A fairly short sequence of stories by Clark Ashton Smith, first published in various pulp serials, as was the style of his day. Named after the desert, decadent Earth of a far future circling a dying red sun, Zothique is the evil cousin of Conan's Hyboria and a slighly more human fantasy analogue of the world of the Cthulhu Mythos (very reminiscent of Pickman and his ghouls, less so of Azathoth et al.). The stories also sometimes read very much like an inferior Lord Dunsany, mostly because of the turgid prose, which has been much lauded but which I personally think is — notably unlike Dunsany's — just plain overwrought. Nevertheless, the stories are full of sandy crypts, charnel gods, necromancers (Smith arguably invented the modern zombie), vampires, fat, evil kings and general histrionics; if you like that sort of thing, you could probably do worse than to check them out. Hell, you probably can't help doing worse, these days.


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