The City of the Singing Flame

clark ashton smith the city of the singing flame

As I attempt to finish this year’s reading challenge, I’m looking for some shorter books than my usual fare. As luck would have it, J. Michael Straczynski shared something great on his Patreon.

Back in 1986, Harlan Ellison did a reading of Clark Ashton Smith’s “The City of the Singing Flame,” and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

I’d never heard of Clark Ashton Smith, much less read any of his work. Gang, this one is an unqualified banger.

In the recording, Ellison notes that this story was the first fantasy/sci-fi story he had ever read, and it impacted him greatly. If you’ve read Ellison’s work and read this story, you’ll see the impact clearly.

This is the beauty of always being open to reading, listening, or watching new things. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the world champion at rewatches and rereads. But sometimes you need to broaden your horizons.

I’m so glad I did. I’m absolutely reading more of Smith’s work in the future.


Thanks for reading. This site and all the work shared here are completely reader-supported. The best way to support it is to check out my recommendations or subscribe to my weekly newsletter.