Clark Ashton Smith was a person of many talents: he was a poet, sculptor, painter, composer; he also happened to be a writer whose writings remind those of his colleague and friend H.P. Lovecraft. This is a collection of his short stories and novellas subtitled "The Best of Clark Ashton Smith". Usually I am weary of "The Best" collections by anybody in any media form as my tastes might differ from tastes of whoever compiled a collection - by a lot. As an example, I have a couple of CDs titled "The Best of David Bowie" where half of songs are real stinkers with a lot of really outstanding ones not included at all; but I digress.
This collection was created by somebody with tastes in literature somewhat similar to mine, I am happy to say. The majority of the stories are good with the worst ones being simply forgettable. I already mentioned the classic of horror, Lovecraft. People familiar with his writings would be right at home with Smith with the additional bonus of the writing style of the latter being easier to read than the former. While the collection contains stories with elements of fantasy, science fiction, drama, even humor - all of them are essentially horror stories. There are always elements of creepiness and wonder that are aided greatly by the author's great imagination. I found his descriptions of alien planets, fantastic cities, and bizarre monsters very refreshing amid the currently popular magical realism writings.
If I were asked to select a single story from a book, it would most probably have been "The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis". Its influence - direct of otherwise - can be seen in a classic science fiction movie "Alien" and other books and movies with similar plots. If you are fan of Lovecraft, you really need to check out this writer's works; all of them are freely available from http://www.eldritchdark.com/
This reviews is a copy/paste of my BookLikes one: http://gene.booklikes.com/post/919957/the-best-from-a-forgotten-friend-of-h-p-lovecraft-who-writing-style-was-somewhat-similar