Letter to H. P. Lovecraft

From Clark Ashton Smith

[16] [10 November 1930]

Year of the Black Suns
In the Tail of Serpens.

Dear E'ch-Pi-El:

[. . .]

Your idea for an interplanetary tale is tremendous. Most interplanetary yarns might as well have been laid on earth — as far as I can see — the characters seem no more affected by their alien milieu than if they were in some exotic terrestrial region. But certainly the usual editorial requirements militate against any attempt at a sound psychological treatment, "The story is too leisurely". "No plot, no complications". "Put some more action in it". Oh, hell! Which reminds me that I am beginning another Volmar yarn for the Jews — "Captives of the Serpent". [1] I'll give them their "action" this time! ! !

[. . .]

I, too, am not taken by the conventional "spell of the East" -- though I did feel something of the sort in my teens. [. . .] I have thought vaguely, sometimes, of laying a tale in the prehistoric pagan period of Arabia. Also, the Uighbur empire (supposedly 7,000 years old) mentioned in Churchward's Lost Continent of Mu, should have its possibilities. All sorts of new claims could be staked out in the pre-glacial or antediluvian epochs of the earth. Interstellar travel and traffic was probably in its prime, as Charles Fort suggests!

[. . .]

As ever


  1. Later retitled "A Captivity in Serpens", this story was published in Wonder Stories under the editor's title, "The Amazing Planet" (Other Dimension (1970)). This story was the second and last tale in the "Volmar" series that Smith completed.

From: Clark Ashton Smith: LETTERS TO H. P. LOVECRAFT, edited by and footnotes by Steve Behrends (July 1987) Necronomicon Press.

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