Fans of Clark Ashton Smith have been waiting a long time for a collection of his stories set in the fictional medieval French province of Averoigne. There have been many attempts to collect all 11 stories over the decades, but none of them were able to get off the ground until recently.
Lin Carter was the first editor who wanted to publish an Averoigne collection. There were plans to put it out in the early ‘70s as part of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series, but unfortunately the series was cancelled before that could happen. Carter did manage to publish four Smith collections before the series got the axe, however. (One of those collections was Xiccarph, a cycle which contains only two stories. I’d love to know his reason for putting that out before the more substantial Averoigne.)
In the mid-‘90s Donald M. Grant announced a collection entitled The Averoigne Chronicles would be released, but that never came to fruition. For decades it kept getting put on the back burner until it was apparently forgotten.
In 2016, almost half a century since the Ballantine version was cancelled, an Averoigne collection finally appeared in print. Centipede Press published The Averoigne Chronicles in hardcover. Unfortunately, this edition was extremely limited (200 copies) and extremely expensive ($175), so few people were able to acquire a copy.
Thankfully in 2019 there is good news for patient Clark Ashton Smith fans. An affordable Averoigne collection is finally available, albeit in digital format. In June Pickman’s Press published The Averoigne Archives: The Complete Averoigne Tales of Clark Ashton Smith as an e-book retailing for $4.99. For those who prefer print editions, Hippocampus Press is planning on releasing a paperback version at the end of the year.
Oddly enough, a dubious paperback entitled Averoigne has recently been published by Inpatient Press. It seems suspicious that another edition would appear when a more reputable publishing house already has plans to release it. Ron Hilger, editor of Centipede’s Averoigne Chronicles, weighed in on this in a post on Emperor of Dreams, the Clark Ashton Smith Facebook page:
It sounds like the Hippocampus version is worth waiting for.