Clark Ashton Smith (CAS henceforth so I don't have to keep typing it out) is one of the sadly lesser-known lights among the weird/horror pulp writers in HP Lovecraft's circle.
A shame, because as a writer of sf and weird/horror tales he is unmatched.
In my estimation he's even better than Burroughs, Lovecraft, and Howard. Not to knock those writers, who are among my favorites for many reasons.
CAS, though, he had a way of relating his own 'brand' of speculative story which has elements of the Howard punch-em-up and the Lovecraft cosmic horror while standing on their own two feet.
He wrote in a variety of "worlds" which may or may not have been the same reality, ranging back to the far-distant past of Hyperborea, to the last remnant of sunken Atlantis, early medieval Averoigne, and the far future "last continent" of Zothique.
Worlds populated by monsters, demons, wizards, terrible gods and awful horrors.
He also wrote the script for Alien.
You're an explorer on a bleak and long-dead world. You and your team come across ruins older than history. Unable to resist the temptation, you make your way into the vaults, down into the dark.
Along the way, you find hints of a terrible tragedy that once happened here.
And then one of the team members discovers the nightmare that's lain dead there for uncounted eons. A monster that kills him and slowly hunts down the rest.
That's the plot of Alien alright.
It's also a CAS story called "The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis" first published in 1931.
Smith wrote horror tales to chill the flesh right off your bones. This one rates right up there with "The Double Shadow" as a mainline IV drip of 100% uncut horror.
And he wrote this almost 50 years before Alien and its succession of knockoffs, reboots, and retreads.
I should have an affiliate link to sell you premium editions of the CAS stories, because you are truly missing out if you at all enjoy sf or weird stories.
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