David C. Smith (author)

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David C. Smith
Born (1952-08-10)August 10, 1952
Youngstown, Ohio
Occupation author, editor
Nationality United States

David C. Smith, born August 10, 1952, is an American author of fantasy, horror, and suspense fiction, a medical editor, and an essayist. He is best known for his heroic fantasy novels, including his collaborations with Richard L. Tierney featuring characters created by Robert E. Howard, notably six novels featuring Red Sonja.

Life and family[edit]

Smith was born in Youngstown, Ohio,[1] and currently lives in Palatine, Illinois, with his wife, Janine, and daughter, Lilia Maura.


As a fiction writer, Smith has authored or coauthored nineteen novels and numerous short stories. His nonfiction credits include an English grammar textbook; various essays and articles, particularly on movies and cinema; and an ongoing blog. He has also written plays and screenplays. Smith's most active period as a writer was from the 1970s through the early 1990s; since then, he has concentrated on his primary career as a medical editor and currently is managing editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.[2]

In the 1970s, Smith was one of several young writers who reinvigorated the genre of sword-and-sorcery in such publications as Space and Time and The Diversifier. These authors included Richard L. Tierney, Charles R. Saunders, Karl Wagner, David Madison, Wayne Hooks, Gordon Hooks, and M. A. Washil, as well as Smith.[3]

Smith's collaborations with Tierney and some of his short fiction have been issued in German, and Oron has been translated into and reprinted in Czech.



Oron and the Tales of Attluma[edit]

Oron is a barbaric warrior who kills his own father, raises an army to defeat a despot in the legendary prehistoric kingdom of Neria, and fulfills an ancient prophecy by defeating a demonic force known as Kossuth. The novel Oron (1978) and its chronological prequels---Mosutha's Magic (1982), The Valley of Ogrum (1982), and The Ghost Army (1983)---as well as the novel The Sorcerer's Shadow (1978) and 18 short stories and novelettes (1971–1984), are all set on the imaginary island-continent Attluma, for which Smith developed a detailed history,[4] similar to Robert E. Howard's essay in the 1930s on the Hyborian Age.[5] Like Atlantis, Attluma sank beneath the ocean before recorded history. Whereas Oron in its design reflects elements of classical Greek tragedy and is presented in 24 chapters, or books, in the manner of Homer's epics, The Sorcerer's Shadow (manuscript title, The Shadows of Sorcery) draws upon elements of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama as well as Howardian-style heroic fantasy.[6]

The success of Oron and The Sorcerer's Shadow led to Smith's writing the novels Mosutha's Magic (manuscript title, Reign, Sorcery!) and The Valley of Ogrum (manuscript title, Deathwolf), as well as the short story collection The Ghost Army (manuscript title, Death in Asakad and Other Stories), all featuring the character Oron. Three of the stories in The Ghost Army were written specifically for that collection: "The Fate of Diaru," "Red Tears," and "Death in Asakad." The remaining two were unpublished stories recast to feature the Oron character: "The Jewel for the Sorcerer's Daughter" and "The Seven-Pointed Star."[7]

Most of the 18 Attluma stories appeared originally in fanzines and small-press publications of the 1970s and early 1980s. Two of them---"Come, Death" and "The Return to Hell"---feature the character Akram, introduced in The Sorcerer's Shadow. Because of a sorcerer's curse, Akram is unable to die, and so must wander the world in eternal damnation. Smith is presently revising all 18 stories in preparation for presenting them in a collection.[8] The Attluman stories, with the year of original composition of each, are "Dark of Heart" (1971–1974, as "Dragon's Jaw and Twin Pillars"); "The Generosity of the Gods" (1972); "Descales' Skull" (1972); "The Last Words of Imatus Istum" (1972); "Aliastra, the Sorceress" (1974); "Ithtidzik" (1974); "Blood Ransom" (1974, as The Blood-Ransom of Ikribu"); "Dark Goddess" (1974, as "Yasdis' Vengeance"); "The Return to Hell" (1975); "Come, Death" (1975); "Rhasjud's Destiny" (1975); "The Passing of the Sorcerer" (1975); "The Jewel of the Sorcerer's Daughter" (1976); "The End of Days" (1976); "The Sounding of the Gong" (1976); "The Seven-Pointed Star" (1976); "Engor's Sword Arm" (1977); and "Patience Serves" (1984).[9] "Engor's Sword Arm" inspired the song "Sword Arm" by the Russian heavy metal band Blacksword.[10]

Red Sonja and the Howardian Pastiches[edit]

With coauthor Richard L. Tierney, Smith wrote six novels featuring the Hyrkanian warrior Red Sonja. The character, loosely based on Red Sonya created by Robert E. Howard, was adapted by Roy Thomas into stories for the Marvel line of Conan and Red Sonja comic magazines. The novels, published by Ace Books, are The Ring of Ikribu (1981), Demon Night (1982), When Hell Laughs (1982), Endithor's Daughter (1982), Against the Prince of Hell (1983), and Star of Doom (1983).[5]

Many fans of Robert E. Howard's fiction consider Smith's The Witch of the Indies (1977), featuring the pirate Black Terence Vulmea, and For the Witch of the Mists (1978, written with Richard L. Tierney), featuring the Pictish warrior Bran Mak Morn, as among the best of the Howardian pastiches.[5]

The Fall of the First World trilogy[edit]

The Fall of the First World comprises the novels The Master of Evil (manuscript title, The West Is Dying), Sorrowing Vengeance, and The Passing of the Gods, all published by Pinnacle Books in 1983. The trilogy concerns the gradual escalation of tension between a western and an eastern empire in a remote time and interweaves legendary characters and devices that have persisted in Western legend and mythology: Queen Salia is based on Helen of Troy, for example, and the wandering prophet Asawas is a Christ figure. Smith has stated that he planned the trilogy as a fantasy War and Peace.[5]

David Trevisan[edit]

David Trevisan, a novitiate for the priesthood who becomes a sorcerer, appears in two novels: The Fair Rules of Evil (manuscript title, Magicians; Avon Books, 1989) and The Eyes of Night (Avon Books, 1991).[5] Smith himself produced a limited number of copies of the synopsis of a third unnamed novel, which Avon Books, due to a change of editorial direction,[11] did not buy.

The character is the protagonist of an original screenplay written by Smith in 1986, titled Magicians, as well as of a 2001 screenplay of the same name, which Smith cowrote with Joe Bonadonna and which combines characters and elements of both The Fair Rules of Evil and The Eyes of Night.

Seasons of the Moon[edit]

Smith published this novel about a rural matriarchal society through iUniverse in October 2005.[12] It is also available as an ebook on Kindle.

Short Stories[edit]

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Smith wrote a number of short stories, most of which were published in the small press. Most were horror stories, although a handful are contemporary and one is science fiction. These include, with the date of original composition of each, "The Apach' Curse" (1971), "The Dark" (1971), "Feasting Shadows" (1972), "Strange Daisies" (1972), "The Demon" (1972), "Aragot" (1972), "The Satyr of the Wild" (1972), "The Tomb Beasts" (1973), "An Artist's Vision" (1973), "Tommy's Cat" (1973), "Angela" (1973), "The Sign of Kutullu" (1974), "Tellus Mater" (1974), "Mr. Dream Machine" (1976), "Coven House" (1980), and "Yellow Tusdae" (1984), as well as "The Man Who Would Be King" (1995).[9]

Screenplays and Plays[edit]

Smith has written or coauthored three unproduced screenplays: Red Sonja (1983, based on the novel The Ring of Ikribu); Magicians (1986, which served as the basis for the novel The Fair Rules of Evil); and Magicians (2001, with Joe Bonadonna).

Smith has written one play (Sleep of Time, 2004) and has coauthored another (Coven House, based on his short story) with Keith Huff, the author of, among other plays, A Steady Rain and The Bird and Mr. Banks. Coven House was given a staged reading at Chicago Dramatists in October 2005.


Smith's postsecondary English grammar textbook/workbook, Understanding English: How Sentences Work, was published by South-Western/ITC in 1991. His essays include "Fantasy in the Silent Cinema" and "A Critical Appreciation of John Milius's Conan the Barbarian."


  1. ^ David C. Smith: Summary Bibliography: Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  2. ^ "Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons". 
  3. ^ Holmes M: "Thirty Years Ago": http://www.rehupa.com/?m=200805
  4. ^ Smith DC: Oron, Zebra Books, New York, NY, 1978
  5. ^ a b c d e Jones H: Interview with David C. Smith: http://www.swordandsorcerey.org/int-david-c-smith.asp
  6. ^ Tompkins S: "Three Wise Men Bearing Gifts: No Myrrh, Just Frank Sense." http://www.the cimmerian.com/?p=1671
  7. ^ Smith DC: The Ghost Army, Zebra Books, New York, NY, 1983.
  8. ^ Smith DC: "Old Dogs and New Paradigms, Part 2": http://blog.davidcsmith.net/2010/03/30/old-dogs-and-new-paradigms-part-2/#more-55
  9. ^ a b Smith DC: Short stories: http://www.davidcsmith.net/
  10. ^ Stevens E: "A Taste of Siberian Steel . . . Interview with Alex Avdeev of Russian Metal Band, 'Blacksword'": http://xmetalundergroundx.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/blacksword_interview/
  11. ^ Curtis R: "Belly-Up": http://writersedgeinfo.blogspot.com/2009/04/belly-up.html
  12. ^ Smith DC: "Seasons of the Moon": http://www.davidcsmith.net/

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