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The Yellow Sign & Other Stories

(Call of Cthulhu Fiction)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,029 ratings  ·  50 reviews
This massive collection brings together the entire body of Robert W. Chambers' weird fiction works including material unprinted since the 1890's. Chambers is a landmark author in the field of horror literature because of his King in Yellow collection. That book represents but a small portion of his weird fiction work, and these stories are intimately connected with the Cth ...more
Paperback, 668 pages
Published August 1st 2000 by Chaosium (first published 1895)
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,029 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Jun 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Weird fiction/classic horror short story readers
Recommended to Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) by: Classic Horror Lovers group read
This story has me thinking and wondering. It starts out as one thing, and then turns into something else.

What I liked:

*The creepy guy that made everyone think of something dead or like a gross worm or something. It made me laugh, but also made me shiver.
*The narrator's sweet relationship with his artist model. How it meant more to him than could admit, because he felt he was not a good man, and because of his lost true love.
*The imagery of the story, filled with symbolism that I will ponder and
J.G. Keely
To me, there has always been something lacking in Lovecraft, something which makes it difficult for me to connect with his stories directly, personally. In reading Chambers, I found a distinct human element which Lovecraft cannot seem to approach.

Lovecraft's alien horror is often a bit too alien--even his 'everyday' protagonists tend to be rather odd, even unsympathetic. But then Lovecraft was a lifelong loner and shut-in, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that his tales owe less to the foibl
Althea Ann
Very similar in theme to Chambers' other short story, 'In the Court of the Dragon,' which precedes this one in the collection, The King in Yellow.'

Here, a bohemian artist senses malevolence from the figure of the night watchman of the churchyard outside his window. It seems to him, the man looks almost like a corpse himself. He attempts to dismiss his irrational fears, but they only seem to be compounded with the strange and morbid dreams his favorite model has been having, and disturbing tales
Nancy Oakes
Sep 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: weird
3.75 stars, rounded up to a 4.

definitely a keeper!

The other night I picked up Joseph Pulver's A Season in Carcosa, read the intro and then realized I'd never read The King In Yellow, so I probably needed to hold off for a bit. When I finished The Yellow Sign and Other Stories, I realized that Chambers had borrowed Carcosa from Ambrose Bierce's short story "An Inhabitant of Carcosa" so I guess I have to go grab The Heritage of Hastur to read that one. Lucky for me, I own a LOT of Chaosium volumes
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror, horse-piss
With the Yellow Sign alone I was more than prepared to give this 5 stars but the rest of this book with the exception of two or three other stories are utter CRAP!
The cave girl story is not amusing. "Lets rope in a professor and tell him they are cave girls." Little does he know they are really actresses.

But we shall let it pass as professor Smith continually states... AHEM! inbetween small hands, blue eyes, beautiful woman, small waist, etc.
Julie Davis
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up free from Librivox to listen to The Yellow Sign and The Repairer of Reputations, preparatory to listening to the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast discussion of these stories. Imagine my amazement at how detailed, deep, and surprising these stories are. The common thread of the book that links at least some of the stories is that the play The King in Yellow causes madness to anyone who reads it; certainly to anyone who reads that fatal second act (of which it is said that no one e ...more
Mauricio Simões
“Não leia este livro!”

Essa frase é incansavelmente repetida por alguns dos personagens das histórias presentes em “O Símbolo Amarelo e Outros Contos”. Eles leram o livro fictício (o roteiro de uma peça de teatro) “O Rei de Amarelo” ficaram loucos. E as atitudes advindas dessa loucura (misteriosa e inexplicável) são ingredientes para contos de terror cósmico que inspiraram ninguém menos que H. P. Lovecraft, por exemplo. Escrito por Robert W. Chambers, o livro homônimo traz 10 contos, sendo os 4 p
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The ancient city of Carcosa first appeared in Ambrose Bierce's short story "An Inhabitant of Carcosa." Thanks to the Cthulhu Mythos, however, most horror fans know of it as the setting for an imaginary play called The King in Yellow, which drives its readers mad and is connected somehow to a supernatural entity of the same name. There is also a symbol known as the "Yellow Sign," which leaves the viewer susceptible to some sort of mind control. According to the works of H.P. Lovecraft's successor ...more
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A truly eerie story. Highly recommended to people interested in subtle horror, especially fans of Lovecraftian horror, who I'm sure will love this.
Charles Dee Mitchell
Robert W. Chambers was a successful magazine illustrator who turned to fiction writing. There is no clear reason known for the switch, other than writing came easily for him and paid better than illustration. H.P Lovecraft, although an admirer of Chambers’ fiction, grouped him among those who are “…equipped with the right brains and education, but wholly out of the habit of using them.” He wrote around eighty now forgotten romantic novels, interspersed with exercises in short supernatural fictio ...more
Oct 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Chambers' writing can be dreadful - and I have little doubt that two-thirds of this anthology is unreadable rhodamine rubbish - but The King in Yellow makes it all worth it. Love the stories that make it up, love the entire idea behind it, love the image of Lost Carcosa where there are strange moons and black stars; and, most of all, love the malevolent organist's stare of hatred at the beginning of In the Court of the Dragon, a scene that has stayed with me from the first moment that I read it.
Meliae Sybella
Mar 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the Maker of Moons and The Demoiselle D'Ys. There were some pretty decent stories in the king in yellow. The reoccurring theme of the main character falling in love with a woman and then loosing her to the other male character in the story got a bit tiring.
Sean Hopp
Sep 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining pre-Lovecraftian tales of horror and intrigue...
Dirck de Lint
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This is an odd reading experience. Those coming at it because of an interest in weird fiction will enjoy the front end a lot more than the back; the writing isn't any worse, but the weirdness declines.
The King in Yellow set is great and deserve all the praises it got. The other stories in the collection felt a bit lacking, I may have to return to this collection sometime in the future.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Read as a stand alone, might be better in the full volume of The Yellow King.
Christopher Sutch
Nov 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Much as I hate to agree with S. T. Joshi (the editor of this volume, and an unbearably snobbish critic, one of those who give literary critics a bad name), his assessment of Chambers's writing, expressed in Joshi's introduction, is essentially accurate. Chambers's early works and a single later work (represented in this volume by the half dozen stories from _The King in Yellow_, another half dozen from _The Mystery of Choice_, and the title tale from _The Tree of Heaven_) are brilliant, both art ...more
Sep 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: flat-capped
"The Yellow Sign" is a short story by American writer Robert W. Chambers, published in the novel “The King in Yellow”. The collected story’s which I now am determined to read follow a connected theme of a forbidden play “The King in Yellow” which induces despair in those who read it causing them to go insane. I have been reading a lot of H.P . Lovecraft lately and as The King in Yellow was deeply admired by Lovecraft and said to be one of the most important works of American supernatural fiction ...more
Alexander Williams
The Yellow Sign is classic para-Cthulhu Mythos content. Focusing on a non-extant piece of literature/play, "The King in Yellow," the stories and poems in The Yellow Sign revolve around those who have read the play or been exposed to it. While none of the classic Cthulhu Mythos entities make an appearance – save for Hastur whose implicit inhabitation of Caracosa on the Lake of Hali is a recurrent callback – the mood is sufficiently brooding and the content sufficiently dark to put Chambers in his ...more
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cosmic-horror, horror
I kept hearing about this TV show 'True Detective' that featured 'The King in Yellow', and while I still have not watched the show, I was inspired to re-read the stories by Robert Chambers. They are great, and I think I enjoyed them more having read them 10 some odd years after my first encounter with them.

In 'The Repairer of Reputions', I especially liked the misshapen hyper-intelligent dwarf who is at war with his cat, and the government sponsored suicide chambers set in what to Chambers was
João Batista
Oct 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Collection of weird stories, really weird in this case... not in the same sense of Lovecraft's, but because Chambers had some potential to write good, interesting stories /novels and what he did in this collection was not what I had expected.
When I first heard of him, it was in a book by Lovecraft. Of course I thought: "Oh, Lovecraft used to read this guy, so, let's give it a try..." I had especially expected The King in Yellow to be the best story here... in fact, that may be so, as they're not
Este libro fue rarisimo. Realmente no soy muy fan del horror clásico como Lovecraft o Poe (lo sé, maldiganme), así que creo que esta es la razón principal por la que no apreció tanto esta historia. Supongo que tiene que ver con que los sucesos desconocidos ocurren repentinamente sin que sepas como y cuando, porque de repente ya están allí, acechándote. Pero tal parece que en esta historia pudieras decir que ese algo ya venia por ti, pero por alguna razón escogiste no hacer nada. O tal vez ni siq ...more
Coeruleo Luna
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
this book is as thick as 3 other chaosium books. has ALL the weird stuff from chambers. really classic weird fiction, stuff that inspired hp lovecraft with some of his own stories. collects much more than just the original 'the king in yellow' stories with mentions of hastur, my favorites aside from those are stories from 'in search of the unknown' and 'police!!!" which are well told short stories involving various weird fauna in remote areas of the new world and the fates that befall those who ...more
Apr 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
This author was mentioned in a review of some Lovecraft book on some other website, so I picked it up out of curiosity. Well, I can see why Lovecraft fans would like this guy, but most of the stories in this anthology just did not do it for me. There were a couple of chilling reads here and there, most notably the title story which is very disturbing indeed. But overall, I felt like I was reading one of the hundreds of lesser authors who wrote around the same time as Lovecraft yet were nowhere n ...more
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I like the way the first block of stories reference the fact that reading the King in Yellow drives people mad. And what is the title of those stories? The King in Yellow.
I bet the author thought himself a ladies man and yet someone else always gets the girl. Seems to happen to his main character all the time.
Each collection of stories definitely have a theme, some more loosely than others. Mostly creepy known ghosts and monsters. Only a couple try for a fantastical creature that to me meant Lov
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
While not every story in this collection of smaller volumes is fantastic, all of them contain elements of greatness and the truly wonderful ones contain great moments of oddity and old-school horror. If you haven't heard of Robert Chambers, he fits somewhere between Poe and Lovecraft with a slightly more romantic bent (some of his novels, not included here, were indeed romances). Also, if you were wondering all about that Yellow King and Carcossa stuff mentioned in Season 1 of "True Detective", ...more
Carlos Ruiz Santiago
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Una de las mejores cosas que me he leido nunca. Ambientar bien y rápido, crear en muy poco tiempo un par de personajes interesantes y con los que llegas a empatizar gracias a rebajar el tono de terror en ciertas partes, un mal terrible e innombrable que poco a poco se extiende hasta la terrible revelación final. Una obra de terror lovecraftiano redonda con personajazos y una historia tan sutil y a la vez tan terrorifica. Finalazo.
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Excellent post-Poe, pre-Lovecraft "weird" fiction. Impeccably original with a writing style that leans towards the classicist side of the spectrum, but is definitely not too heady for pulp-heads. The madness in "The Repairer of Reputations" and "The Yellow Sign" will stay with you for quite some time. Highly recommended if you like late 19th Century/early 20th Century horror.
Ben Arzate
Nov 12, 2015 rated it liked it

Overall, if you're already a fan of Chambers, this might be worth getting. Otherwise, just pick up The King in Yellow and In Search of the Unknown on their own. I know that's what I'll be doing.
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kept, tossed, ebook
"Have you seen the Yellow Sign?" A creepy church caretaker creeps out an artist and his model apparently to somehow involve a strange ritual involving possibly burying the artist alive. Creepy story. Creepy.
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Robert William Chambers was an American artist and writer.

Chambers 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 ear

Other books in the series

Call of Cthulhu Fiction (1 - 10 of 23 books)
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  • The Shub-Niggurath Cycle: Tales of the Black Goat with a Thousand Young (Call of Cthulhu Fiction)
  • The Encyclopedia Cthulhiana: A Guide to Lovecraftian Horror
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  • The Dunwich Cycle: Where the Old Gods Wait (Call of Cthulhu Fiction)
  • The Cthulhu Cycle: Thirteen Tentacles of Terror
  • The Necronomicon: Selected Stories and Essays Concerning the Blasphemous Tome of the Mad Arab
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“It is well known how the book spread like an infectious disease, from city to city, from continent to continent, barred out here, confiscated there, denounced by press and pulpit, censured even by the most advanced of literary anarchists. No definite principles had been violated in those wicked pages, no doctrine promulgated, no convictions outraged. It could not be judged by any known standard, yet, although it was acknowledged that the supreme note of art had been struck in "The King in Yellow," all felt that human nature could not bear the strain nor thrive on words in which the essence of purest poison lurked. The very banality and innocence of the first act only allowed the blow to fall afterwards with more awful effect.” 7 likes
“Then, as I fell, I heard Tessie's soft cry and her spirit fled: and even while falling I longed to follow her, for I knew that the King in Yellow had opened his tattered mantle and there was only God to cry to now.” 1 likes
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