The Double Shadow: A Clark Ashton Smith Podcast

Episode #28: “Ubbo-Sathla”

This week, we’re covering “Ubbo-Sathla.” Our reader is Jordan Smith. As noted in the episode, this is the first story (chronologically) this is the first time Eibon is referenced in a CAS story. The Brundage cover we mentioned is below:

In exciting news, we’ve been nominated for a Parsec award. Thank you, listeners!

Next time, we’ll be tackling “The White Sybil” with guest reader @CrowGirl42.

Music for this episode: David G. Bonacho – Vertices en el Tiempo; Mister M – Darkness; Stefano Giardiniere – Lost at Nowhere

Tagged as: ,

  1. Jay Dugger says:

    I enjoyed Episode #28: “Ubbo-Sathla.” I liked the comparisons between C.A.S. and P.K.D. drawn during your comments, and the point made that the psychic time travel prefigures tropes common in the 1960s and 1970s. I

    Robert E. Howard’s “The People of the Black Circle,” published in September-November 1934 in Weird Tales (now available at Project Gutenberg), contains a similar account of magical retrocognition through previous incarnations. The publication date falls in the autumn of year after “Ubbo-Sathla” appeared in Weird Tales. I leave it to superior scholars to determine any relationship between the two tales.

    Michael Moorcock’s various Eternal Champion books have similar passages from time to time, but I think they pretty clearly draw from Clark Ashton Smith.

    Less clearly influenced by, and possibly independent of C.A.S. would be Paddy Chayefsky’s “Altered States.” It involves psychedelic retrocognition, biological retrogession, and at the end, a heaping helping of cosmic nihilism. The movie’s fine, the book’s about the same, and when you’ve nothing better pressing, you can read John C. Lily’s books too.

  2. pws (@pws4) says:

    I really like that cover. I know that Smith might not have liked it though, he used to complain about some of the cover for weird tales.

  3. Odilius Vlak says:

    Here is, the to my mind, the words that best summarize the literary mission of Klarkash-Ton. They Belong to the prose-poem, “To the Daemon”, quoted by Brian Stableford in his essay “Outside the Human Aquarium: The Fantastic Imagination of Clark Ashton Smith”:

    “Tell me many tales, O benign maleficent daemon, but tell me none that I have ever heard or have even dreamt of otherwise than obscurely or infrequently. Nay, tell me not of anything that lies within the bourne of time or the limits of space; for I am a little weary of all recorded years and chartered lands. Tell me many tales, but let them be of things that are past the lore of legend and of which there are no myths in our world or any world adjoining. . . . Tell me tales of inconceivable fear and unimaginable love, in orbs whereto our sun is a nameless star or unto which its rays have never reached.”

    Is not beautiful? There’re like coals burning in my soul.

    • Jay Dugger says:

      That quote does well summarize Clark Ashton Smith’s body of work. He wrote prose out of filial piety, which probably wouldn’t sound so mellifluous.

      My favorite quote from him comes from “The God of the Asteroid,” and it reminds me of Doris Lessig and Stanislaw Lem.

      “The hells of the human mind are darker than space, and vaster than the night between the worlds, and each of us has spent several eternities in hell. Our attempts to flee have only plunged us into a black and shoreless limbo, through which we are fated to carry still our own private perdition.”

      I stand by my earlier call for a best quote contest, but I don’t envy those who’d judge one the fairest.

  4. Genus Unknown says:

    “Ubbo-Sathla” is fun to say. Go ahead. Ubbo-Sathla. Ubbo-Sathla. Ubbo-Sathla.

    That’s my insightful literary criticism.

  5. Mindlink says:

    By “chronologically”, do you mean “published chronology”? Because I’m reading through a collection arranged chronologically by their written date, and “The Door to Saturn” features Eibon well before this story.