“The Plutonian Drug,” Clark Ashton Smith, 1934

“The Plutonian Drug,” Clark Ashton Smith, 1934 – A scientist (Dr. Manners) and a sculptor (Melcoth) discuss the advances in narcotics since interstellar travel.  Among them, plutonium (from Pluto), a rare drug that allows the user to see a few hours ahead and back in time.  As an artist, Melcoth seeks to expand his perceptions, perhaps get inspiration, from the drug.  He takes it and experiences himself as a series of frieze-like duplications into the past and future. He’s not alarmed by this loss of unity, only finds it interesting.  However, the future leg is shorter than the past leg, which the scientist confirms is unusual.  Against advice, he follows the path of the future and is killed in the alley by a thug.

Comments: Mentions Baudelaire and Gautier in connection with hashish.  Read in Amazing: The Wonder Years 1926-1935.

Author: Wikipedia: “Clark Ashton Smith (13 January 1893 – 14 August 1961) was a self-educated American poet, sculptor, painter and author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. He achieved early local recognition, largely through the enthusiasm of George Sterling, for traditional verse in the vein of Swinburne.  As a poet, Smith is grouped with the West Coast Romantics (alongside Ambrose Bierce, Joaquin Miller, Sterling, Nora May French, and others) and remembered as ‘The Last of the Great Romantics’ and ‘The Bard of Auburn’.  As a member of the Lovecraft circle, (Smith’s literary friendship with H. P. Lovecraft lasted from 1922 until Lovecraft’s death in 1937), Smith remains second only to Lovecraft in general esteem and importance amongst contributors to the pulp magazine Weird Tales, where some readers objected to his morbidness and violation of pulp traditions.  (It has been said of him that ‘Nobody since Poe has so loved a well-rotted corpse.’)  His work is marked chiefly by an extraordinarily wide and ornate vocabulary, a cosmic perspective and a vein of sardonic and sometimes ribald humor.”


About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1926-1939, artists/creativity, drugs/pharma, multiplicity, senses/space, the scientist, time/history/causality. Bookmark the permalink.

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