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Subject: Recommended editions of The King in Yellow? rss

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Brandon H
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I know Chambers' book is well within the public domain, but I want to get a nice copy of it. But man, there are a lot of editions! Can anyone recommend a particular version it, available in the US? Thanks!

ETA: a broader collection that includes TKiY would also be of interest.
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Bern Godfrey
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CSerpent wrote:
I know Chambers' book is well within the public domain, but I want to get a nice copy of it. But man, there are a lot of editions! Can anyone recommend a particular version it, available in the US? Thanks!

ETA: a broader collection that includes TKiY would also be of interest.


If you haven't read Chambers beforehand, I'd advise a public domain edition, simply to get a taster. Not all the stories are that good. the edition I have, has The Reparer of Reputations, The Mask, In the Court of the Dragon (all excellent), The Yellow Sign (excellent),The Demoiselle D'YS (superb). The Prophets' Paradise (VG), The Street of the Four Winds (ok),The Street of the First Shell, The Street of Our Lady of the Fields (Hmmm),
Rue Barrée (OK). The publisher is A Public Domain Book?? which doesn't really help.

It kind of tails off after The Prophet's Paradise....

While we're on the subject, A Season in Carcosa' by various authors is a book dedicated to the writings of Chambers, and is really a very good read. I liked 90% of the short stories within, two or three were just too bleugh, with too much foul language and gratuitous sex.
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Brandon H
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I have read "Repairer" and "The Yellow Sign". I have those in Chaosium's "The Hastur Cycle". That is a really good collection, compiling Bierce, Chambers, HPL, Machen, Carter, Derleth, and more. But it only has those two from Chambers.
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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The Joshi-edited omnibus volume is worth the trouble:
The Yellow Sign and Other Stories: The Complete Weird Tales of Robert W. Chambers
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David Dukelow
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I know this isn't what you're asking for in the OP, but just thought I'd mention I found this graphic novelization of the book in my local B&N a couple weeks ago and I really enjoyed it.

It does not have all the stories from Chambers' book, but just the ones that have to do with the play.
N.J. Culbard has also done a lot of graphic novels of Lovecraft, he does great work.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/king-in-yellow-robert-w-cha...
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Thomas Vaughan-Johnston
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Don't know if you are into audiobooks, and this is shameless self-promotion, but I have been working on a reading of the 'core 4' King in Yellow stories from Chambers. I bought the Roads Classics edition recently and wanted to share it on YouTube.

This is section 1 of Repairer of Reputations, but I plan on trying to do one section per day for the next while, so should have the whole set out in 2 weeks or so:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioTfrGkl-QE
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Driss
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CSerpent wrote:
I have read "Repairer" and "The Yellow Sign". I have those in Chaosium's "The Hastur Cycle". That is a really good collection, compiling Bierce, Chambers, HPL, Machen, Carter, Derleth, and more. But it only has those two from Chambers.


Then you've already read anything worthwhile by Chambers.
 
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Brandon H
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Sindriss wrote:
CSerpent wrote:
I have read "Repairer" and "The Yellow Sign". I have those in Chaosium's "The Hastur Cycle". That is a really good collection, compiling Bierce, Chambers, HPL, Machen, Carter, Derleth, and more. But it only has those two from Chambers.


Then you've already read anything worthwhile by Chambers.

I've heard some of the others are good. The scenario "A Phantom of Truth", I understand, borrows heavily from
Spoiler (click to reveal)
"In The Court of the Dragon"
, so I'm interested in that in particular.
 
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Driss
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I would just read it online. It's very short.

In the Court of the Dragon

 
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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I liked "In the Court of the Dragon."

Most of what Chambers wrote was not in the weird fantasy/horror field at all, so it's not worth it to go reading his work indiscriminately.

Also, some of the latter-day jauniste ("King in Yellow mythos") material is much better than Chambers' own stuff. Karl Edward Wagner's "River of Night's Dreaming," for example, is awesome.
 
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Amy (Other Amy)
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"The Repairer of Reputations," "The Mask," "In the Court of the Dragon," and "The Yellow Sign" are the four stories for the Carcosa universe, which I don't think he ever returned to. They are interlinked with delightful little details and all are worth a read. The other stories that were released in The King in Yellow have nothing to do with the opening quartet (and in some cases aren't even in the horror genre). I would read the public domain version if you just want to read them. (I haven't tracked down Joshi's work yet, but I would bet it is indeed worthwhile for the footnotes. I'll probably get ahold of it to read before I play the Carcosa campaign.)

Regarding Carcosa related reading, Ambrose Bierce's short story "An Inhabitant of Carcosa" is also enjoyable. I haven't gotten around to Lord Dunsany's "Carcassonne" yet, but it may also be worth a look.
 
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Brandon H
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amyotheramy wrote:
Regarding Carcosa related reading, Ambrose Bierce's short story "An Inhabitant of Carcosa" is also enjoyable.

That is also in "The Hastur Cycle", along with his "Haita the Shepherd", which I believe has the first use of the name Hastur.

I'm still a physical media guy, so I favor a book, even if it isn't a complete winner.

I'm tempted by the gargantuan Joshi book, if only for that very creepy cover art.
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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The Joshi book doesn't have full annotations or footnotes, but it does have a very good editorial introduction. And it lives up to its title for those who want access to more obscure Chambers stuff, and don't want to have to bother sleuthing it out of other collections. Chambers' output was highly variable though, and this isn't a book you're likely to want to read from cover to cover.
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Pauli Vinni
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I am Also hard core book Reader, so if someone knows novelle compilation that contains King in yellow Stories From different authors, that would be nice!
 
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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A Season in Carcosa edited by Joseph S. Pulver Sr.
Far more enjoyable than the sort of pastiches and retreads that are common to the Lovecraftian "mythos," these stories take motives and inspiration from the source material, but they are invariably discrete and original approaches to madness and terror. The dread play itself mutates into opera, film, radio, children's television, tribal folklore, and other media. The metafictional qualities of the original Chambers stories (and the cousin-kisses they received from later Yog-Sothothery) have led many contributors to bring in other literary allusions ranging from Antonin Artaud to C.S. Lewis.

Materially, the book is no great shakes. The cover art is attractive enough, but the paper and binding are print-on-demand quality, and it could have used much more thorough proofing to attend to the ubiquitous typos. It almost avoids the nonsense "Yellow Sign" that originated in game graphics, but the damned thing still appears in the midst of the letter o in "Carcosa" on the spine! The book's greatest unmet desideratum is some information on the contributors, most of whom were new to me.

Stand-out pieces included the hallucinatory Victorian American period piece "MS Found in a Chicago Hotel Room" by Daniel Mills, the erudite surrealist "Theater and Its Double" by Edward Morris, and the psychotic crescendo of "Whose Hearts Are Pure Gold" by Kristin Prevallet. The sardonic present-day story by Cody Goodfellow, "Wishing Well," reminded me a great deal of the work of Chuck Palahniuk, and was certainly one of the volume's best.

All of these stories are suitably eerie and perverse. Perhaps as many as a third of them culminate with the incoherent collapse of the narrating perspective, which doesn't seem excessive given the importance of madness and destruction to the Carcosan mytheme. There's no special value to reading all of these stories in a continuous effort. I took one significant pause in the course of reading them, and the experience might have benefited from a couple more hiatuses. I strongly recommend the collection to those who are "into this sort of thing."

The King in Yellow by Thom Ryng
Thom Ryng is not the first to flesh out the text of the pernicious play invented by Chambers; in his introduction he suggests that he is perhaps the eighth, and he refers specifically to two earlier attempts: one by Lin Carter and one by James Blish. (I've read both.) In the first edition of the Ryng version, the conceit was that the text had been recovered from a 19th-century French edition. In the softbound reprint, editorial and authorial matter confesses its actual late-20th-century composition in the distant wake of Chambers' fiction. It has been produced on stage at least once, if we are to believe the current edition.

Materially, the book is a sturdy softcover volume with a generous font size. I was a little disappointed that the cover had the false Yellow Sign originally designed by artist Kevin Ross and corrupted in the editorial process for the Chaosium RPG Call of Cthulhu. (Chambers' original Yellow Sign was probably the "inverted torch" insignia that appeared on the binding of early editions of Chambers' The King in Yellow.)

There is a vein of socio-political commentary in Ryng's play that is disturbingly prescient (the author implies that it could have been causative), considering that the book was written in the 1990s. Readers are also furnished with a Hasturian incantation to achieve magical invisibility.

When I read this book, the experience was attended with appropriate inter-textual synchronicities. The Oedipus eyes of Thales echoed my philosophical reading in Nietzsche criticism (to wit, The Shortest Shadow and Foucault's Lectures on the Will to Know). Also relating to that reading, but opening onto a perpetual return to a secret place, is the play's portrayal of Truth as a phantom who is martyred. Overall, I was suitably impressed, instructed, and infected by Ryng's deposition from the ether of this dread volume.

Rehearsals for Oblivion edited by Peter Worthy
Rehearsals for Oblivion is subtitled Act I, and the back cover boasts that it is "the first volume in a comprehensive set," but none further have appeared since 2006, as far as I can determine. To contrast this collection with A Season in Carcosa, the earlier book Rehearsals for Oblivion is far more conservative in the way that the stories integrate the Carcosan tropes and themes. There are a handful of short poems as well.

(Rehearsals successfully avoids the use of the so-called "Yellow Sign" graphic invented for games in the late 20th century. There is a sort of double-yod symbol at the foot of each selection which may be intended to suggest the "real" sign. Tim Wilson's cover painting is quite beautiful, and the fonts chosen for the texts meet my full approval.)

My favorite Rehearsals included the Wilde homage "In Memoriam" by Roger Johnson and Robert M. Price, and Carlos Orsi Martinho's "Machine in Yellow," both of which trace attempts to produce the banned play on stage, in very different contexts. Other notable stories include the noir "Broadalbin" by John Scott Tynes, and "The Adventure of the Yellow Sign," in which G. Warlock Vance supplies a jauniste Sherlock Holmes tale.
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Bern Godfrey
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As I mentioned above, A Season in Carcosa... A decent anthology based around The King in Yellow.
 
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Driss
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Wow great write up Carthoris. You sold me on A Season in Carcosa.
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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Some other titles of this sort that I haven't (yet) read are:

The King in Yellow Tales: Volume I (ed. J.S. Pulver Sr.)
Cassilda's Song (ed. J.S. Pulver Sr.)
In the Court of the Yellow King (ed. Glynn Owen Barrass)
 
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