The Dark World (Trade Paperback)

4.10/5 (based on 7 ratings)

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by Henry Kuttner, with an introduction by Piers Anthony

Hailed as a “neglected master” by Ray Bradbury and “the best fantasy ever” by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Henry Kuttner has been an inspiration to science fiction and fantasy authors for generations. In The Dark World, Kuttner brings us his most enchanting adventure yet, the story of a World War II airman thrust into a weird and ominous realm of mutants and magic.

Edward Bond is not alone in his mind. Haunted by strange events during the war, he returns home to discover he now shares his body with his identical twin from an alternate dimension, the evil wizard Ganelon. Sucked through a portal to the Dark World, Bond finds himself trapped between two warring factions. On one side is the Coven: a werewolf, an immortal, and a beautiful witch eager to acknowledge Ganelon as their sinister ruler. On the other is the white sorceress Freydis and her band of forest rebels that want nothing more than to see the warlock’s head on a spike. Will Edward/Ganelon join with the rebels to release the oppressed world from the grip of a tyrannical, sacrifice-hungry god—or embrace the Coven to become the world’s greatest villain?

An undisputed fantasy classic from the author of Elak of Atlantis, Henry Kuttner's The Dark World once more takes its place in the Sword and Sorcery pantheon!

144-page softcover trade paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-136-7

About the Author

Ray Bradbury once referred to Henry Kuttner as "a neglected master... a man who shaped science fiction and fantasy in its most important years." Born in Los Angeles, Henry Kuttner (1915–1958) sold his first story, "The Graveyard Rats," to Weird Tales in 1936, the same year in which he wrote a fan letter to rising science fiction author C.L. Moore, mistakenly believing her to be a man. The two were married in 1940, and in the years that followed they collaborated constantly, publishing under at least 17 pseudonyms, most notably Lewis Padgett and Keith Hammond. Along with Elak of Atlantis and Prince Raynor, both of which were created before his marriage to Moore, Kuttner's most popular solo works were the Gallegher stories, tales about an inventor who could only build robots while drunk, and who upon sobering immediately forgot their purposes. As a friend of H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, Kuttner also contributed several stories to the Cthulhu mythos. In addition to writing scripts for television in collaboration with Moore, Kuttner wrote several stories that have since been translated to film, most recently "Mimsy Were the Borogroves," released as The Last Mimsy. In the years since his untimely death from a heart attack at 43, Kuttner has been cited as an influence by everyone from Marion Zimmer Bradley to Roger Zelazny, and both Richard Matheson and Ray Bradbury have dedicated novels to him.

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... a must for Zelazny scholars a good read for anyone else.


The late great Amberzine, a magazine devoted to the Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game devoted an entire issue to reprinting this lost gem. The seed that would germinate into the Pattern of Amber and the shifting ways of Chaos was laid when Zelazny encountered this work. It's not an epic novel but it's tightly focused an excellent resource for those looking to do an alternative setting using Amber Diceless or any other roleplaying system whose focus is more cinematic than simulation.

Of interest only in historical context


Rabid fans of Roger Zelazny's early "Amber" books will certainly want to read this major influence. Apart from that claim to fame, though, Kuttner's The Dark World (1946) is no more than a blatant (and rather weak) ripoff of Abraham Merritt's far superior Dwellers in the Mirage (1932), which remains one of the pinnacles of the genre.

Hard and fast Fantasy and Science Fiction Adventure


Having some spare time on my hands, I decided to have a read of this book. The cover impressed me and as I read the cover directly fitted a scene from the book. Not sort of fitted exactly as it was written.

This is the style of writing that his book contains. There were no dull parts where pages were spent on developing the stage and colour but straight into the action.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was no stop and I highly recommend it as a great short read.

Truly a “neglected master”


I've really enjoyed the Kuttner collections offer by Planet Stories so far. Although I enjoyed Elak of Atlantis a bit more, The Dark World was still a very enjoyable read. The explanation behind the world-hopping on this one was more plausible in these modern times than most sword-and-planet stories.

Kuttner was far ahead of his time.

Very Solid


I went to the internet immediately after finishing it to learn more about the author.

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Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

I've updated the cover image and description to match the finished book.

So is this a graphic novel or a expensive paperback?

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

I think it is technically called, quality print.

Russell Akred wrote:
So is this a graphic novel or a expensive paperback?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Russell Akred wrote:
So is this a graphic novel or a expensive paperback?

It's fiction in trade paperback form. (And a quick survey of the trades on my shelf shows that most of them are priced around $14, so it's by no means expensive for what it is.)

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

This may help to clarify:

People from a comic book background are accustomed to the term "trade paperback" being used to refer to a collection of previously published comics, like Flaming Man #21-28.

However, the term is also used in "regular" book publishing for books that are of larger dimensions than a normal mass market paperback.

So, to be 100% clear... this is a prose novel, not a comic book or graphic novel.

Hope that helps!

Dark Archive

*this* wins the award for the best Planet Stories cover to date! By far. I really *must* subscribe after seeing this. Oh, um.

I subscribed recently and just yesterday received my first book, “The Dark World”, and can’t wait to start it.
But first, I’ve got a few book ideas for you:

“Space Hawk” by Anthony Gilmore
I’ve recently read “Space Vulture” (a modern tribute to pulp sci-fi) by Gary K. Wolf (creator of Roger Rabbit) and Archbishop John J. Myers. In the introduction to it they speak fondly of “Space Hawk”, it was “Space Hawk” that started them on sci-fi and inspired them to write.
I haven’t read “Space Hawk”, so I can’t recommend it personally, but I think it’s worth looking into. I’ve searched for it on Amazon but the only copies available are old, used, and expensive. As far as I can tell, it hasn’t been in print for at least fifty years.
If you were to publish it, I’m sure you could easily get Gary K. Wolf or John J. Myers (or both) to write an introduction.

“The Goddess of Atvatabar” by William R. Bradshaw
“Goddess of Atvatabar” is an early hollow-earth adventure, preceding ERB’s Pellucidar series by several years at least.
Sadly, another book I haven’t read. But I’ve heard it’s good and I’d like to read it (though I’d rather read it in a new Planet Stories edition than in an old falling-apart antique). I believe it’s also out of print.

“The Wizard of Venus” by Edgar Rice Burroughs
It’s a novelette, so you’d have to include other material---how about “Elmer”, the ERB story that was edited into being “The Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw”. (“Elmer” has not seen print since 2001, in a limited edition anthology)---to fill out the book. You could almost recreate the old “Tales of Three Planets” collection.
“Wizard of Venus” is the only story from any of ERB’s more famous series’ that is not being published by Leonaur.

I’d love it if you published any of the above, particularly “Space Hawk”.
Hope to hear from you soon,

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Theris Nordo Ichka wrote:
But first, I’ve got a few book ideas for you:

You might want to drop those in the Planet Stories Requests thread.

Vic Wertz wrote:
Theris Nordo Ichka wrote:
But first, I’ve got a few book ideas for you:
You might want to drop those in the Planet Stories Requests thread.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

This was an astounding book, but I have one complaint. I mostly read on the bus in Tempe on the way to work and the way back (about an hour a day). I started this book on Tuesday and I will need to bring something else to read for the return trip Monday which could be a problem because Death in Delhi is not even listed as pending yet.

Other than that, this book is great. The Reavers of Skaith is anxiously awaited here, although I get the impression that might be the last of Skaith we see.

People who liked this novella will certainly want to find a copy of Abraham Merritt's Dwellers in the Mirage -- a much longer work with an almost identical plot, written 14 years before The Dark World was published. In my opinion, Merritt's work is infinitely superior in terms of "cool" ideas, and also in terms of action and story. (I suspect that, if not for its influence on Roger Zelazny's early "Amber" series, The Dark World would remain forgotten in the shadow of its predecessor.)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Dark World was published a few years ago, as an issue of Amberzine (#5 I think) which like all other issues for legal reasons was kept to a 1000 print limit. It's nice engaging read especially for a rainy afternoon. You may even enjoy this book if you're not a fan of Zelazny's Amber series.

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