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The Purple Cloud by [Shiel, M. P. (Matthew Phipps)]
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The Purple Cloud Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Length: 232 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Fantastic, weird, macabre ... It is imaginative, fascinating, convincing, as some dreadful nightmare... A remarkable piece of work, ... head and shoulders above the average tale of fantastic adventure."--The New York Times Book Review "Students of early science fiction will welcome the University of Nebraska's Press series Bison Frontiers of the Imagination. This imprint has so far brought back into print sixteen texts from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including works by authors ranging from the well-known Jack London to the more obscure Mary E. Bradley Lane and J.D. Beresford. The publishers should certainly be congratulated in bringing The Purple Cloud by M. P. Shiel back to public attention once more. They have chosen to reprint the authors' own final expanded version ... The 1929 version is vintage Shiel; the lush prose complements the epic theme and the grandiose and insane posturings of the pyromaniac protagonist. Shiel was the most eloquent of the immediate successors to H. G. Wells, and even fans of The Last Man by Mary Shelley might admit that Shiel's account of the journeyings of the last man through a dead world is one of the most impressive treatments of this theme."--TLS, December 29, 2000 "A reprint of a lost classic, Shiel's purple cloud kills everyone except Adam Jeffers, isolated, and getting more insane as he wanders the barren earth. The question of whether man deserves to survive has never been more poignantly poised." --Western Mail Saturday Magazine 16 June 2007

Review

"Fantastic, weird, macabre ... It is imaginative, fascinating, convincing, as some dreadful nightmare... A remarkable piece of work, ... head and shoulders above the average tale of fantastic adventure."--The New York Times Book Review "Students of early science fiction will welcome the University of Nebraska's Press series Bison Frontiers of the Imagination. This imprint has so far brought back into print sixteen texts from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including works by authors ranging from the well-known Jack London to the more obscure Mary E. Bradley Lane and J.D. Beresford. The publishers should certainly be congratulated in bringing The Purple Cloud by M. P. Shiel back to public attention once more. They have chosen to reprint the authors' own final expanded version ... The 1929 version is vintage Shiel; the lush prose complements the epic theme and the grandiose and insane posturings of the pyromaniac protagonist. Shiel was the most eloquent of the immediate successors to H. G. Wells, and even fans of The Last Man by Mary Shelley might admit that Shiel's account of the journeyings of the last man through a dead world is one of the most impressive treatments of this theme."--TLS, December 29, 2000 "A reprint of a lost classic, Shiel's purple cloud kills everyone except Adam Jeffers, isolated, and getting more insane as he wanders the barren earth. The question of whether man deserves to survive has never been more poignantly poised."--Western Mail Saturday Magazine 16 June 2007

Product Details

  • File Size: 673 KB
  • Print Length: 232 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1449526241
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: May 12, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0082V6ABM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,935 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I call The Purple Cloud a fantastic fossil because that's what it is. That is not a criticism. I gave it 5 stars. It's simply that the fact it was written in 1911 shows -- both good and bad. Some of the science is off the wall, but I assume accurate for the day. The novel has a fantastic, hypnotic beginning set in the arctic. Like the jungle of Tarzan (written, I think, about the same time), this arctic landscape never existed, but it's a fantastic place of torment for the hero. Why is this book worth reading? The writing is hyptnotic. They don't write like that anymore. Dense, lush with an incredible poetic language, we follow the hero's solitary wanderings across an empty earth. This is a story of the last man on earth. This is a fossil, an archetype for all the later stories about the last man left alive on earth. A purple cloud came by and killed all while the hero was racing to the North Pole. What carries you along is the hero's interior as he undergoes one slow painful change within himself after another as he searches for another survivor, Does he find anyone? That's for the reader to learn. When you see the movies The Omega Man, The Quiet Earth, The Night of the Comet(this is a comedy) and all the other last man on earth movies, this was the great granddaddy of them all.
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Format: Hardcover
A cloud of gas that smells like peach blossom kills nearly every everyone in the world. Adam Jeffson is the only man left. He spends years looking for other people, wandering through the remains of civilization.
One of the benefits of being the last man on Earth is that you would have the freedom to do whatever you want. The planet would be literally yours. Adam takes advantage of this. He becomes more and more eccentric, travelling around the world, burning cities to the ground. He wants to wipe out all trace of humanity, to make it look as if the human race had never existed. This could be put down to a symptom of Adam's growing madness - a madness caused by enforced solitude.
The premise is a good one. "The Purple Cloud" sounds like an HG Wells novel in style. The language is a bit flowery, but I didn't mind that. (The book was published in the early 1900's after all.) When you read this book you travel around the world with Adam and find the same thing - emptyness, stillness, silence. How would you cope?
In 1959 a film called "The World, the Flesh and the Devil" was released. It was supposedley based on "The Purple Cloud", but it had nothing to do with MP Shiel's story.
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Format: Paperback
A purple vapor passes over the world and annihilates all living creatures except Adam Jefferson. He embarks on an epic journey across a silent and devastated planet, an apocalyptic Robinson Crusoe putting together the semblance of a normal life from the wreckage of his former existence. This is one of the most terrifying and most matter-of-fact - post apocalyptic novels I have ever read. This is not a `fun' book, this is not about being alone and able to play in the malls and stores - this is about the `humanity' of being the `last man'.

If you are a lover of apocalyptic works, movies, books etc, you will not want to miss the Purple Cloud. I nearly gave it a miss due to the title, but fortunately for me I did not. Great book, profound and the ending will blow you away.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The beginning of this book began fairly well with an expedition to the North Pole. Only after reaching the North Pole did everything change. On the way back Adam finds that everybody is dead, no matter where he goes in the whole world, he is the last man alive. Then begins the middle part of the story. Honestly this is the most tedious and patience trying portion of the book. His going about the towns looking for survivors or naming all the type of ships he comes across on the ocean, is stifling almost robotic. I about jumped for joy when he started to lose his mind and begin burning cities around the world starting with London, for at least it began to pick up once again. The story begins to really get interesting when after burning Constantinople he comes across a young woman. The rest of the story is dedicated to their lives together or not together but together, until the end where what is fated to happen happens.
I feel the author captured the human spirit very well in his characters. Man so violent, and at times whimsical, and Leda cautious, with always a plan about her for she knows what God intends for her. I also think that man alone is a terrible torture to oneself for we are a social creature and the author portrays that very well.
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By JP on December 29, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is an interesting example of modern apocalyptic literature. Some of the images of a dead world are truly gruesome. (Walking Dead fans will appreciate them.)
My problem is that I just did not like the main character. Mostly he is a jerk. He is somewhat redeemed in the end however.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I had trouble with this book at first. If it were printed today, it would be a very fat book. It's printed with a tiny font [most editions] and written in very formal English. It reminded me of Jules Verne. It should be on every science fiction fans list of read books.
The story is basically post-apocalyptic, with spiritual undertones. No zombies or roving bands of starving people, more psychological. The main character is tormented, inventive, destructive - engaging.
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