Clark Ashton Smith

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Clark Ashton Smith (January 13, 1893 – August 14, 1961) was a self-educated American poet, sculptor, painter and author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. Along with Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft, Smith was one of the three main contributors to the American horror and fantasy pulp fiction magazine Weird Tales. His work is marked chiefly by an extraordinarily wide and ornate vocabulary, a cosmic perspective and a vein of sardonic and sometimes ribald humor.

Many of Smith's stories take place in worlds removed from ours, in the distant past or the far future. A group of these stories take place in the "Hyperborea". Other stories happen in Poseidonis and Lemuria. These ideas were inspired by the writings of H. P. Blavatsky, as he acknowledges in a letter to H. P. Lovecraft written on March 1, 1933:

The Book of Dzyan is new to me — I haven't read any great amount of theosophical literature. I'll be vastly interested in any dope you or Price can pass on to me. Theosophy, as far as I can gather, is a version of esoteric Yoga prepared for western consumption, so I dare say its legendry must have some sort of basis in ancient Oriental records. One can disregard the theosophy, and make good use of the stuff about elder continents, etc. I got my own ideas about Hyperborea, Poseidonis, etc., from such sources, and then turned my imagination loose.[1]

He also admitted to American writer of science fiction and fantasy, L. Sprague de Camp, the influence of the Theosophical teachings for his "Zothique":

Zothique as I have conceived it belongs to the future rather than the past, and lies at the other end of the time-cycle from Hyperborea, Mu, etc. The peoples of Zothique, one might say, have rounded the circle and have returned to the conditions of what we of the present era might regard as antiquity. The idea of this last continent was suggested by the "occult" traditions regarding Pushkara, which will allegedly become the home of the 7th root race, the last race of mankind. However I doubt if the Theosophists would care for my conception, since the Zothiqueans as I have depicted them are a rather sinful and iniquitous lot, showing little sign of the spiritual evolution promised for humanity in its final cycles.[2]

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