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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 100 year old dark 'prediction' of a plausible future
A fabulous book. The tale of a transcript turned book from papers sent to the author. The book centres around Adam, who by a strange turn of events avoids the purple cloud which wipes out every living thing. He goes on a descriptive journey all over the world, of a believable and eerie future, where we all want to survive, but wouldn't want to survive alone. Finally Adam...
Published on 17 Feb 2001

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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A classic, but it feels a bit dated now
This is a classic book in apocalyptic fiction genre that you'll find in a lot of lists set up by fans on various web sites. It was written at the very beginning of the 20th century but the version I have was published in 1930 after some rewriting. Although most people rave over this book, although it was original at the time, it's nothing special now in my opinion as a...
Published on 11 Nov 2008 by Dr. Andrew Phillips


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 100 year old dark 'prediction' of a plausible future, 17 Feb 2001
By A Customer
A fabulous book. The tale of a transcript turned book from papers sent to the author. The book centres around Adam, who by a strange turn of events avoids the purple cloud which wipes out every living thing. He goes on a descriptive journey all over the world, of a believable and eerie future, where we all want to survive, but wouldn't want to survive alone. Finally Adam settles in one place, documenting his building project, pyrotechnics and possession accumulation along the way, to the backdrop of an empty earth's weather upheaval. The reader can sense the madness which would creep in if we were to be so isolated forever......Adam goes through it all. An incredibly compelling book (with a nice twist at the end) which should be made into a film.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark, unforgiving, magestlc masterpiece, 20 Jan 2008
By 
Welly (West Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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There are books that entertain and those that amuse, some shock and some amaze. This book grabs your core and swings it around the room until all the things you'd previously thought have to be revisited. It's, quite simply, a masterpiece and will knock your socks off.

Written in 1901 it has a tremendous gravitas that only writing of that era seems to own, it manages to be knowing and innocent and never fails to hit home with every magnificent, engrossing turn of the plot. The only danger is that the reader spends more time pondering what he would do in the circumstances described rather than concentrating on the book. It is rare that you finish a book and your main motive is to find a quiet corner and re-read it, but that's what the Purple Cloud will do to you. A dark, unforgiving, magestic masterpiece that puts the flimsy, gimmicky modern writers to shame. Buy it, read it, recommend it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bleak, gripping and dark, 3 Feb 2008
By 
Mr. Stuart Bruce "DonQuibeats" (Cardiff, UK) - See all my reviews
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The 'last man' story was not original to M.P. Shiel but "The Purple Cloud" is definitely one of the best examples of it. For me the most distinct and compelling aspect to this novel is how darkly it is written.

Most post-apocalypse style novels make the last man a hero, with a cause and driven by hope. Here, the lead character is already a money-driven murderer before the End of the World has even begun. Without money or fame to spur him on, he finds other reasons to travel the world, setting ablaze whole cities and finding that out of his initial anarchism comes a new structure.

Although the reason for the world's destruction has a faintly 'religious parable' feel to it and the lead characters' names being Adam and Eve, this is not a particularly religious story and if you were to read it as an allegory then it would certainly be an atheist one.

According to the foreword, this is actually the 'milder' version of the novel, that Shiel re-wrote in 1929- the 1901 version of the story is, apparently, rougher and includes extra elements such as cannabalism.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A classic, but it feels a bit dated now, 11 Nov 2008
By 
Dr. Andrew Phillips (Leicestershire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Purple Cloud (Paperback)
This is a classic book in apocalyptic fiction genre that you'll find in a lot of lists set up by fans on various web sites. It was written at the very beginning of the 20th century but the version I have was published in 1930 after some rewriting. Although most people rave over this book, although it was original at the time, it's nothing special now in my opinion as a lot of similar books have been written since.

The story features a man who goes on a voyage to the North Pole in order to fulfill a challenge and become rich in the process. Partly driven by his fiancee, he basically cheats and murders his way to be first to the pole and win the cash. Of course, in those days expeditions of this type took a long time and by the time he heads for home it's many months after he left England. Everyone he finds along the way is dead, presumably killed by a mysterious purple cloud that seems to have covered the entire globe except, luckily, the North Pole.

The rest of the book follows the man as he travels round the world slowly going crazy. That's essentially it, but it is more interesting than it sounds. The two things that spoiled the book for me were the rather dated language used (which isn't that hard to follow, to be honest), and the horrible personality of the main character, Adam (which for me is a big problem). I didn't get the feeling that he deserved to survive, but maybe that's the point.

If you like end-of-the-world stories then by all means try this book, but I have read a lot more than I found more enjoyable.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the most coma inducing books I've read for a long time, 2 Mar 2009
I'm 3 quarters of the way through it, for the past 2 quarters I've been forcing myself to read it in the assumption that it was about to get good....it hasn't so far. It's just boring.
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The Purple Cloud
The Purple Cloud by M.P. Shiel (Paperback - 8 Feb 2008)
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