window into the strange, dying future world that is the continent Zothique. Some stories are much stronger than others, but that is to be expected as this compilation covers a wide range of time. Recommended if you love weird fantasy, Lovecraft, Howard, and other 30's-50s pulp/spec-fic/fantasy. A little hard if that isn't your gen ...more
Dan
Clark Ashton Smith is the most overlooked of the 1930s pulp authors of dark weird fiction, and his Zothique stories are indicative of how unjust that is. Don't think low quality because of the "pulp" designation, think little known master of beautiful, lapidary prose in eldritch, phantastical stories that saw original publication in outlets such as the famous Weird Tales. They're evocative of Poe, George Sterling and Lord Dunsany.

This cycle of tales is available in some form today even if this
...more
Hokomoko
I don't know any fantasy horror that comes close to Clark Ashton Smith. Consistently astounding stories, nearly all are horribly grim takes on love gone as wrong as it can go. Smith's style and poetic turn of phrase stands out. Mainly, each of the stories have such a unique feel, problem and plot twists I can't forget them. I could only proceed slowly as the necro- aspects overwhelmed me. This collection is impossible to obtain at this point, however you can find the list of stories on Wikipedia ...more
Hunter
Enchanting, Wonderful, and just too amazing.
James
Clark Ashton Smith is a master of poetic and evocative language. His prose simply drip with over-indulgence. For those who like the language of a story to wash over them and submerge them into the mood of the author, these stories are just the thing.

This is a great introduction to one of the supreme masters of the weird, horror, and fantasy of the twentieth century. Be warned though: keep a dictionary close at hand. I highly recommend this volume as a great introduction to the amazing works of
...more
Matthew
If only there were more fantasy reads like this one filled with sinister sorcerers and necromancers!
Joe Naylor
Some of the stories are very good, some are just okay. Each are independent and don't have the same characters. If you're really interested in the continent of Zothique it could be great, but personally I found it boring after a while and struggled to get through the last half. I probably would have enjoyed these more if I read them one-at-a-time in a pulpy magazine.
Alberto
Entretenido libro, cercano al Conan de Robert E. Howard por más que la acción transcurra en un futuro inabarcable en vez de en un pasado mítico. El lenguaje, hasta donde puedo apreciar por la traducción, está influenciado por la jerga lovecraftiana, así que abúndan los epítetos más sonoros que útiles a la narración ('animal semimítico'...).
Plucino
I too have trampled the lands of Zothique, the ezothic world at the End of Time.

I have drunk a chalice of perfumes, sounds and images, so rich and so intoxicating, that no other universe, be it real or imaginary, shall satisfy me like this powerful brew.
Donn
Not enough people have read or even heard of Clark Ashton Smith. Zothique is Earth in the far future stocked with necromancers, cannibals, and more necromancers.
Les Howie
This was mind-altering stuff for an introspective teenager.
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Clark Ashton Smith was a poet, sculptor, painter and author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. It is for these stories, and his literary friendship with H. P. Lovecraft from 1922 until Lovecraft's death in 1937, that he is mainly remembered today. With Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, also a friend and correspondent, Smith remains one of the most famous contributors to the pulp m ...more
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