My life in outer space

Genius Loci – Clark Ashton Smith (1972)

Genius Loci and Other Tales

‘Here again in these sixteen stories are the ‘gorgeous, luxuriant, and feverishly distorted visions of infinite spheres and multiple dimensions’ which have made of Clark Ashton Smith’s work something unique in the annals of the macabre. In this collection, there are tales of Hyperborea, Zothique, Averoigne, Atlantis, Xiccarph, and other vanished worlds of Smith’s unparalleled creation. Here are such unforgettable tales as Vulthoom, The Collosus of Ylourgne, The Charnel God, The Black Abbot of Puuthuum, The Weaver in the Vault, and others.’

Blurb from the 1974 Panther paperback edition

Genius Loci (Weird Tales, Jun 1933)
The Willow Landscape (The Double Shadow and Other Fantasies 1933)
The Ninth Skeleton (Weird Tales, Sep 1928)
The Phantoms of The Fire (Weird Tales, Sep 1930)
The Eternal World (Wonder Stories, Mar 1932)
Vulthoom (Weird Tales, Sep 1935)
A Star-Change (vt The Visitors from Mlok) (Wonder Stories May 1933)
The Primal City (The Fantasy Fan Nov 1934)
The Disinterment of Venus (Weird Tales Jul 1934)
The Colossus of Ylourgne (Weird Tales Jun 1934)
The Satyr (La Paree Stories Jul 1931)
The Garden of Adompha (Weird Tales Apr 1938)
The Charnel God (Weird Tales Mar 1934)
The Black Abbot of Puthuum (Weird Tales Mar 1936)
The Weaver in the Vault (Weird Tales Jan 1934)

Genius Loci

The narrator becomes concerned about the artist Amberville who becomes increasingly obsessed with a desolate area where a willow hangs over a stagnant pool. The artist suspects it is the lair of a malign elemental force which may have destroyed the mind of the previous owner of the land.

The Willow Landscape

A short and unusually romantic tale from Smith of the owner of a Chinese silk painting which he loves, but has to sell, in order to pay for his brother’s education.

The Ninth Skeleton

A short piece in which a traveller finds himself transported to a land where female skeletons carry their skeleton babies around.

The Phantoms of The Fire

Another short and somewhat unsatisfying tale of a drunken husband returning home to his family’s house among the pines. However, fire has ravaged the area, and, having seen his family, who do not appear to see him, he has a vision of flame and awakens in the ashes of his home, days after his family were burnt alive.

The Eternal World

One of Smith’s occasional forays into SF sees an adventurer using a fantastical machine to generate negative time-energy and send his body in a capsule across time. He is captured, along with some apparently dormant diamond shaped creatures, by odd amorphous beings and taken to a world at war.

Vulthoom

Two Earthmen on mars are approached by an ancient Martian and given an ultimatum, to serve Vulthoom, an ancient godlike alien, in his attempt to travel to Earth

A Star-Change (vt The Visitors from Mlok)

A jaded artist is transported to the planet Mlok by iridescent aliens where he is biologically redesigned with the senses of the Mlokians.

The Primal City

A short piece set in a ‘little-visited land’ where the narrator attempts to find the Primal City but is deterred by vast amorphous guardians.

The Disinterment of Venus (Weird Tales Jul 1934) – Averoigne

The pious brothers of a monastery discover a statue of Venus buried in the vegetable garden which subsequently exerts a disturbing influence over the monks.

The Colossus of Ylourgne (Weird Tales Jun 1934) – Averoigne

A dying sorcerer of Averoigne constructs a colossus from the corpses of locals and goes on the rampage.

The Satyr (La Paree Stories Jul 1931) – Averoigne

A brief and odd tale of a poet who seeks to seduce the wife of a local lord, but they encounter a Satyr in the woods

The Garden of Adompha (Weird Tales Apr 1938) – Zothique

A somewhat gruesome tale of a king who employs a sorcerer to tend a secret garden in which he grafts various limbs or members of his enemies onto otherworldly plants

The Charnel God (Weird Tales Mar 1934) – Zothique

A young wife is thought to be dead, although she suffers from a sleeping sickness, and the local priests seek to take her as an offering to the local god, Mordiggian, who receives all who die within the city wall.

The Black Abbot of Puthuum (Weird Tales Mar 1936) – Zothique

Two soldiers and a eunuch are returning across the deserts of Zothique with a young lady destined for a harem when they are ensorcelled by the Black Abbot of Puthuum, the lecherous child of a demon. The Abbot is actually black, i.e. ‘a negro’ as described in the text.

The Weaver in the Vault (Weird Tales Jan 1934) – Zothique

A group of soldiers are sent to an abandoned necropolis to recover the remains of a king. However, all the mummies have disappeared. they have been consumed by a creature from an earthhquake chasm that weaves webs of light

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