What Was It? A Mystery – Weird Fiction By Fitz-James O’Brien

What Was It? A Mystery

Weird Fiction by Fitz-James O’Brien

IT is, I confess, with considerable diffidence that I approach the strange narrative which I am about to relate. The events which I purpose detailing are of so extraordinary and unheard-of a character that I am quite prepared to meet with an unusual amount of incredulity and scorn. I accept all such beforehand. I have, I trust, the literary courage to face unbelief.

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Clark Ashton Smith

Unless you are diehard fan of horror or dark fantasy stories of the early 20th century, the name Clark Ashton Smith probably means little or nothing to you. But for those of us who are such fans, his name conjures up worlds of exotic darkness, of the purplest prose describing the strangest entities of eons past. Along with Lovecraftand Conan creator Robert E. Howard, Smith ruled those long-ago days of the 1930s and Weird Tales magazine. But unlike the other two, whose works have long been readily available, Smith sank, along with most of their Weird Tales brethren, into obscurity. Despite vocal champions like Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, and Lovecraft himself, Smith is a household name only to those folks, like myself, whose homes suffer under a surfeit of paperback horror fiction. And not even always then.

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