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Tales of Sex and Sorcery by Charlotte Alchemilla Smythe book cover

Contributed by Eva Silvertant on Dec 21st, 2021. Artwork published in
circa 2008
.
    Tales of Sex and Sorcery by Charlotte Alchemilla Smythe book cover 1
    Source: deepcuts.blog License: All Rights Reserved.

    Tales of Sex and Sorcery by Charlotte Alchemilla Smythe is #87 in the ongoing chapbook series, published in 2008 by Rainfall Books. It’s a 36-page erotic pastiche of Clark Ashton Smith’s prose, featuring 11 short stories.

    The author’s name is a pseudonym based on Clark Ashton Smith’s name. The author behind the name is likely Simon Whitechapel, who has written a respectable amount of Smith pastiche before—some of them lauded as the best tribute to CAS.

    Whitechapel states in “Wizard with Words: An Appreciation of Clark Ashton Smith”
    in Tales of Science & Sortilege (2005):

    Anyone who can read a Clark Ashton Smith story without reaching for the dictionary at least half-a-dozen times is either extremely well-read in a lot of recondite corners of literature or has read the story a few times before.

    […] watching the way he deploys the illimitable resources of his lexicon is, for me, one of the most enjoyable things about his work. When he uses an unusual word, it’s always because it’s the right word for the occasion, never simply for the sake of it.

    I prefer typography content over erotic literature, but I have to say, the vocabulary employed to describe raunchy scenarios is deeply intriguing to me. Here is a sample of Smythe’s writing, from “The Vulviflora of Vuutsavek” in Tales of Sex and Sorcery:

    Girls swallowed; seeds sprouted; florists succored: till at last the buds of the vulviflora, the quim-flowers wherefor the emperor waited, began to show between the girls’ writhing netherlips, having crept down the quim-sheath between orgasms.

    But what actually caught my attention about this book is not the prose, but the typography on the cover—a cover designed by Steve Lines, and featuring a painting called The Cave of the Storm Nymphs by Edward Poynter (1836–1919).

    The title and author’s name are set in Fanfare, a typeface of unknown origin that was shown in Dan X. Solo’s Art Nouveau Display Alphabets in 1976.

    It surprised me to find out that Fanfare does not consist of different widths; instead, it seems the author’s name is set in the original Fanfare, while the two lines of the title are horizontally stretched to fill the space. The distortions that emerge from such stretching would normally become quite obvious. But in this case, those distorted features are largely camouflaged by the variance in stroke weights in Fanfare, as well as the weight inconsistencies seen in some letters (look at the meager C, for instance).

    The publisher’s information at the bottom of the cover is set in a manually compressed Times New Roman Medium.

    [More information about the book]

    Here you can see the type from the cover (top), a manually compressed Times New Roman Medium (middle), and Times New Roman Condensed (bottom). As you can see, TNR Condensed isn’t nearly condensed enough. But conversely, it obviously shows none of the distortions you can see in the top two rows.



As for why the top two rows still show differences in the details (e.g. the roundness at the bottom of the leg in R, the shape of the serifs, and the middle section of K, where the three strokes meet), I suspect this is simply an effect of the ink spread.
    Photo: Eva Silvertant. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Here you can see the type from the cover (top), a manually compressed Times New Roman Medium (middle), and Times New Roman Condensed (bottom). As you can see, TNR Condensed isn’t nearly condensed enough. But conversely, it obviously shows none of the distortions you can see in the top two rows.

    As for why the top two rows still show differences in the details (e.g. the roundness at the bottom of the leg in R, the shape of the serifs, and the middle section of K, where the three strokes meet), I suspect this is simply an effect of the ink spread.

    Typefaces

    • Fanfare (Solotype)
    • Times New Roman

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    2 Comments on “Tales of Sex and Sorcery by Charlotte Alchemilla Smythe book cover”

    1. Fanfare is also called Flake.

    2. What’s the source for this info? If it’s the OPTI Fonts Archive, then that’s an error. At least the Flake shown in Castcraft’s 1978 catalog isn’t related to Fanfare – it’s rather an all-caps version of Fantail.

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