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The King in Yellow

3.57  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,118 Ratings  ·  976 Reviews
The central cycle of macabre stories, set in a then-future 1920's Paris and America, center on a fictitious play "The King in Yellow" the reading of which drives one mad. The color yellow was an evocative element of the decadent movement-typified by the notorious literary journal The Yellow Book and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story "The Yellow Wallpaper." Chambers wo ...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published January 15th 2010 by Rebel Satori Press (first published 1895)
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Rory If anything it seems more that True Detective was inspired by this (with it's supernatural undertones).

However if you do want to read something in…more
If anything it seems more that True Detective was inspired by this (with it's supernatural undertones).

However if you do want to read something in similar fashion to that I would seriously recommend 'Galveston' as it's written by Nic Pizzolatto, the show's creator.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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mark monday
I am compelled to honor the great HBO show True Detective by floating this review. King in Yellow! King in Yellow!

ƸӁƷ

5 Stars for the wonderful opening story "The Repairer of Reputations".

although i wonder if 'wonderful' is the correct word. after all, this is a story that opens with a bizarre, sometimes dire alterna-history leading up to a 1920s America where on-lookers gather to contemplate terminally dispirited disportment within suicide-abetting "Lethal Chambers." and after this bit of surpr
...more
Evgeny
May 21, 2015 Evgeny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Evgeny by: Althea Ann
Shelves: horror
This is a collection of short stories from an American writer who is not widely known these days. He is also credited with having influenced some horror writers including H.P. Lovecraft.
The King in Yellow
This collection mentions horror in its title; this is misleading as only first four stories can be qualified for this genre. Some blurbs mention the stores have common theme of fictional book The King in Yellow present in them (think about it as a small and much less harmful version of Lovecraft's Necronomicon);
...more
Charlene
Feb 23, 2014 Charlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished reading The King In Yellow and I'm feeling pretty good about myself. I feel satisfied that I've finally read this horror classic and I feel somewhat enlightened about the HBO show True Detective.

The KiY consists of a total of 8 stories. 4 horror, 1 ghost, 1 war and two romance-y type tales. The horror tales were my favorites of the collection, most especially "The Repairer of Reputations". These shorts were loosely connected by a play in book form titled The King in Yellow. Anyone who
...more
Jadranka
Dec 09, 2014 Jadranka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Čejmbersova zbirka priča "Kralj u žutom" doživela je drugu mladost zbog emitovanja popularne HBO serije "True Detective". Seriju sam pratila, ali ne mogu da kažem da li je bolja serija ili knjiga, pre svega jer je reč o potpuno različitim proizvodima, a drugo jer se ne može reći da je serija ekranizacija Čejmbersovih priča i ideja, već pre da je poslužila možda kao inspiracija scenaristi serije koji je od Čejmbersa "pozajmio" par motiva.
Zbirku "Kralj u žutom" čini 10 priča, i kao i na većinu dru
...more
Althea Ann
May 18, 2015 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
- The Repairer of Reputations
A re-read.
This story is wonderfully weird - and disturbing on several levels.
Set in a future 1920, the world has made several steps toward peace and stability. (I'm not sure I like them, and I'm also not so sure the author does, either.) The introductory segment drags on a bit, reminding me a bit in style of Edward Bellamy's 'Looking Backward' (1888). Then, the story really starts...
Our narrator lets us know that after a fall from a horse, he was unjustly confined t
...more
Jean-marcel
Apr 24, 2012 Jean-marcel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can art drive a person insane? Could there be a book, or a film, or a piece of music that vibrates against the cortext in a certain way, or opens great gulfs of revelation so profound and so shattering that you could never be exposed to it without being changed forever? If the truth of such a piece got out, wouldn't anyone and everyone want to be exposed to it, scoffing and thinking that they, above all else, would be well equipped to handle any dangers, and yet feeling inescapably drawn to find ...more
Ademption
Just read Ambrose Bierce's "An Inhabitant of Carcosa" instead. Really. Read it. It is brief, timeless, and creepy; three things Robert Chambers tries too hard for in The King in Yellow. The King is Yellow is gimmicky copycat weirdness.

The King in Yellow is a sub-collection of the first five stories of this book. The five short stories have a mythology and structure taken from Bierce's short story. Chambers' stories also share slight interconnections beyond the concepts of Carcosa, Hali, and the
...more
Amy (Other Amy)
Along the shore the cloud waves break,
The twin suns sink beneath the lake,
The shadows lengthen
In Carcosa.

Strange is the night where black stars rise,
And strange moons circle through the skies
But stranger still is
Lost Carcosa.

Songs that the Hyades shall sing,
Where flap the tatters of the King,
Must die unheard in
Dim Carcosa.

Song of my soul, my voice is dead;
Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed
Shall dry and die in
Lost Carcosa.

Cassilda's Song in "The King in Yellow," Act I, Scene 2


(I probably shouldn't
...more
Mark McLaughlin
Jun 13, 2015 Mark McLaughlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The stories in THE KING IN YELLOW are beautiful and wicked, and are required reading for true horror enthusiasts. THE KING IN YELLOW is also the title of a book within this book: in these stories, anyone who reads the fictional book of the same name goes mad. This concept is what inspired H.P. Lovecraft to come up with the concept of the NECRONOMICON -- a book that drives the reader insane.

The stories are in this collection are told in a somewhat leisurely fashion, but stick with them. They're
...more
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
This is a hard book to give a rating.

There are more things that made me wanna stop the book than to continue. But I stand firm and continue my path unfortunally the last two stories were too much for me. I read and skipped several paragraphs at time because it was too damn boring without any purpose or interest. But there are some cool stories.

First of all, if you would like to try reading Robert W Chambers start with the first four short stories/novellas. These are the beginning of Weird Fictio
...more
Alex
Feb 26, 2016 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, rth-lifetime
Camilla: You, sir, should unmask.
Stranger: Indeed?
Cassilda: Indeed it's time. We have all laid aside disguise but you.
Stranger: I wear no mask.
Camilla: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No mask? No mask!
- The King In Yellow


I came to this by way of the HBO show True Detective, which is pretty cool although not anywhere near as clever as it thinks it is, and which features references to the Yellow King and to a ruined city called Carcosa. Robert Chambers was the first guy to write about the Yellow K
...more
Oscar
‘El Rey de Amarillo. Relatos macabros y terroríficos’ es una recopilación que recoge cuentos de tres libros de Robert W. Chambers (The King in Yellow, The Maker of Moons y The Mystery of Choice), siendo los pertenecientes a ‘El Rey de Amarillo’ los mejores. Estos fueron precursores del llamado horror cósmico y los Mitos de Cthulhu, e influyeron en parte en la obra de H.P. Lovecraft. Si los personajes de Lovecraft enloquecen al leer el Necronomicón, los de Chambers lo hacen al adentrarse en las p ...more
Joseph
Jun 19, 2014 Joseph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's something ... disquieting about reading a science fiction story written in the late 1890s and set in the fabulous future of 1920.

This was a bit of an odd one -- a short story collection, but the stories themselves were two disparate halves kind of welded together. The stories in the first section (for which the book is best known) were fabulous (in the literal sense of the word), to one degree or another, including the aforementioned SF story ("The Repairer of Reputations"), "The Yellow
...more
Rick Soper
Mar 11, 2014 Rick Soper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because I saw an article that mentioned it as a source material for the HBO series True Detective. And yes there are parts that might have been pulled from this book, but they aren't the only source for the show. I found this book pretty interesting from a historical perspective because it was very influential to many horror authors who came afterwards, very specifically HP Lovecraft. Now I've always loved HP Lovecraft and i could see where he might have found inspiration in The ...more
Ctgt
Oct 11, 2014 Ctgt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: weird
This was an odd collection. My version contained 10 stories of which only 5 had some correlation to The King in Yellow. I could find no relevance to this theme in the remaining five stories. I went into the book figuring all the stories would have some tie to the main concept but I suppose that was my own fault for presuming. The interesting part about this idea of The King in Yellow is that those who read the book become madmen but you, the reader, never find out exactly what this book/play con ...more
El
In 1986 Robert Chambers killed a young woman in Central Park in New York. The media called Chambers the Preppie Killer.

This Robert W. Chambers is not the same guy. Robert W. Chambers died in 1933 and, as far as I know, didn't kill anyone. Just so we're clear on that.

The first four stories or so in this collection are loosely related, in that there's this connecting theme of a fictional drama called The King in Yellow. Those who get their paws on it and read it wind up going crazy. These stories
...more
أحمد
May 17, 2015 أحمد rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
بحثت عن هذه المجموعة القصصية بعدما شاهدت المسلسل الرائع "ترو ديتيكتيف" الذي تكررت الإشارات فيه من بعيد إلى هذا الكتاب. الكتاب يتضمن مجموعة من القصص لا رابط بينها سوى تكرار ذكر كتاب مشئوم يدفع بقرائه إلى الجنون أو ما هو أسوأ! يظهر الكتاب ويختفي ولا نعرف عنه إلا أقل القليل. هذا القليل الذي دفع أسماء كبيرة بعد ذلك، على رأسهم لافكرافت نفسه، إلى تبني الملك، هاستور، وعلامته الصفراء الرهيبة، وأطلال كاركوسا القديمة، في أعمالهم. يقول لافكرافت عن هذا الكتاب: لقد بلغ المؤلف فيه آفاقا غير مسبوقة في الرعب ال ...more
Printable Tire
Jan 06, 2011 Printable Tire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of many books I've purchased because the cover is cool and I've never heard of it or the author before. I read it concurrently with The Sketchbook of Washington Irving, which turned out to be a very appropriate pairing. From the Introduction (which I would recommend reading afterwards, as the stuffy though astute editor might turn you off from the ensuing book) I gleam that Chambers was one of a million forgettable, forgotten writers of copious crap in an olden age nobody really know ...more
Nate D
A classic of proto-weird, bearing all the marks of decadent era during which it was conceived (ie 1895; Chambers was likely exposed to the currents of fin-de-siecle writing when studying in Paris a couple years before), at turns uncanny and voluptuous. Borrows some names from Ambrose Bierce, lends some themes, much later, to H.P. Lovecraft. Opening story The Repairer of Reputations is justifiably the most noted here for its projected dystopian 1920s, creeping unease, and rather spectacularly unr ...more
Randolph Carter
Outside of Poe and Lovecraft, "The Yellow Sign" may be the most influential horror story ever written. It is the bridge between Gothic, Decadent, and Modern in horror. Unfortunately Chambers killed a lot of other trees. One of the most popular authors of his time, he is almost forgotten except for the slim little volume known as "The King In Yellow." He wrote mainly unreadable sappy romances and unadventurous adventures. Lovecraft agonized over Chamber's wastage of his talent.

The Yellow Sign is
...more
Mattia Ravasi
Jun 27, 2015 Mattia Ravasi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(I'm guessing this is the same collection I've read)

The Restorer of Reputations (or whatever) is a great and fascinating horror story with a nice twist and a good amount of atmosphere to it, but the rest of it is far from horror. That said it's all fairly amazing, except for a severe lack of good and snappy endings, but it doesn't reach the levels of other masters of the genre (HP above all of course). The best stories are actually the love ones, with the very last one being particuarly touching
...more
Kimberly
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Đorđe Bajić
Jan 24, 2015 Đorđe Bajić rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kralj u žutom (1895), prave poslastice za sve one koji vole prozu natopljenu stravom; prve knjige u izdanju smederevskog Gavrana. Zahvaljujući ovoj zbirci (ili, preciznije, njenoj prvoj polovini), Čejmbers može, pa makar i delimično, da parira klasicima žanra poput Poa, Hofmana i Lavkrafta. Ovaj izuzetno plodan pisac je napisao na desetine dela, uglavnom petparačkih ljubavnih romana, ali njegovo najpoznatije i umetnički najvrednije delo je upravo Kralj u žutom, zbirka koja je nastala gotovo na s ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I read this short volume of "interrelated" stories some time ago, but wanted to go over it again before I rated or reviewed it. The "book" is built around the existence of a fictional play, "The King in Yellow". In the opening story, The Repairer of Reputations" (which can be seen not only as horror but also as a sort of alternate history, though in it's own time of writing it was placed 25 years in the future), we are told that the book is universally reviled, condemned, and censored. It "appar ...more
R.
Apr 12, 2014 R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Non-text note: This particular Ace paperback edition of The King in Yellow contains an ancestor of the online pop-up ad: the cardstock paper cigarette advert embedded into the binding approx. midway, for True and Newport cigarettes. True: slashes tar in half and a taste worth smoking! (illustrated with a Sesame Street-ish big white No. 5 sitting proudly atop the phrase "mgs. of tar") ... Newport: Alive with Pleasure! (the concept of "pleasure" illustrated as a mustachio'd Bo Duke looking dude tr ...more
Kirstin
May 19, 2015 Kirstin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Repairer of Reputations 5 stars- Excellent story!
The Mask 4 stars-Brought to mind a Twilight Zone episode
In the Court of the Dragon. 3 stars- Didn't really make an impression on me
The Yellow Sign 5 stars- Loved this one!
The Demoiselle d'Ys 4 stars- Enjoyable read
The Prophets' Paradise 1 star- Can't say I liked these short snippets of conversations
The Street of the Four Winds 4 stars- Really liked this one!
I didn't finish the other 3
Joe
Oct 29, 2014 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The King In Yellow by Robert W. Chambers is a Classic collection of ten short stories with a creepy supernatural feel and a book within a book.

The first five stories all have one recurring item linking them together; a old and twisted book that seems to have incredibly disturbing and damaging effects on all who read it. This book's title is of course ‘The King In Yellow’. All these five stories worked really well, both on their own and together. Having this weird and inhuman book affecting all d
...more
Hugo Emanuel
Jun 17, 2014 Hugo Emanuel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
A maioria dos leitores, após lerem consecutivamente uma ou várias obras de literatura intelectualmente exigentes e exaustivas, tendem a procurar literatura mais ligeira para recuperar da "ressaca intelectual" que tais obras deixam por vezes no leitor. Os géneros literários a que recorrem nestas ocasiões são habitualmente os policiais e livros de romance ligeiros. Embora também recorra ao ocasional policial para o efeito, os meus livros de "descompressão intelectual" são habitualmente obras de te ...more
Mike
Jul 26, 2013 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone

The King in Yellow and Other Horror Stories is a collection drawn from four books of short stories: The King in Yellow (1895), The Maker of Moons (1896), The Mystery of Choice (1897), and In Search of the Unknown (1904). These twelve stories are certainly dated and might not be counted among the best short fiction ever written, but they all have their moments. There is an excellent Introduction which tells the reader about Robert Chambers and each of the tales.

While there may be flaws in the sto
...more
Jason Pettus
Mar 03, 2014 Jason Pettus rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
FTC DISCLOSURE: I am the publisher of this book.

Are you a fan of the hit HBO show "True Detective?" I sure am! And after finally checking out the real 1895 horror collection that this show's Satanic mythos is based around, Robert W. Chambers' 1895 "The King in Yellow," and especially after being disappointed at all the crappy, sloppily done editions currently for sale at Amazon, I decided that my arts center could do better; and thus volume one of our new "CCLaP Victoriana" series, in which we p
...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
On Paths Unknown: KIY first 4 stories - BIG SPOILER thread 33 16 Nov 15, 2015 06:23AM  
On Paths Unknown: KIY Part 4: The Yellow Sign 13 9 Nov 13, 2015 01:08PM  
On Paths Unknown: Part 3: In the Court of the Dragon 22 11 Nov 13, 2015 05:29AM  
On Paths Unknown: Part 2 : The Mask 23 9 Nov 12, 2015 09:07AM  
On Paths Unknown: Part 1: The Repairer of Reputations 54 17 Nov 05, 2015 12:26PM  
On Paths Unknown: Where it all started: The King in Yellow 37 20 Nov 02, 2015 12:42PM  
On Paths Unknown: Part 5 The Demoiselle d'Ys 1 4 Oct 31, 2015 02:34PM  
  • A Rendezvous in Averoigne
  • Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories
  • The Three Impostors and Other Stories
  • The Imago Sequence and Other Stories
  • More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary
  • Noctuary
  • The Hastur Cycle
  • Ghost and Horror Stories
  • The Wine-Dark Sea
  • Dark Gods
  • The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana: A Guide to Lovecraftian Horror
  • Cold Print
  • The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies
  • A Season in Carcosa
  • Widdershins
  • The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig'
  • Mysteries of the Worm: Twenty Cthulhu Mythos Tales by Robert Bloch (Call of Cthulhu Fiction)
57739
Robert William Chambers was an American artist and writer.

Robert was first educated at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute,and then entered the Art Students' League at around the age of twenty, where the artist Charles Dana Gibson was his fellow student. Chambers studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, and at Académie Julian, in Paris from 1886 to 1893, and his work was displayed at the Salon as early
...more
More about Robert W. Chambers...

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“This is the thing that troubles me, for I cannot forget Carcosa where black stars hang in the heavens; where the shadows of men's thoughts lengthen in the afternoon, when the twin suns sink into the lake of Hali; and my mind will bear for ever the memory of the Pallid Mask. I pray God will curse the writer, as the writer has cursed the world with its beautiful stupendous creation, terrible in its simplicity, irresistible in its truth--a world which now trembles before the King In Yellow.” 21 likes
“Ah," she said, "to come is easy and takes hours; to go is different—and may take centuries.” 19 likes
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