Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937) was a pulp science fiction and horror writer whose most famous stories are of the Cthulhu Mythos. Cthulhu is an evil cephalopodic nightmare who haunts the dark and unexplored fastnesses of the Pacific; he lies dreaming in the sunken city R'lyeh and is only one tentacle of the pantheon of pre-human horrors described in the Mythos. Lovecraft also wrote a series of less horrible tales dealing with the unexplored dreamlands surrounding our world. "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath" and "Through the Gates of the Silver Key" (chronicling the exploits of archaic dream investigator Randolph Carter) are notable examples of this genre, and they shimmer like jewelled and cosmic hashish visions that bear the stamp of a peculiar and inexplicable authenticity. Surprisingly, these formidable tales were equalled and surpassed during the 1930's by Clark Ashton Smith, a Lovecraft contemporary who lived and wrote in the Sierra foothills, in Auburn, CA. (Lovecraft referred to him as "the Atlantean high priest Klarkash-Ton). Both Lovecraft and Smith clearly had some kind of direct visionary link to elder worlds, which is why their stories have survived and gained stature over the years.
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