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The Moon Pool

3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  563 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
Dr. Walter T. Goodwin is sailing back to New York after a botanical expedition to the South Seas when he meets his old friend, Dr. David Throckmartin. The heartbroken Throckmartin relates a haunting tale to Dr. Goodwin-a tale of a tropical island and a strange stone door through which a hypnotic otherworldly light shines. Throckmartin tells of how the light had captured hi ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 30th 2008 by The Overlook Press (first published 1919)
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Will Byrnes
Merritt was quite popular in his time. The Moon Pool originally appeared in serialized form in 1919 and was an instant hit. The breathless prose seems off-kilter today and the flip racism shines an unflattering light on a less-enlightened time. There are similarities to H.P. Lovecraft, H. Rider Haggard and the adventure story-tellers of the late 19th and early 20th century. HG Wells is mentioned by name. It was a time in which there were still many unexplored parts of the earth and Merritt did h ...more
I wanted to rate this one higher, but it was something of a chore to finish. Better than three stars, but not four (3 1/2 stars). Oh, it's crammed with great descriptive writing, which is Merritt's strength. And the good stuff includes giant frog people, a dragon, two beautiful women at war, wild weapons, dwarves, an evil Bolshevik scientist (keep in mind this was written in 1919!), and a hidden world beneath the earth's surface. But at its heart the novel is a vampire story -- but with a take I ...more
Kat  Hooper
Dec 03, 2013 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

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. D
Henry Avila
Sep 23, 2011 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An expedition to a remote island, in the South Pacific, is organized by Dr.Walter Goodwin ,to rescue a friend, Dr. Throckmartin, his wife, and an associate.Throckmartin had vanished from a ship, in the middle of the ocean!The mysterious Ponape, is where the searchers believe, he's gone to, and their destination .A strange place, with prehistorical ruins, made by an unknown race .Eventually they find an entrance, that leads to a weird ,underground civilization.A legendary people live there. This ...more
4.5 stars. Great early SF story with beautiful, evocative writing and a great story. Reads like a classic.
Jul 04, 2013 Dfordoom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Abraham Merritt (1884-1943), always known as A. Merritt, was a very successful journalist who wrote fiction in his spare time. Most of his stories appeared originally in the pulp magazines of the 20s and 30s and were later republished in novel form. The Moon Pool, published in 1919, is one of his early works.

Like so many of his tales this is a lost world story. The narrator is a scientist named Goodwin. He is told a fantastic story by a fellow scientist of strange happenings in the ruins of the
Aug 19, 2011 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A. Merritt's masterful first novel, "The Moon Pool," originally appeared in the magazine "All-Story Weekly," as a short story entitled "The Moon Pool," in 1918. Its full-length sequel, "The Conquest of the Moon Pool," followed in that pub the following year. The first book publication, later in 1919, combined these two works into a unified whole, and the result is an astonishing piece of fantastic fiction. And it would seem that Orson Welles' radio rendition of H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds ...more
Admission #1: I picked this up off the shelf because it has the word "moon" in it. Yes, that's right. I have some hippie in me, somewhere beneath all the grunge and macaroni and cheese. I'm all about the moon.

Admission #2: I decided to purchase it because on the cover are the words A Forerunner to ABC's LOST. Excuse me? Really? And then lower on the cover and in smaller print it says:

Ever wonder what might have inspired the TV series LOST? Long before Jack or John Locke began to explore their m
Tim Pendry
Many will already know the much-anthologised short fantasy story by Merritt called 'The Moon Pool'. This is its extension into his first full length 'pulp' novel.

The short story took us to the point where we felt the mystery of what is later revealed as the Shining One or the Dweller. Once again, as so often with Merritt, we get pre-emptive shades of H.P. Lovecraft.

Merritt writes at a peculiar point in fantasy history where the half-educated reader might reasonably dream of the reality of lost w
Perry Whitford
Jan 25, 2016 Perry Whitford rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Lost plot 'lost world' travesty, somehow considered a classic.

The only good thing about this clunking abomination of a novel is its use of the extraordinary lost city of Nan Madol in Micronesia as a starting point. A series of drowned islets of basalt rock in a lagoon, it must be one of the most stunning places on earth.

As for what follows, the less said the better.

To summarise the brainless plot, a scientist and some mates go in search of another scientist who has been swallowed and made to da
David Bonesteel
A loose association of adventurers penetrates the lost kingdom that lies far beneath a South Pacific island, where opposing religious factions teeter on the brink of war and a being of living light threatens to conquer the surface world.

Abraham Merritt's verbose and adjective-heavy prose varies in its effectiveness. At times, he does such a good job of describing settings that they appear effortlessly in the mind's eye. This is particularly true of the first part of the novel, which is set on an
At first I didn't really appreciate the prose, but the author does have a very interesting grasp of description, as long as length doesn't bother you. I wanted to check out a classic of horror in the general field of the cthulhu mythos that has been rated rather highly, but I honestly got tied up with the overblown stereotyped characters. As long as a reader can get beyond these faults, (that weren't faults of the time period it was written,) then there are a number of beautiful aspects to the n ...more
Matt Kelland
This is one of those early fantasy novels that predates the modern paradigm of elves, dwarves, dragons and a medieval or Renaissance world with a bit of magic thrown in. It's set in a world of contemporary explorers who find a bizarre civilization that's both technologically advanced and socially primitive. It's told as a tale of romantic adventure, much in the style of Rider Haggard, but with a dreamlike quality reminiscent of Clark Ashton Smith.

I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected. It's a
Oct 30, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the depths of the South Pacific emerges "the Dweller." American Walter Goodwin leads an expedition to discover what it is--and prevent it from claiming more victims....a mystery and a fantasy from the rich--and unusual--imagination of Abraham Merritt.
Merritt ( 1884-1943 ) was one of the most popular American writers of science fiction/fantasy in the early 20th Century, and now almost completely forgotten. Yet he had a tremendous influence on the field. "The Moon Pool" was his first great
Jul 28, 2015 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I'm really amazed just how well thought out and imaginative this book was. This is the second book by Merritt I've read, and the guy is great. Similar to Lovecraft, but weaving more plot, character, and women into his writing. I love how he recreated Norse mythology in Earth's underworld, and wove in Irish mythology as well. The book did take me a while to read, partly because many sections are filled with detailed descriptions that I had to read 3 or 4 times to try to envision. This is a common ...more
Vinnie Tesla
That was one wicked confused book! It's a horror story. It's a White Superrace Within the Hollow Earth story. It's Stapledonian big picture trippiness! It's a Power of Twoo Love climax straight outa Hollywood.

They really should have made a movie out of it in 1963. All of the glowy energy beings and disintegrator rays would lend themselves to that era's SFX, and the pastel togas everybody wears would be perfect. A young William Shatner could absolutely devour the scenery as the Fearless & Col
The story is classic proto-SF; voyage to an underground land with magical technology, pseudoscientific explanations of supernatural phenomena, world-ending evil plans stopped in the nick of time by daring westerners in a foreign land. I finished it, but it was tough going: Merritt's breathless descriptive prose (in the introduction to my edition, Robert Silverberg refers to it as "lambent this, coruscating that") has not aged well, and becomes tiresome by the end. Would-be SciFi archaeologists s ...more
Jun 20, 2015 L. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most popular science-fiction writers in the early 1900s, Merritt had the reputation of the Lord of Fantasy. "The Moon Pool" evidences the "baroque complexities that Merritt introduced into his fairly standard plots through his use of elaborately contrived creatures, technologies, and settings," as the editor Levy remarks in his Introduction. The Dweller reawakened on the island of Ponape where an ancient civilization once existed by a Dr. David Throckmartin and his group of scientist ...more
Kiran Kumili
Abraham Grace Merritt, a science fiction writer and also a journalist by profession from Philadelphia USA has gone to the depths of fantasizing a science fiction in this work of his.

An scientific adventure taken up by a family of young scientists at the mysterious islands of Papua, somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, results in the disappearance of the entire family into a abysss of a strange opening in one of islands. Later investigation and expedition carried out by Dr Goodwin with the help of a w
Norman Cook
Sep 06, 2015 Norman Cook rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book
The Moon Pool originally appeared as two short stories in All-Story Weekly: "The Moon Pool" (1918) and its sequel, "Conquest of the Moon Pool" (1919). These were then reworked into this novel released in 1919.

This is a "lost world" novel—Merritt followed in the footsteps of Haggard, Conan Doyle, Burroughs, etc., and was popular in the 1920s and 1930s, but is not as well known today.

The plot concerns an advanced race called the Silent Ones which lives within the Earth's core. The scientist Dr. Wa
Rich Meyer
An interesting if dated sci-fi yarn from early in the 20th century, featuring both some proto-zombies and situations fleshed out further in the Shaver Mystery stories of the fifties. The narratiilve suffers from the early pulp problem of far too much recitative exposition, but the characters have some vim and heft to them. A fun read that might not be to everyone's taste, considering modern SF sensibilities.
Jan 26, 2014 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pulp fans, scientific illiterates
Shelves: sf, pulp
This is the story of a botanist who witnesses something strange and terrifying, tries - with the help of companions met along the way - to save the life of a friend gone missing, and ends up in a bromance for the ages. It's a fun read as a pulp adventure, provided you don't mind the completely over-the-top florid prose (see the author's quotes page for some examples). All the right stuff is here: a hidden, underground civilization; powerful artifacts of lost, ancient science; a beguiling but dev ...more
Lord Humungus
I got this book because I loved Merritt's "The People of the Pit" so much and it is one of his most popular and enduring works.

I can see how Lovecraft and others were inspired by Merritt's fevered imagination. Merritt's attempts at quantifying some of the science and physical phenomena in the story were also impressive, making this a solid example of early science fiction.

My biggest problem with the book was its inherent pulpiness. This is a given since it was written with that audience in mind.
Bill Ramsell
Mar 09, 2011 Bill Ramsell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulp
Abraham Merritt's magnum opus. Merritt was a pulp writer from early in the 20th century who suffered from a terrible ailment; he had a regular job that paid well, so his output of weird fantasy and science fiction is terribly small. This is a wonderful book. Read it. You will not be disappointed.
Mar 28, 2010 Melanti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
This has the narrative style of H.G. Wells with the atmosphere of Lovecraft.
Lovely style of writing, but a bit of a chore to get through.
I think I would have enjoyed it even more if Larry hadn't been saying darlin' every few sentences. All the pet names are rather aggravating.
Jeffrey L. Wilcox
An oldie but goodie

this is a classic example of the older novels concentrating on story, plot, and characters. Mind you, this isn't the soap opera style of character development of today, but a simpler version that doesn't crowd out the flow of the story being told. Merritt has a delicious way of describing both the scenes and the action taking place. And a number of the ideas expressed, both scientific and otherwise, this reader would have thought used by later sci fiction authors (this novel w
Fantasy Literature
Exciting and accessible to modern readers.

Reviewed by Kat and Sandy.
David B
A loose association of adventurers penetrates the lost kingdom that lies far beneath a South Pacific island, where opposing religious factions teeter on the brink of war and a being of living light threatens to conquer the surface world.

Abraham Merritt's verbose and adjective-heavy prose varies in its effectiveness. At times, he does such a good job of describing settings that they appear effortlessly in the mind's eye. This is particularly true of the first part of the novel, which is set on an
Andrew Hamblin
If you're a Lovecraft completist (and why shouldn't you be?) you've probably already read A. Merritt in "The Challenge from Beyond," which was a collaboration of HPL, Merritt, C.L. Moore, Robert E. Howard and Frank Belknap Long.

Merritt's "The Moon Pool" is a combination of two shorter stories written in 1919 and 1920. It starts with some elements that may have inspired Lovecraft himself: a scholarly protagonist; cyclopean ruins in the Pacific that are the only remnants of some forgotten pre-hum
Roddy Williams
'On the island of Ponape in the South Pacific, the cold light of a full moon washes over the crumbling ruins of an ancient, vanished civilisation. Unleashed from the depths is the Dweller, a glittering, enigmatic force of monstrous terror and radiant beauty that stalks the South pacific, claiming all in its oath. An international expedition led by American Walter Goodwin races to save those who have fallen victim to the Dweller. The dark mystery behind the malevolent force is Muria, a forgotten ...more
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Abraham Grace Merritt. Wrote under the name of A.Merritt, popular fantasy and horror writer of the teens, 20's and 30's. Family moved to Philadelphia, in 1894.He later studied law but switched to journalism. Becoming assistant editor and later editor of The American Weekly.The biggest magazine of the time.And had a fabulous salary of $100,000, during the Depression.Began writing short stories, in ...more
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