The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Clark Ashton Smith’s short stories in A Rendezvous in Averoigne display a remarkable vista of worlds that are filled with powerful wizards and hideous monsters. The collection is divided into five sections. The first, “Averoigne,” contains four stories set in a French province in the Middle Ages. The second, “Atlantis,” contains three tales of the final days of a legendary lost continent. The lost polar continent of “Hyperborea” serves as the setting for the next four tales. “Lost Worlds” contains nine stories set in a variety of fantastic locations. Ten stories set on the last continent on Earth, “Zothique,” complete the collection.

The “Averoigne” section presents a medieval world where Christians live alongside powerful wizards and strange monsters. “The Holiness of Azédarac” describes the attempts of Brother Ambrose, a monk, to reveal the forbidden sorcery of Azédarac, a wizard posing as a bishop. Ambrose eventually fails in his mission but chooses to abandon his vows and live in the past with Moriamis, a Druid priestess. “A Rendezvous in Ave-roigne” details the encounter of Gérard de l’Automne, a minstrel, and his lover, Fleurette, with two vampires.

The lost isle of Atlantis, Poseidonis, is a dying world of mighty sorcerers and the reminders of the lost glories of a vanished civilization. Two stories deal with the strongest wizard on Poseidonis, Malygris. In “The Last Incantation,” an...

(The entire section is 586 words.)