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Корабль Иштар

(Planet Stories #22)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  476 ratings  ·  52 reviews
На этот раз герой, Джон Кентон, оказывается втянут в совершенно «ненаучные» приключения. Случайно открытая им в древнем камне античная модель корабля оказывается магическим артефактом и перебрасывает Кентона в странный мир вне времени и пространства, на проклятый богами корабль, где происходит нескончаемая битва сил Иштар и Нергала. Кентон оказывается единственным, кто спо ...more
Paperback, 348 pages
Published 1992 by Янус (first published 1924)
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Bill Kerwin
Apr 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

Abraham Merritt's position as editor of The American Weekly paid handsomely, giving him both the wealth and the leisure to pursue his hobbies: traveling the world, collecting rare volumes of the occult, cultivating orchids and herbs (with alleged magical properties), and writing fantasy and adventure stories for the pulps. Today his work for the Hearst publication is forgotten, but his place as a pioneer of fantasy fiction is secure. The Ship of Ishtar is perhaps the best known and best loved of
Dan Schwent
John Kenton, WWI vet and archaeologist, gets a stone block from Babylon from a friend. Unbeknownst to both, the block contains the model of golden ship. Soon, Kenton finds himself transported to the ship the model represents, sailing the seas of an alien world and taking part in the agless battle between two Babylonian gods, Ishtar and Nergal. Can he win over the priestess of Ishtar and free the ship from Nergal's influence?

The Ship of Ishtar is way ahead of its time. The style is more akin to m
Henry Avila
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yes
Recommended to Henry by: nobody
John Kenton, a wealthy archaeologist and disillusioned World War 1 veteran,(the war to end all wars) receives a stone block, with a minute ship inside, from Babylon.(Iraq for the non history buffs) This being a fantasy, he soon lands on a galley, with slaves right out of an Arabian Nights fable! The golden vessel, has cruised 60 centuries, in an endless blue sea. What a great vacation folks! A strange world ,without any sun, moon or stars. On board he meets Sharane, the beautiful high priestess ...more
Mar 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy fans, weird fiction fans
Shelves: fantasy
One of the books that turned me on to heroic fantasy fiction back in the early Seventies.

I've been a fan of Merritt's for a long time. He's little known outside a narrow field these days, but he knew how to drive a plot.

Our protagonist is "sucked" into a sculpure of a boat, finding himself part of the crew and forced to man the oars in a fantasy "Arabian Nights" setting.

That's just the start of a swashbuckling adventure worthy of a Douglas Fairbanks movie. There are sultry maidens, heroic resc
Sep 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Swords-and-sorcery fans
Shelves: fantasy, books-i-own
Abraham Merritt was every bit as much a master of lush prose as his contemporaries Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard (and, in this book at least, that isn't the only valid comparison to Howard; John Kenton has definite Conan-like qualities, and the level of sometimes gruesome violence is not for the squeamish) and had as original an imagination as either of them, which gives this novel its own distinctive quality. He also merits comparison with Burroughs in terms of the primitivism theme, for Kento ...more
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in 1924, Abraham Merritt’s The Ship of Ishtar is, on surface at least, an obvious early product of Pulp’s Golden Age. In many ways Ishtar is standard stuff, with young (and wealthy) American, John Kenton, who has an interest in things ancient. The story has little down time, as Kenton cracks open an ancient block of stone to discover a model Babylonian boat – with tiny figures on deck. Suddenly there’s a rush of wind, and in no time imagination and realty blend, with Kenton soon on the d ...more
Abraham Merritt was another pulp legend, editing and writing “weird tales” and proto-science fiction during the 1910′s and the ’30s on the pages of Argosy, All-Story, and in the case of The Ship of Ishtar, in the magazine which combined the previous two, Argosy All-Story Weekly. He even managed to have his name on his own pulp magazine for a short time before the pulp market died out. To add even more pulp street cred, the interior art pieces are the original illustrations by pulp artist grandma ...more
Apr 18, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lost-worlds
Not good, and not bad. It's really just 100 % pulp fantasy including the traditional good and bad things that go with the genre. Chracter development was inconsistent and the plot was a bit hard to follow since Merritt's treatment of human emotions and desires are both alien and exaggerated. Racism sexism and other problems from the 1920's marked the pages like pox scars. Howard, Lovecraft and Smith have some trouble with this too but I've found it within myself to forgive them since their writi ...more
Julie Davis
Julie and Scott realized Jeff didn't invite them for a normal afternoon boating trip when he showed up with a cloak, a sword, and a toy ship. Episode #174 of A Good Story is Hard to Find podcast, with special guest Jeff Miller!


This is more sword-and-sorcery than I normally enjoy but it was good! Well written, with plenty to talk about (surprisingly) from a Catholic point of view. And my library copy had some of the original illustrations of the priestess of Ishtar with doves and diaphanou
Aug 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Ship of Ishtar," one of Abraham Merritt's finest fantasies, first appeared in the pages of "Argosy" magazine in 1924. An altered version appeared in book form in 1926, and the world finally received the original work in book form in 1949, six years after Merritt's death. In this wonderful novel we meet John Kenton, an American archaeologist who has just come into possession of a miniature crystal ship recently excavated "from the sand shrouds of ages-dead Babylon." Before too long, Kenton i ...more
High fantasy, with a mediocre plot (modern man swept into a fantasy world, it has been done before), and a rather surprising ending (I must admit, I had suspected a totally different outcome).

That being said, I rather enjoyed reading this tome, for the same reason I usually enjoy this type of books: the language. It is so elaboratly descriptive, with beautiful, nowadays underused words, it gives the whole story a bit of a mystical air (like these 2 sentences found on page 163:
Kenton, climbing,
Mar 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Modern American (well, from the 20s, anyway) finds himself pulled into a mystical Ancient East that has itself been pulled out of time. There he finds a ship torn between two warring deities, crewed by slaves and home to human pawns of the godly game. Falling for a beautiful priestess, the American becomes warrior and embarks on a voyage of - adventure!

Yeah, ok. I concede the language is a refreshing balm in this one. Merritt happily writes in a lush, baroque style throughout. It is not a modern
What started as an interesting historical fantasy, ended as a very long erotic story about the desire of Kenton for Sharane. The details of atmosphere were nice, pretty accurate as it resulted from the historical research, but very boring at some point. Probably I would have enjoyed it at an earlier age, even though I do not know what to say about the love part, which was pretty explicite at some point
The pulp fantasy writer A. Merritt once had a huge following in America. Times have changed. His writing style and themes are no longer relevant to contemporary readers. His most famous novel, The Ship of Ishtar, is not a great piece of writing but may be of interest simply because it does not transcend the time it was written in.

The first half of the novel is a fairly entertaining read. An archaeologist named Kenton receives a package at his New York City home. It contains a stone box from a
Jim Dooley
THE SHIP OF ISHTAR is a pulp novel designed for fans of “Amazing Stories” and “Weird Tales.” There is a strong flavor of the Edgar Rice Burroughs fantasy novels such as the “John Carter” series, especially in the breathless action sequences and clothing descriptions that frequently leave women’s breasts uncovered.

In general, stories that dwell on the practices of mythic gods, contain flowery speeches lamenting lost lands that no human eye has ever seen, and are filled with ardent clinches whene
Jun 01, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, audio
A rich academic discovers a magical ship which is connects to a magical world of petty gods. Teleported to the ship, he is enslaved, escapes, and becomes captain. Like John Carter, the protagonist teleports to the land of magic back to his home without any control on the timing of the process. He beds the ship's beauty, frees three of his fellow slaves, and repeatedly joins battle against the numerical odds.

The first half of this book is fun and moves right along. Then it bogs down and looses al
Frank Ormond
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a story I’ve wanted to read for along time. It’s early speculative fiction, and often categorized as either sci-fi or fantasy, but after reading it I can say it’s definitely a fantasy story. The story is more of an adventure tale than anything, which makes sense given the state of publishing back then.

Full review available here:
John Peel
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've always enjoyed A. Merritt's stories, and this is probably his very best. A modern day adventurer is snatched out of time and finds himself a slave chained to the oars of a cursed ship, sailing an endless sea. But he is determined to become master of the ship and to win the love of the beautiful priestess of Ishtar. Fun, exciting and atmospheric, it's hard to find a better fantasy tale. Highly recommended. ...more
Benjamin Fasching-Gray
Mostly thrilling sword and sorcery orientalist pulp, occasional squinting at the edge of more serious questions. 1920s white male outlook, but warrior “maidens” and no overt misogyny allowed me to swallow the otherwise toxic gender roles. Also goddesses of love and wrath are always welcome. Slavery in the fantasy world and servants in the ordinary world... our hero has no qualms with being “master of the ship.” The knockout ending had me saying “no!” and “what?” That was unexpected.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It was really interesting to read a fantasy which was written before Tolkien. I also liked the unique influences it had. In my opinion the main character was not that likable, but all in all it was a good read with a really depressing ending.
Richard Pierce
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I guess this was quite advanced for its time. I found some of it overwrought which Merritt fans will see as blasphemy. It proves writing and reading are subjective.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. Reread after many years. I still like it a lot
Great book to read if you are bored, kind of a basic “fairytale” but original in it’s own way, not amazing but the ending wasn’t expected
Mar 26, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The overwrought and lurid voice of pulp by way of Haggard and Burroughs, we get a portal fantasy involving Akkadian gods of life and death vying for supremacy.
Charles Winters
Apr 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolute mind blowing book you'll never forget, but like most Merritt's hard to get through, feels like you need to read it twice to understand it. ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Apr 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Pulp Fiction
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: A Reader's Guide to Fantasy: Seven-League Shelf
This book was on the "Seven-League Shelf"--a list of the "cream" of fantasy literature in A Reader's Guide to Fantasy. Originally published in 1924, the style feels antique, and the romance beyond antiquated. That style... well, we're definitely talking about the color purple--mind you, that sometimes has its beauties. The hero, John Kenton, a veteran of the first world war, is transported to a ship divided into two warring factions each representing a Babylonian God--Ishtar, Goddess of Love, an ...more
Mark Moreland
Jan 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, and loved the myriad details that obviously spawned now classical elements of the fantasy genre.

It took about a third of the book before I couldn't put it down, the shifting of the protagonist from the real world to that of the ship far too frequent for the adventure to grip me. But when it did, I was hooked, and finished the book in a single sitting from that point on.

My only real criticism of The Ship of Ishtar is that it is built around an antiquated misogyny that
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So. If this wasn't this sexist, racist and the love story wasn't so effin disgusting for most of the book, it really would've been a 4 star.
Jon Kenton gets a block of cement from his archaeologist friend, who needs some help deciphering the old mesopotamian writings on that block.
And guess what. The block contained a magic miniature ship, which transports Kenton on the actual magical kinda-suspended-in-time ship.
The first time he goes on the ship is weird, but the second(or third, I forgot) tim
Pam Baddeley
May 26, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Read this some years ago and wasn't very interested. It is a probably fairly typical example of a particular kind of pulp fiction: mightly hewed Vikings, beautiful compliant women, trusty sidekick of a non Caucasian extraction. People are on ships, they are different groups and the groups are backed by different gods, including Ishtar. There's fighting, and the hero is a slave part of the time. That's all I remember, but I do know I wasn't very keen and there are other books by Merritt that I fa ...more
Aaron Meyer
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
What a great story this was. You have all the elements of a good story here: love, hate, action, comradeship, tragedy. Even though this story deals with many absolutes there is much that seems to lie beneath, just tugging at you, seeping into your unconscious. This edition from Piazo Publishing is very nice. The artwork is incredible inside and truly adds to the story immensely. I will surely be coming back to this story again.
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Abraham Grace Merritt, wrote under the name of A. Merritt, born in New Jersey moved as a child to Philadelphia, Pa. in 1894, began studying law and than switched to journalism. Later a very popular writer starting in 1919 of the teens, twenties and thirties, horror and fantasy genres. King of the purple prose, most famous The Moon Pool, a south seas lost island civilization, hidden underground and ...more

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