Edited by Scott Connors and Ron Hilger. Cover art by Jason Van Hollander.
The Last Hieroglyph is the fifth volume of the five volume Collected Fantasies series. Editors Scott Connors and Ron Hilger have compared original manuscripts, various typescripts, published editions, and Smith's notes and letters, in order to prepare a definitive set of texts.
This series presents Smith's fiction chronologically, based on composition rather than publication. The editorial decision to present these finely crafted tales chronologically, as opposed to thematically, was made in order to present Smith's fiction as part of a continuum – Smith's style evolved as he grew older, and gained access to the commercial markets. The ebb and flow of his prose over the course of his lifetime can be charted via the five volumes of this series.
The Last Hieroglyph includes, in chronological order, all of his stories from "The Dark Age" to "The Dart of Rasasfa". This volume also features an introduction, and extensive notes on each story.
Clark Ashton Smith (1893–1961) 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 mostly remembered today. With Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, also a friend and correspondent, Smith remains one of the most famous contributors to the pulp magazine Weird Tales.
Photo: Clark Ashton Smith in 1912. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.