Clark Ashton Smith (13 January 1893 – 14 August 1961) was a poet, sculptor, painter and author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. Smith wrote most of his weird fiction and Cthulhu Mythos stories, partially inspired by H. P. Lovecraft. Creatures of his invention include Aforgomon, Rlim-Shaikorth, Mordiggian, Tsathoggua, the wizard Eibon, and various others. In an homage to his friend, Lovecraft referred in some of his stories to a great dark wizard, "Klarkash-Ton."
Smith's stories form several cycles, called after the lands in which they are set: Averoigne, Hyperborea, Mars, Poseidonis, Xiccarph, Zothique. Stories set in Zothique belong to the Dying Earth subgenre.
His short stories originally appeared in the magazines Weird Tales, Strange Tales, Astounding Stories, Stirring Science Stories and Wonder Stories.
Clark Ashton Smith was the third member of the great triumvirate of Weird Tales, with Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. However, he was severely affected by two tragedies occurring in a short period of time: Howard's death by suicide (1936) and Lovecraft's death from cancer (1937). As a result, he withdrew from the scene, marking the end of Weird Tales' Golden Age.