Word Smith

Missed deadlines are piling up around me like the leaves of Vallambrosa, only less picturesquely, and I’m scrambling to catch up with my writing and fend off the wrath of my publisher. Until the current write-a-thon ends I have only small chunks of time, far apart, in which to read for pleasure. It’s a time for short stories.
So I turned to a purchase I had made some while back but not yet cracked–the first three of Night Shade Books’ handsome new five-volume set of the collected fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith. It’s been many years since I’ve read more of Smith than the oft-anthologized greatest hits: “The Return of the Sorceror,” say, or “A Rendezvous in Averoigne.” I’m enjoying the strangeness.

Stap my vitals, but that man could sling a thesaurus. He makes HPL look like Hemingway. I rarely have to resort to a dictionary while reading for pleasure, but by a third of the way through the first volume I had had to look up the following words:


A profound obeisance and a complimentary OED to anyone who knows the meanings of all five without looking them up. (Just kidding about the OED, unfortunately.)