As you can imagine, we are proud, pleased, delighted, and deeply honored to announce Castalia House’s publication of AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND by John C. Wright. It is, quite simply, one of the best books I have ever had the privilege of reading. If you peruse the Reading Lists on the right sidebar, you can see that I have read a considerable number of SF/F works considered to be of high quality in the last five years alone. So, you can be confident that I know whereof I speak, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest, when I tell you that AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND will be one of the best books you read this year if you have the courage to enter one of the most daunting realms in literature.
It is not an easy book to categorize. Part anthology, part novel, AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND consists of four novellas that are tied together in one vast story spanning five million years. It is a masterful combination of three literary subgenres, SF, Fantasy, and Horror. It is set in the world first created in an obscure novel published in 1912 and yet it is far more original than the vast majority of SF/F published in the last fifty years. It is remorselessly grim story set in a more inhumanly horrific environment than anything you are likely to imagine, and yet it is an uplifting tribute to the unquenchable human spirit.
It is monstrous and glorious and ghastly and magnificent.
Consider the reactions of the early reviewers:
- “The Last of All Suns” may be the best SF novella I have ever read. I am not kidding.
- Every now and then someone comes along who not only can say things
nicely, but can say _important_ things nicely. That somebody, in the
modern age, is John C. Wright.
- He projects an atmosphere of hope amid the vast emptiness of a dead world.
- Set millions of years in the future the story and
setting can really only be compared to the worst nightmares of
Lovecraft. I cannot stress enough, read this book! If you like
Lovecraft, the darkest visions of Stephen King, or the visions of H.R.
Giger you will love this book. If you like science fiction especially
the ‘Dying Earth’ genre of Jack Vance, Leigh Brackett, Michael Moorcock,
you will love this book. If you’ve never heard of those authors or those books, read this book.
I have written a number of books. Never once have I said to you, my readers, “you must read this book”. That is because I have never written a book like this one. There are a very small number of books of which I would say “you must read this book”: The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. Watership Down by Richard Adams.
There were also others that came close, books that I enjoyed very much indeed, but did not quite justify the assertion. Embassytown by China Mieville. Cryptonomicon and Anathem by Neal Stephenson. A Game of Thrones by George Martin. Night Watch by Terry Pratchett. Dune by Frank Herbert.
I will tell you now that if you appreciate excellent books, then you must read this one. I cannot imagine you will regret it.
As a child, I was much struck by the quote of the reviewer for The Times in his review of Watership Down: “I announce with trembling pleasure the appearance of a great story.” But I am not so much trembling with pleasure as shaking my head in awe as I announce the appearance of a story that may sit on the shelves in the mighty company of the aforementioned books without feeling shame.
In addition to the Amazon links provided above, Awake in the Night Land is also available in epub format at Smashwords.