The Hashish Eater (1989)

While I have a special affection for Jason Eckhardt’s work, it would be unfair to look at Necronomicon Press and not give some love to their other prolific house artist, Robert H. Knox. As luck would have it, he did all the art on the Clark Ashton Smith chapbooks—some of my all time Necropress faves.

Again, these feel important for their time. When I was getting into weird fiction in the early ’90s, I had easy access to most of the important authors. The exception? Clark Ashton Smith. His dedicated collections were all out of print and scarce and a serious effort at definitive collection of his work didn’t get underway until the five-volume set from Nightshade, begun in 2007. Until then, it was the occasional anthologized story, or Necropress chapbooks.

Most of these represent efforts by series editor Steve Behrends to issue corrected texts of stories that better reflect CAS’ intentions. Xeethra (1988) is a melancholy Zothique story that weird tales deemed too poetic. Mother of Toads (1993), an Averoigne story, was too erotic. The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis (1993) is a tale of Mars that was heavily revised for print, which CAS was unhappy about. Another Martian tale, The Dweller in the Gulf (1993) was so tampered with that CAS stopped writing fiction for a time. The Hashish-Eater (1989) is a lengthy, cosmic poem, unbothered by editors during its author’s lifetime.

Knox’s covers are fantastic, but holy wow those interior illustrations for The Hashish-Eater are something else. Dripping, psychedelic vistas fit for Troika. I’ve loved flipping through this one for over three decades.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *