The Moon Pool (Early Classics of Science Fiction)
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The Moon Pool (Early Classics of Science Fiction)

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  411 ratings  ·  57 reviews
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 civilization. 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 path. An international expedition led by American Walter Goodwin ra...more
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Published (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
Kat  Hooper
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...more
Steve
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
Stephen
4.5 stars. Great early SF story with beautiful, evocative writing and a great story. Reads like a classic.
Henry Avila
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
Dfordoom
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...more
Evan
**spoilers**

"A sea stretched before us--a crimson sea, gleaming like the lost lacquer of royal coral and the Flame Dragon's blood which Fu S'cze set upon the bower he built for his stolen sun maiden--that going toward it she might think it the sun itself rising over the summer seas. Unmoved by wave or ripple, it was placid as some deep woodland pool when night rushes up over the world. It seemed molten--or as though some hand great enough to rock earth had distilled here from conflagrations of a...more
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...more
Brad
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
Sandy
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
El
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 my
...more
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...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...more
Mikesokolov
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
Kiran Kumar
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...more
John
Jan 26, 2014 John rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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....more
Melanti
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...more
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...more
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
Derek Davis
My memories of the A. Merritt books go way back to my older brother's collection of "Famous Fantastic Mysterious," a reprint series from the '40s of pulp works from the '10s and '20s (mostly), with illustrations by some of the greats of the era, especially Virgil Finlay.

I was a young teen, and reading The Moon Pool today, I wonder how I dealt then with the pseudo-scientific burble and what I made of the overblown explosion of adjectives (coruscating, opalescent, etc.) which includes some words...more
Christopher
What in the world did I just read? A strange tale of dwarves, gods, Irishmen, and islands written nearly 100 years ago which, as it turns out, was a leading influence in the storyline of the TV show LOST. The strength of the work lies in its writing, with all of the flourishes and verbosity so common in the post-Victorian era in which it was penned. The weakness of it, ironically, lies also in its writing. Far too many instances dragged on and on and on and on... At so many points in reading thi...more
Heather Pearson
At my book club this past weekend, we were discussing The Moon Pool by Abraham Merritt. This classic science fiction/fantasy novel was first published as two short stories in All-Story Weekly and was reworked and published as a complete novel in 1919.

Dr. David Throckmartin is traveling by boat to Melbourne, Australia in search of scientific equipment and men to accompany him on a quest. During the course of the trip he relates a fantastical story to Dr. Walter Goodwin . Upon Throckmartin's disap...more
Jimmy
The only reason I decided to read this book was because of its ties to one of my favorite tv shows, LOST. Although there are a few, and I mean very few, similarities, I certainly don't think it's enough to warrant a read. Unless you're a hardcore fan of the fantasy genre, you can go ahead and skip this.

I thought that the characters in this story were much too stereotyped. There's the scientific doctor who tries to find reason in everything, only to realize in the end that not everything has reas...more
Jaden
First I'll start saying that I've always held strong dislike
regarding anything related to science fiction. Even so, this
book was the reason I started being a little more open-minded
towards the genre.

I read The Moon Pool back in the '90's and I was shocked to find
myself hooked with it. It was impossible for me to put the book
down unless I reached the end.

The storyline itself is quite inspired and refreshing, especially
considering the fact that it was written almost a century ago.
The interweavi...more
Heather Campbell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Catfantastic
Better than I thought it would be, considering the time period. Merritt seems overfond of describing the spatial arrangement of things in terms I find really, REALLY unhelpful, but without giving away too much of the ending, I found that it went out of its way to challenge some of the contemporary ideas about race and gender--not in radical ways, but in ways that surprised me given what else I've read from the same time period. I particularly appreciated the homme fatale.
HonRevDrStainTruth
One of the foundational classics of orientalist super science sf. with lines like this, who can pass it up?

"I'm going to Melbourne, Goodwin," he answered. "I need a few things—need them urgently. And more men—white men—"


"So I stood while the Pool gleamed and sparkled; the streams of light grew more intense and the radiant Thing that held me gleamed and strengthened. Its shining cote had shape -- but a shape that my eyes and brain could not define. It was as though a being of another sphere shoul...more
Melanie
I can't believe how long this short book took me to finish.
It is actually two novellas, or one long short story and a novella. The first part of the book was great Weird fiction, while the second one ends up more like a bad "Lost World" type adventure. Merritt does have some great weird moments in the second part, and I really get a kick out of his over the top language and florid descriptions. Unfortunately those moments are separated by vast deserts of drudgery that I ended up skimming over l...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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“If you're in love, love to the limit; and if you hate, why hate like the devil and if it's a fight you're in, get where it's hottest and fight like hell - if you don't life's not worth the living.” 7 likes
“I realize, of course, that it is not true logic to argue--"The world is not as we think it is--therefore everything we think impossible is possible in it." Even if it be different, it is governed by law. The truly impossible is that which is outside law, and as nothing can be outside law, the impossible cannot exist.” 3 likes
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