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In Search of the Unknown

Robert W. Chambers

Book Overview: 

Robert Chambers was a contemporary of Lovecraft, and this book consists of "weird supernatural tales" in a somewhat similar manner, except that the emphasis is on humor rather than horror. The narrator works for the newly opened Bronx Zoo in New York. He describes his adventures trying to obtain various rare specimens for the zoo's collection, animals that range from the merely extinct to the considerably more unusual. Along the way, he invariably finds a beautiful woman to fall in love with.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .It irritated me beyond measure to find myself at last on the very border of the unknown country, and yet checked, held back, by the irresponsible orders of a maiden lady named Smawl. However, my salary depended upon the whim of that maiden lady, and although I fussed and fumed and glared at the mountains through my glasses, I realized that I could not stir without the permission of Miss Smawl. At times this grotesque situation became almost unbearable, and I often went away by myself and indulged in fantasies, firing my gun off and pretending I had hit Miss Smawl by mistake. At such moments I would imagine I was free at last to plunge into the strange country, and I would squat on a rock and dream of bagging my first mammoth.

The time passed heavily; the tension increased with [55]each new day. I shot ptarmigan and kept our table supplied with brook-trout. William chopped wood, conversed with his mules, and cooked very badly.

"See here," I said, one morn. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This short novel, “In Search Of The Unknown” by Robert W. Chambers (originally published 1904) was next on my list of obscure antiquarian horror & 'weird fiction' that I've been working through for October. I chose it because years ago I read (and re-read) a shorter collection of stories by Chambers

Funny stories about unknown and supernatural creatures. Light entertainment and all the more surprising because this is the author of The King in Yellow which has some of the creepiest stories I've ever read.

This is actually a series of short stories cobbled together by the author to create a novel but it just doesn't work. Too many things had to be broken to fit into the box. I look forward to reading the stories in their original form.
However--I do love Chambers' writing style. He has a certain capti

I read "The Harbor Master," which is the first 5 chapters of this book. I enjoyed it. I'd say it was a nice Lovecraftian tale, but it predates, and I think inspired, the work of H.P. Lovecraft

Enjoyed this more than a number of Lovecraft's stories in a similar vein; some of it comes across as fairly hokey, of course, but definitely a more fun read than I was initially expecting.

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