Synopses & Reviews
The first great science fiction novel of the twentieth century—now available from Penguin Classics
Strange, macabre, and, fantastical, M. P. Shiel's The Purple Cloud is a landmark work that heralded the genre of apocalyptic fiction. It tells the grandly bleak story of Adam Jeffson—the first man to reach the North Pole and the last man left alive on earth. A sweet-smelling cloud of poisonous gas has devastated the world, and as Jeffson travels the stricken globe in search of human life, he slowly succumbs to madness, unleashing fire and destruction on his planet.
A new introduction by literary scholar John Sutherland explores The Purple Cloud's apocalyptic themes and Shiel's colorful private life.
“Fantastic, weird, macabre . . . imaginative, fascinating, convincing, as some dreadful nightmare . . . a remarkable piece of work . . . head and shoulders above the average tale of fantastic adventure.” The New York Times Book Review
“Delivered with a skill and artistry falling little short of actual majesty.” H. P. Lovecraft
“The first great science fiction novel of the science fiction century.” John Clute
This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.
About the Author
M. P. Shiel
(1865–1947) was an author of science fiction and detective stories, most notably The Purple Cloud
John Sutherland is Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London and wrote the introduction to Chekhov's The Shooting Party for Penguin Classics.