Zothique

Map drawn by Tim Kirk.

Zothique is an imagined future continent in a series of short stories by Clark Ashton Smith. Zothique is also the title of the cycle of tales which take place there.[1] In terms of number and extent, the Zothique cycle is the largest collection of stories written by Smith. The cycle belongs to the fantasy genre, and more precisely to the Dying Earth subgenre.

Zothique cycle

The approximate location of the continent of Zothique and the major islands.

Clark Ashton Smith himself described the Zothique cycle in a letter to L. Sprague de Camp, dated November 3, 1953:

Zothique, vaguely suggested by Theosophic theories about past and future continents, is the last inhabited continent of earth. The continents of our present cycle have sunken, perhaps several times. Some have remained submerged; others have re-risen, partially, and re-arranged themselves. Zothique, as I conceive it, comprises Asia Minor, Arabia, Persia, India, parts of northern and eastern Africa, and much of the Indonesian archipelago. A new Australia exists somewhere to the south. To the west, there are only a few known islands, such as Naat, in which the black cannibals survive. To the north, are immense unexplored deserts; to the east, an immense unvoyaged sea. The peoples are mainly of Aryan or Semitic descent; but there is a negro kingdom (Ilcar) in the north-west; and scattered blacks are found throughout the other countries, mainly in palace-harems. In the southern islands survive vestiges of Indonesian or Malayan races. The science and machinery of our present civilization have long been forgotten, together with our present religions. But many gods are worshipped; and sorcery and demonism prevail again as in ancient days. Oars and sails alone are used by mariners. There are no fire-arms—only the bows, arrows, swords, javelins, etc. of antiquity. The chief language spoken (of which I have provided examples in an unpublished drama) is based on Indo-European roots and is highly inflected, like Sanskrit, Greek and Latin.

Darrell Schweitzer suggests the idea of writing about a far future land may have come from William Hope Hodgson's novel The Night Land, noting that Smith was an admirer of Hodgson's work.[2] However, this theory was conclusively disproven by Scott Conner’s "Dust and Atoms: The Influence of William Hope Hodgson on Clark Ashton Smith" in Sargasso #2 (2016), the scholarly journal devoted to Hodgson.

Other Languages
español: Zothique
Nederlands: Zothique
日本語: ゾティーク
suomi: Zothique