I’m not familiar with William Sloane, but my interest was piqued this week when I saw his omnibus collection coming out next month from NYRB Classics. The Rim of Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror collects two pulp-era tales of supernatural horror: To Walk the Night (1937) and The Edge of Running Water (1939). Here’s the description:
In the 1930s, William Sloane wrote two brilliant novels that gave a whole new meaning to cosmic horror. In To Walk the Night, Bark Jones and his college buddy Jerry Lister, a science whiz, head back to their alma mater to visit a cherished professor of astronomy. They discover his body, consumed by fire, in his laboratory, and an uncannily beautiful young widow in his house — but nothing compares to the revelation that Jerry and Bark encounter in the deserts of Arizona at the end of the book. In The Edge of Running Water, Julian Blair, a brilliant electrophysicist, has retired to a small town in remotest Maine after the death of his wife. His latest experiments threaten to shake up the town, not to mention the universe itself.
I did a little homework and found that both novels had a long history of paperback reprints from mainstream publishers, such as Dell, Bantam, and Panther. But they were also reprinted by Del Rey in the early 80s, in editions that dressed them up as supernatural SF and gothic horror.
Both have been out of print in the US for the last quarter century.
All of the editions had terrific covers, and immediately appealed to the paperback collector in me. I’m definitely going to have to get the NYRB reprint — if only for the new introduction by Stephen King — and also track down down the Dell, Bantam, and Del Rey paperback editions.
Here’s a quick look at a few of the earlier editions of these long-neglected supernatural classics.
[Click any of the images for bigger images.]
To Walk the Night originally appeared in hardcover from Farrar & Rinehart in 1937 (above left, cover artist unknown).
It was reprinted in paperback by Penguin, Dell, Panther and Bantam in the 50s and 60. The 1956 Dell paperback, with a moody and effective cover by William Rose, is above.
The Ballantine/Del Rey edition appeared in February 1980, with a cover by Doug Beekman (above right.)
It was reprinted in paperback by Bantam Books in February 1967, with a stark and very creepy cover (above middle, artist unknown).
Del Rey reprinted it in August 1980 with a much more modern cover (albeit one with a great gothic feel) by Ron DiScenza (above right.)
The Edge of Running Water also appeared in paperback under the title The Unquiet Corpse, from Dell in 1956 (at right, cover artist unknown.)
Sloane had modest success publishing supernatural and fantasy short fiction in the 30s. To Walk the Night and The Edge of Running Water are his only novels.
In the 1950s he edited two respected science-fiction anthologies, Space, Space, Space: Stories About the Time When Men Will Be Adventuring to the Stars (1953) and Stories for Tomorrow (1954).
The Rim of Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror will be published by NYRB Classics on October 6, 2015. It is 480 pages, priced at $18.95 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital version.
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