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The Purple Cloud

M. P. Shiel

Book Overview: 

The story, a recording of a medium's meditation over the future writing of the text, details the narrator's (Adam Jeffson's) expedition to the North Pole during the 20th century on board the Boreal. Jeffson's fiancée, the Countess Clodagh, poisons her own cousin in order to secure a place on the ship for Jeffson, because the expedition was known to be one of the best ever planned.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .igh, throwing placid shadows on the aisle between; some being of a lucid emerald tint; and three or four pouring down cascades that gave a far and chaunting sound. The sea between was of a strange thick bluishness, almost like raw egg-white; while, as always here, some snow-clouds, white and woolly, floated in the pale sky. Down this avenue, which produced a mysterious impression of Cyclopean cathedrals and odd sequesteredness, I had not passed a mile, when I sighted a black object at the end.

I rushed to the shrouds, and very soon made out a whaler.

Again the same panting agitations, mad rage to be at her, at once possessed me; I flew to the indicator, turned the lever to full, then back to give the wheel a spin, then up the main-mast ratlins, waving a long foot-bandage of vadmel tweed picked up at random, and by the time I was within five hundred yards of her, had worked myself to such a pitch, that I was again. . . Read More

Community Reviews

H.P. Lovecraft lo tenía claro: ”La mejor novela de ciencia ficción escrita hasta la fecha.”

Siempre me han fascinado las historias que tratan sobre “el último hombre sobre la tierra”. ‘La nube púrpura’ (The Purple Cloud, 1901) ha entrado por méritos propios en mi olimpo personal sobre este particular

Adamo, il primo e l’ultimo

Celebre romanzo fra i principali antesignani nel genere distopico-catastrofico, La nube purpurea presenta una prima parte che ho trovato poco convincente, poichè in materia di spedizioni artiche sono state scritte, diciamolo pure, pagine migliori, più coinvolgenti, document

Set text for University

This was a strange apocalyptic novel which follows Adam Jeffson: the first man to reach the North Pole and the last man left alive on earth. Upon discovering that a peach-smelling purple cloud of poisonous gas has obliterated the world, he travels around the silent globe in se

Il folle di Babilonia, l'uguale del Cielo

“E adesso volavo in preda a una demente ilarità, perché una follia, una vertigine, si erano impossessati di me, finché alla fine, come sollevato nell'aria, pazzamente ballando, correvo, turbinavo, stringendo i denti che chiacchieravano e farfugliavano per con

A very strange book combining an accomplished fin-de-siecle prose style with the cosmic horror of Poe, it possesses an apocalyptic savagery and fierce isolation all its own.

The discussion this morning around Day of the Triffids reminded me of this obscure and extremely bizarre novel, which I must have read when I was about ten or eleven. The Wikipedia article is excellent - I had quite forgotten most of the outrageous plot, which starts when God wipes out all human bei

Immediately upon finishing The Purple Cloud I had to reread H.P. Lovecraft's novella "At the Mountains of Madness." Both stories deal with forbidden polar expeditions and world-shattering revelations. Where Lovecraft's story revealed a past and a cosmos where humans hardly signified, Shiel's is a re

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