Future Treasures: The Rim of Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror by William Sloane

Future Treasures: The Rim of Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror by William Sloane

The Rim of Morning Two Tales of Cosmic Horror-smallI’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 hardcover-small To Walk the Night Dell-small To Walk the Night Dell Rey

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.)

The Edge of Running Water hardcover2 The Edge of Running Water Bantam-small The Edge of Running Water Del Rey-small

The Unquiet Corpse-smallThe Edge of Running Water was pubished in hardcover in 1939 by Farrar & Rinehart. It was reprinted in hardcover by World Publishing Co. in 1945 (above left, cover artist unknown.)

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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Thomas Parker

I’ve never gotten around to reading To Walk the Night, though I do have a copy (you know how that is), but the Edge of Running Water is a really extraordinary book, a very skillful and original blend of SF and murder mystery with a palpable Lovecraftian atmosphere. The characterization is very strong, much deeper than you usually find in this sort of book, and the ending is an absolute killer – now and then I just go back and reread the last couple of pages; it’s so well done, it gives me a shiver every time.

Thomas Parker

Deal!

CMR

Cool. I love cosmic horror even if I am burned out on Cthulhu. That omnibus went kind of bland with the presentation though. I like the suggestive art of the older covers more.

Robert Adam Gilmour

Surprised this is getting a reprint in omnibus form. I bought the 1964 version years ago and still haven’t read it. Can’t recall how much I paid, but maybe that is best.

Thomas Parker

I first became aware of Sloane from seeing Fritz Leiber praise these two novels (I can’t remember where at the moment). Kind of like Ted Williams calling someone a good hitter…

Allen Snyder

Ah, comments are working—well, if you see this anyway. 😉 My earlier comment was going to be:

Only $10 (and change) for the paperback…Pre-ordered! And I’m seriously thinking about some of the books Amazon suggested after I purchased this one, like “Chocky” by John Wyndham.

Robert Adam Gilmour

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?38910

John- I meant the earlier 1964 version of the omnibus.

Thomas Parker

A couple more brain cells unexpectedly fired, John, and I remembered – Leiber mentioned Sloane in the afterward to a 1986 Baen paperback of Leiber’s novel, The Sinful Ones. Leiber is talking about his struggles to get some of his own stuff published (this is during the late 40’s and early 50’s) and speaks of showing the early chapters of The Sinful Ones to a friend:

“A fantasy-writer friend read them carefully and agreed with me that hardcover book publication was the best thing to aim for, especially since the situation had improved a little there. William Sloane, whose brilliant supernatural novels To Walk the Night and The Edge of Running Water had had considerable success, had launched a new publishing house which would favor that genre.”

[…] York Review Book (NYRB) Classics also published William Sloane’s The Rim of Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror on October 6th — definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in classic horror […]

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