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‘By the Light of Struck Matches’
The Root of Ampoi by Clark Ashton Smith

The narrator, viewing a circus come to town, spied a giant man of normal proportions. The fellow asked for a drink and he settled down in the narrator’s company to recount the adventure into an uncharted corner of Papuan New Guinea after “Pigeon’s Blood rubies.”

Nathan Kloske delivers this reading in fine form as usual, lending new life to the redolent and psychologically tactile prose of Clark Ashton Smith, a master in sketching lost worlds in words rarely arrayed together. The subject of the tale is the possibility of an Amazonian Society, a land of giantesses attended by puny men on the roof of a jungle-choked world, discovered by a flatly materialistic man. The Root of Ampoi is an allegorical tale of gender role reversal that should resonate with the postmodern drones, as well as the out-of-place masculinist, here and now, at the End of Masculine Time.

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