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Abraham Merritt

Abraham Merritt(1884-1943)
Abraham Merritt was a journalist and the most popular genre writer of his time. Because they are in the public domain, you can find some of Abraham Merritt’s ebooks free at Project Gutenberg or at Amazon on the Kindle.

The Moon Pool: Exciting and accessible to modern readers

The Moon Pool by Abraham Merritt

Abraham Merritt’s The Moon Pool was originally published as two stories in All-Story Weekly (“The Moon Pool” and “Conquest of the Moon Pool”) and combined into a novel in 1919. Its copyright has expired, so you can find it at Project Gutenberg or as a free Kindle e-book at Amazon.

The Moon Pool is supposedly a layperson’s account (transcribed by Abraham Merritt) of Dr. Walter T. Goodwin’s exploration of the ancient ruins of Nan Madol in the South Pacific. Dr. Goodwin, a famous botanist, had run into his friend D... Read More

The Metal Monster: Exotic setting, great action sequences

The Metal Monster by Abraham Merritt

Abraham Merritt's second novel, The Metal Monster, first saw the light of day in 1920, in Argosy magazine. It was not until 1946 that this masterful fantasy creation was printed in book form. In a way, this work is a continuation of Merritt's first novel, The Moon Pool (1919), as it is a narrative of America's foremost botanist, Dr. Walter T. Goodwin, narrator of that earlier adventure as well. As Goodwin tells us, he initially set out on this second great adventure to forget the terrible incidents of the first; if anything, however, the events depicted in The Metal Monster are at least as mind-blowing as those in the earlier tale. While Goodwin had encountered underground civilizations, frogmen, battling priestesses and a living-light entity in the earlier tale, this time around he discovers, in the Trans-Himalayan wastes... Read More

Seven Footprints to Satan: Marvelous entertainment

Seven Footprints to Satan by Abraham Merritt

Readers of Abraham Merritt's first four novels — The Moon Pool, The Metal Monster, The Face in the Abyss and The Ship of Ishtar — may feel a little surprised as they get into his fifth, Seven Footprints to Satan. Whereas those earlier fantasy masterpieces featured exotic locales such as the Pacific islands, the Himalayas and Peru; extravagant purple prose, dense with hyperadjectival descriptions; and living light creatures, metallic sentient cubes, a lost semi-reptilian race and battling gods, Seven Footprints to Satan Read More

The Face in the Abyss: Another fine fantasy from Abraham Merritt

The Face in the Abyss by Abraham Merritt

Abraham Merritt's The Face in the Abyss first appeared as a short story in a 1923 issue of Argosy magazine. It would be another seven years before its sequel, "The Snake Mother," appeared in Argosy, and yet another year before the book-length version combined these two tales, in 1931. It is easy to detect the book's provenance as two shorter stories, as the first third of the novel is pretty straightforward treasure-hunting fare, while the remainder of the book takes a sharp turn into lost-world fantasy, of the kind popularized by H. Rider Haggard and Edgar Rice Burroughs.

In this novel we meet Nick Graydon, an American miner, who is searching for lost Incan loot with three of the nastiest compadres you can imagine. In the Pe... Read More

Dwellers in the Mirage: A marvelous fantasy

Dwellers in the Mirage by Abraham Merritt

After taking a brief respite — in the hardboiled yet outre crime thriller Seven Footprints to Satan — from the tales of adventurous fantasy at which he so excelled, Abraham Merritt returned in fine form with Dwellers in the Mirage (1932). In this terrific novel, Merritt revisits many of the themes and uses many of the ingredients that made his first novel, The Moon Pool, such an impressive success. Like that early work, Dwellers features a lost civilization (of the type grandfathered by the great H. Rider Haggard), battling priestesses, civil wars, and otherdimensional creatures (in the earlier book, a light creature; i... Read More

Burn, Witch, Burn! Creep, Shadow, Creep!: Merritt proves himself

Burn, Witch, Burn! / Creep, Shadow, Creep! by Abraham Merritt

Having conquered the field of fantasy (with such classics as The Moon Pool, The Ship of Ishtar and Dwellers in the Mirage) as well as the field of the bizarre yet hardboiled crime thriller (with his wonderful Seven Footprints to Satan), Abraham Merritt went on, in 1932, to prove that he could master the field of supernatural horror, as well. That he succeeded brilliantly should come as no surprise to readers of those earlier works. His first foray in the occult, Burn, Witch, Burn! first appeared in the pages of Argosy magazine in 1932, and was then expanded into book form the following year.

In it, we meet Dr. Lowell, an eminent neurologist who becomes curious when a series of mysterious deaths comes to his attention. Men and women in the NYC area have been dying of no apparent cause, but with horr... Read More

The Black Wheel: A must for all Merritt completists

The Black Wheel by Abraham Merritt & Hannes Bok

When Abraham Merritt died of a heart attack on August 21, 1943, at the age of 59, the world lost one of the greatest writers of adventure fantasy of all time. He left behind a number of novels in various stages of completion, including the first quarter of The Black Wheel. Hannes Bok, an artist and illustrator who did almost 150 covers for assorted pulp magazines, starting with the December 1939 issue of Weird Tales, took on the formidable task of completing Merritt's story. Bok was the first artist, by the way, to win a Hugo award, and went on to pen several other novels of his own. I must say that he does a rather good job at pastiching Merritt's style; were ... Read More

The Ship of Ishtar: A fantasy for the ages

The Ship of Ishtar by Abraham Merritt

The Ship of Ishtar, one of Abraham Merritt's finest fantasies, first appeared in the pages of Argosy magazine in 1924. An altered version appeared in book form in 1926, and the world finally received the original work in book form in 1949, six years after Merritt's death.

In this wonderful novel we meet John Kenton, an American archaeologist who has just come into possession of a miniature crystal ship recently excavated "from the sand shrouds of ages-dead Babylon." Before too long, Kenton is whisked onto the actual ship, of which his relic is just a symbol. It turns out that the ship is sailing the seas of an otherdimensional limboland, and manned by the evil followers of the Babylonian god of the dead, Nergal, and by the priestesses of the Babylonian fertility goddess, Ishtar. A forc... Read More

The Fox Woman and Other Stories: Several short pieces by a master of the form

The Fox Woman and Other Stories by Abraham Merritt

The Fox Woman and Other Stories is the only collection of Abraham Merritt's shorter works, and contains seven stories and two "fragments." These short stories span the entire career of the man who has been called America's foremost adventure fantasist of the 1920s and '30s. Several of the tales boast the lush purple prose of Merritt's early period (as seen especially in his first two novels, The Moon Pool and The Metal Monster), but all seven are finely written little gems. They run the gamut from full-blown fantasy to lost-world adventure to outright science fiction, and abundantly demonstrate that Merritt was a master of the concise short form as well as the full-length novel.

The collection kicks off with one of its strongest ta... Read More

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

I haven’t actually read every page of The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, yet I’m giving it my highest recommendation. Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Master and Mistress of Weird, The Weird is 1126 pages long and should really be considered a textbook of weird fiction. It contains 110 carefully chosen stories spanning more than 100 years of weird fiction. Here’s what you can expect to find in this massive volume:

A “Forweird” by Michael Moorcock gives us a brief history of the weird tale, discusses how it has defied publishers’ attempts to categorize it into neatly-bordered genres, and gives examples of writers who are revered by modern readers but whose weird fiction caused them to be ma... Read More

More books by Abraham Merritt

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe People of the Pit — (1948) Publisher: “yearly—exceptional sums for the period. His financial success allowed him to pursue world travel—he invested in real estate in Jamaica and Ecuador—and exotic hobbies, like cultivating orchids and plants linked to witchcraft, magic (monkshood, wolfbane, blue datura, peyote, and cannabis).

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Women of the Wood and Other Stories — (2011) Publisher: A Quartet of Fantasy Classics! The Women of the Wood & Other Stories contains the complete text of four of A. (for Abraham) Merritt’s greatest tales. Included are a short novel so long it has only been reprinted uncut twice since it first appeared in 1918, two novelettes, a long short story and an insightful introductory essay on the fascinating life and works of A. Merritt. Find out why the Saturday Review of Literature lauded him as, “The greatest of American horror writers;” Isaac Asimov as, “The most famous of all fantasy writers;” and The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy as, “The supreme fantasy genius … his works are classics.”