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The Edge of Running Water

The Edge of Running Water [Kindle Edition]

William Sloane

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Product Description

Product Description

The Edge of Running Water deals with the adventures of a young psychologist in a remote Maine farm house; with the death of a woman and the disappearance of an inventor. Against a normal enough background, events take on the shape of terror, with a tinge of the unknown - hints of things beyond the borderland of the natural, including the strange researches into survival after death by a half-mad electro-physicist. Set against these, a tender love story adds an unexpected poignancy and charm.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 372 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Gateway (29 Mar 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #515,318 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By s.ferber - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
William Sloane wrote only two novels, but they were both doozies. The first, "To Walk the Night" (1937), is a combination sci-fi/horror/fantasy/mystery tale concerning a mysterious, otherworldly woman. Two years later, Mr. Sloane came out with "The Edge of Running Water," and this one, I feel, is even better. It concerns an electrophysicist, Dr. Julian Blair, who is attempting to construct an apparatus that will enable him to communicate with his dead wife. The book takes place on a promontory on the Kennebec River in a lonely part of Maine (hence, I suppose, the title). Like the first book, this one is beautifully written, with a few sharply drawn characters, great pacing and suspense, and a tremendous windup. Given the fantastic nature of the central premise, it may come as a surprise how realistic and believable the presentation is. The story is told by Richard Sayles, an ex-student of Dr. Blair's, who has come to visit the professor and assist him in his work. The gradually unfolding horror is seen through his eyes, and he makes for a very creditable eyewitness of the amazing events.
I really can't say enough about this terrific novel. It seems to have everything: an intriguing murder mystery; a great and well-described setting; appealing and interesting characters; suspenseful action; and a unique premise. In the book's terrific conclusion, all the characters get exactly what they deserve. It is an extremely satisfying denouement. Sloane, as I mentioned, writes wonderfully. What a pity that he only produced these two great books. There are so many passages that one will want to read over. For example, this one, in which Dr. Sayles reflects on his love for Blair's deceased wife: "A love that is true to living persons and existing realities is steadfast and fine. But I saw then, for the first time, that a love which has fastened upon the dead and true to nothing but a past that was finished, is not a good nor true emotion. If it went on too long, it could become an incubus, throttling a man from the real life of the present, which is the life that we were fashioned to meet and experience." This book, despite the horror theme and eerie developments, is nonetheless a quite literate experience. It was, incidentally, made into a Boris Karloff movie in 1941 called "The Devil Commands." I have not seen the film, but, despite its good reputation, I don't see how it could hope to compare to this fine novel. I would advise all readers to seek it out as a unique experience.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars...a forgotten masterpiece 31 Dec 2004
By rickzz - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just read "Running Water"(1939) and Sloane's only other novel, "To Walk the Night"(1937), after buying some used copies. I bought them because "To Walk the Night" is cited as one of the "100 best Fantasy" novels, according to J. Cawthorn and Michael Moorcock.

Basically, I agree with everything the previous reviewer wrote, and I also feel that "Running Water" is slightly better than "To Walk the Night" although "Night" is also highly recommended.

Both of Sloane's novels concern themes that were used by his contemporary, H.P. Lovecraft ("obsessed scientists pursuing forbidden knowledge"). However, Sloane is a far better writer than Lovecraft, and his characterization is excellent. Unlike Lovecraft, Sloane's novels have female characters and "Running Water" even has a romance as one of its sub-plots...something that Lovecraft was incapable of doing. Finally, Sloane had a beautiful writing style and both of his (only) two novels are real pageturners....I finished both of them within 2 days each. Despite their age, the writing style is contemporary and there were only a few things such as slang-terms that dated them.

It's hard to believe that nearly everything Lovecraft ever wrote or even half-wrote ("if you know what I mean") is back-in print while Sloane's two masterpieces have been out of print for decades!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wind on the River 23 April 2006
By doomsdayer520 - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I learned about William Sloane on a website that locates lost old classics in literature, and fans of horror and speculative fiction should track down copies of his out-of-print novels. Sloane's mix of classic horror with elements of science and speculation was innovative for its time. He apparently only wrote two novels – this one from 1939 and its predecessor "To Walk the Night" (which has the slight edge in creepiness). Sloane was brilliant at a slow-burn sense of dread, and disconcerting observations into the dark side of human nature. While Sloane's prose had a certain stiffness and ponderousness that was surely common in his day, his work gives you a vague creepy feeling that is both effective and timeless. On the surface, this story is a fairly typical mad scientist yarn with a forlorn electrophysicist who yearns to communicate with his late wife, and at first the novel could be easily categorized in the horror department. But Sloane's ideas were not so simple, and the strength of this novel lies in where the scientist's electrical experiments are ultimately headed. Sloane kept the results of the experiments intriguingly vague, but he was surely hinting at subtle elements of science fiction that were way WAY ahead of their time. Sloane's lost works are quite difficult to categorize, and he has a bit of a cult following among fans of unappreciated old literary gems. He deserves it. [~doomsdayer520~]
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like a literate 1950's horror movie... 29 April 2008
By Ms. Standfast - Published on
Verified Purchase
I had a high school literature teacher, prone in her cups to readings of Conrad Aiken and T. S. Eliot, who was the only other person I ever knew who had read this book. Oddly, it's not what anyone would call "literary" in the sense of vocabulary, quotation or allusion, but it seems to appeal to reflective people.

On the surface, it's a mystery. Did she fall or was she pushed? (Really.) On another level, it's a novel about obsession -- the Orpheus-and-Eurydice, Gilgamesh-and-Enkidu kind of obsession that develops when someone is loved deeply and dies young. And then it's a supernatural novel, in which the events and possibilities are creepy beyond anything the circumstances depicted could account for. Sloane has a nice touch with the numinous image, and with creating the swoopy feeling of witnessing a breach out of the ordinary world. This is a little gem.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but not really horror 5 Dec 2009
By Ron - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sloane's second novel is a winner, although pretty obscure. The writing style is easy to take (my only gripe is telling us ahead of time that some unpleasant things are going to happen). The characters are well drawn, especially one of the central characters, Mrs. Walters, who the reader will want to be a villianess, but somehow cannot feel complete contempt for her. Recommended for mystery lovers (not really a horror novel) and people who are looking for a well-written whopper to keep them company for a few hours.
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