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The Metal Monster by A. Merritt

After his horrific adventures described in The Moon Pool, Dr. Walter T. Goodwin goes on expedition to study the flora of the Himalayas. Tranquility eludes him though because there he finds The Metal Monster.

Book Details

Book Details

The Metal Monster features the return of Dr. Walter T. Goodwin who, after the amazing adventures he had experienced in the South Pacific the previous year, (published in The Moon Pool) had embarked on what he had hoped would be a quiet and healing expedition to study the flora of the Himalayas. There he comes across The Metal Monster.

Mr. A. Merritt is asked to publicize Dr. Goodwin’s report to The International Association of Science in hopes of warning explorers in the wild regions of our planet to be aware of the possibilities of the discoveries of other similar monsters.

The Metal Monster (1920)
Chapter I. The Return Of Dr. Goodwin.
Chapter II. The Thing.
Chapter III. On The Out Trail.
Chapter IV. Mysteries In The Sky.
Chapter V. The Mark On The Breast.
Chapter VI. Ruth Ventnor.
Chapter VII. From The Past.
Chapter VIII. Metal With A Brain.

Part 2 Preceding Chapters Briefly Retold
Chapter IX. Power Of Persia.
Chapter X. The Smiting Thing.
Chapter XI. The Greater Path.
Chapter XII. Norhala Of The Lightnings!
Chapter XIII. Prelude To Mysteries.
Chapter XIV. The Shapes In The Mist.

Part 3 Preceding Chapters Briefly Retold
Chapter XV. The Thing That Followed.
Chapter XVI. The Drums Of Thunder.
Chapter XVII. The Portal Of Flame.
Chapter XVIII. “Witch! Give Back My Sister.”
Chapter XIX. The Metal Emperor.

Part 4 Preceding Chapters Briefly Retold
Chapter XX. “I Will Give You Peace.”
Chapter XXI. “A Voice From The Void!”
Chapter XXII. “Free! But A Monster!”
Chapter XXIII. The House Of Norhala.
Chapter XXIV. Some Certainties.
Chapter XXV. Conscious Metal!

Part 5 Preceding Chapters Briefly Retold
Chapter XXVI. Yuruk.
Chapter XXVII. Preparation.
Chapter XXVIII. Into The Pit.
Chapter XXIX. The City That Was Alive!
Chapter XXX. The Vampires Of The Sun!

Part 6
Chapter XXXI. The Feeding Of The Hordes.
Chapter XXXII. Back From Oblivion.
Chapter XXXIII. Phantasmagorie Metallique.
Chapter XXXIV. The Ensorcelled Chamber.
Chapter XXXV. The Treachery Of Yuruk.

Part 7
Chapter XXXVI. Norhala Vows.
Chapter XXXVII. Ruszark.
Chapter XXXVIII. Cherkis.
Chapter XXXIX. The Vengeance Of Norhala!
Chapter XL. “The Drums Of Destiny!”
Chapter XLI. The Gathering Storm.

Part 8
Chapter XLII. The Frenzy Of Ruth.
Chapter XLIII. Armageddon Metallique.
Chapter XLIV. The Passing Of Norhala.
Chapter XLV. Burned Out.
Chapter XLVI. Slag.

This book was a favorite of H. P. Lovecraft. According to his March 6, 1934 letter to James F. Morton:

Other recent items on my calendar are … A. Merritt’s old yarn The Metal Monster, which I had never read before because Eddy told me it was dull. The damn’d fool! (nephew — not our late bibliophilick friend) Actually, the book contains the most remarkable presentation of the utterly alien and non-human that I have ever seen. I don’t wonder that Merritt calls it his “best and worst” production. The human characters are commonplace and wooden – just pulp hokum – but the scenes and phaenomena… oh, boy!

H.P. Lovecraft March 6, 1934

Abraham Grace Merritt (1884–1943) – known by his byline, A. Merritt – was born in Beverly, New Jersey.

At 18, Merritt became a cub reporter at The Philadelphia Enquirer. In 1903, he was an inadvertent witness to a major political scandal, and he was hidden away in Mexico for a year. All his expenses paid, he spent his time exploring Mayan ruins, as well as “wenching and learning how to drink.”

On his return, he resumed his job at The Philadelphia Enquirer. In 1912 he was offered a job in New York City, at The American Weekly, the largest circulation Sunday supplement of the time. He remained assistant editor until 1937, then editor until his death by heart attack on August 21, 1943.

Although he only wrote eight novels and a handful of short stories in his career, he is considered one of the giants of imaginative fiction.

The Metal Monster contains 5 illustrations.


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Excerpt: The Metal Monster

Chapter I.

The Return Of Dr. Goodwin.

IT was on the 14th of September, a trifle after noon, that answering the call of the telephone I heard at the other end the voice of the venerable president of the International Association of Science.

“Mr. Merritt,” he said, “with me at the Science Club is Dr. Walter T. Goodwin. He has just returned from Central Asia, and both of us are exceedingly desirous of seeing you at your earliest convenience. May I ask when we can expect you to join us?”

“I will be up at once, sir,” I answered as coolly as I might; striving, being thoroughly familiar with the speaker’s theories of the inhibitory effects of emotion upon the judgment, to keep all trace of eagerness out of my tones.”

“At your convenience—at your convenience,” he replied. “There is what may be termed an important communication to be made to you. But do not hurry, I beg you.”

“Thank you,” I said. “I’ll finish then a trifle of business I have on hand and join you—say in an hour.”

“Quite satisfactory — quite. We will await you,” the calm voice went on. “You are quite well, I hope? Good. I shall detain you no further.”

The soft little click showed that he had hung up the receiver. I curbed my impatience while the minutes ticked slowly by; then jumped into a taxi and made my way to the quiet little street off lower Broadway, where the quaint old-fashioned dwelling that houses the Science Club nestles under the shadow of the skyscrapers.

I had never seen Dr. Goodwin. When the narratives of his adventures among the prehistoric ruins of the Nan-Matal in the Carolines* had been placed in my hands for editing and revision to meet the requirements of a popular presentation he had left America some time before, pleading that he was still too shaken, too depressed, to be able to bear recalling the experiences that must inevitably carry with them freshened images of those whom he had loved so well—and from whom, he felt, he was perhaps separated forever.

I knew that he had gone somewhere on the outskirts of the world, but this was the first hint as to where. And it was with the liveliest curiosity that I passed through the club’s doors.

Necessarily, through my close study of his manuscripts, I had formed a mental image of their writer. I had read, too, those volumes of botanical research which have set him high above all other American scientists in this field; gleaning from their curious mingling of extremely technical observations and minutely accurate and extraordinarily poetic descriptions, fragments to amplify my picture of him. It rather gratified me to find that in essence I had drawn him correctly.

The man to whom the Association’s head introduced me—and I regret that I am not allowed to give the latter’s name, world famous as it is, and guarantee for scientific accuracy as it would be, acquiescing as he does in the anonymity the Association, for its own reasons, has decreed for its leader —the man, I say, to whom I was introduced was sturdy, well knit, a little under the average height. His forehead was broad and high and under the level black brows eyes of clear hazel shone, kindly, shrewd, a little wistful, a little humorous; the eyes both of a doer and a dreamer.

Not more than forty I judged him to be. A close-trimmed, pointed beard did not hide the firm chin and the clean-cut mouth. His hair was thick and black and oddly sprinkled with white; small streaks and dots of gleaming silver that shone with a curiously metallic luster.

His right arm was closely bound to his breast. His manner as he greeted me was tinged with shyness. He extended his left hand in greeting, and as I clasped the fingers I was struck by their peculiar, pronounced, yet pleasant warmth; a sensation, indeed, curiously electric.”

“The Association’s president forced him gently back into his chair.

“Dr. Goodwin,” he said, turning to me, is not entirely recovered as yet from certain unusual—consequences—of his adventure. He will explain to you later what these are. In the mean time, Mr. Merritt, will you read this communication which, under the direction of the Association, I have just forwarded to the editor of Argosy-All-story Weekly. It will appraise you in briefest form of our reasons for calling upon you for assistance.”

I took the sheets he handed me, and as I read them felt the gaze of Dr. Goodwin full upon me, searching, weighing, estimating. When I raised my eyes from the letter I found in his a new expression. The shyness was gone; they were filled with complete friendliness. Evidently I had passed muster.

“You will accept, sir?” It was the president’s gravely courteous tone.

“Accept!” I exclaimed. “Why, of course, I accept. It is not only one of the greatest honors, but to me one of the greatest delights to act as collaborator with Dr. Goodwin.”

The president smiled.

“In that case, sir, there is no need for me to remain longer,” he said. “Dr. Goodwin has with him his manuscript as far as he has progressed with it. I will leave you two alone for your discussion.”

He bowed to us and, picking up his old-fashioned bell-crowned silk hat, his quaint, heavy cane of ebony, started to withdraw, then paused.

“You will bear in mind, Mr. Merritt,” he spoke directly to me, “that there is nothing in what Dr. Goodwin is about to tell you that has not been thoroughly verified and accepted by the International Association. No statement, sir, no matter how bizarre, how weird or how apparently incredible that is not guaranteed by us as truth. And you have the privilege, sir, of consultation with all and any of the Executive Council should any doubt arise in your mind, either on the reading of the manuscripts or after your conversation with Dr. Goodwin.”

“He bowed to us again formally, and departed. Goodwin’s eyes twinkled fondly after him.

“A first water brain, and as direct as a child’s,” he observed.

He changed the subject abruptly.

“I must thank you for the way you handled my manuscripts, Merritt. I grew to like your mind when I went over the published story. But some things you made, I think, entirely too plain.”

“But, Dr. Goodwin,” I began, a trifle chagrined, “it was necessary to make them so. You dealt with, frankly, so much of the improbable that only by proving each experience step by step could the reader be convinced of its absolute verity.”

“I know, I know,” he murmured, somewhat apologetically. “I am not criticizing, my friend. Still—the shaping of the Shining One is what I had most in mind. It was dangerous—dangerous to tell so much.”

“But it was exactly as you wrote it,” I protested. “All that I did was to simplify your technical descriptions.”

“Yes,” again the half-impatient anxiety, the nervousness in his words. “Yes, I know. But in this we must be most careful, Merritt; most careful. There are potentialities—a way to harness a colossal force to make animate and conscious the—the—” he hesitated. “Merritt, if you knew a way to waken the mountains, make them sentient, volant, unleashed to stride over the world—would you shout the secret from the housetops? You know you would not.”

Again he paused; then: “There was menace to the world in the Moon Pool and its Dweller, but not the menace, not a tenth of it, as in that we have just escaped!” he ended.

I looked at him in utter astonishment. His eyes were staring, wild, as though they looked within upon some awful vision. His face twitched painfully.

“Let us go to my rooms.” He had regained his control. “The manuscripts, my notes and—other things—are there.”

Excerpt From: A. Merritt. “The Metal Monster.”

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