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The Horror of the Heights

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"The Horror of the Heights" is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle. It was first published in Strand Magazine in 1913. The story is told through a blood-stained notebook discovered on the edge of a farm in Withyham. The notebook is written by a Mr. Joyce-Armstrong, and the first two and last pages are missing; the notebook is thus dubbed the "Joyce-Armstrong Fragment". The s "The Horror of the Heights" is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle. It was first published in Strand Magazine in 1913. The story is told through a blood-stained notebook discovered on the edge of a farm in Withyham. The notebook is written by a Mr. Joyce-Armstrong, and the first two and last pages are missing; the notebook is thus dubbed the "Joyce-Armstrong Fragment". The story has appeared in a number of collections, the earliest being Danger! and Other Stories (1918), as well as in more general collections like Volume 5 of The Road to Science Fiction.


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"The Horror of the Heights" is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle. It was first published in Strand Magazine in 1913. The story is told through a blood-stained notebook discovered on the edge of a farm in Withyham. The notebook is written by a Mr. Joyce-Armstrong, and the first two and last pages are missing; the notebook is thus dubbed the "Joyce-Armstrong Fragment". The s "The Horror of the Heights" is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle. It was first published in Strand Magazine in 1913. The story is told through a blood-stained notebook discovered on the edge of a farm in Withyham. The notebook is written by a Mr. Joyce-Armstrong, and the first two and last pages are missing; the notebook is thus dubbed the "Joyce-Armstrong Fragment". The story has appeared in a number of collections, the earliest being Danger! and Other Stories (1918), as well as in more general collections like Volume 5 of The Road to Science Fiction.

30 review for The Horror of the Heights

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ralph

    I re-read this for inspiration and material for an adventure I am running using Forgotten Futures RPG. It is full of some interesting fauna to use as an alien life forms and antagonists against my party aboard an early airship. It is a fairly entertaining read and a chortle for early sci-fi experiences.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

    Compared to ACD's Blue John short story this had far more punch and actually ended at the end rather than half way (OK 2/3rds) of the way through. It was also ultimately more interesting, hence the 4 stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jumper

    I can only imagine how it must have felt to read this story at a time when airplanes were recent innovations and aerospace was a new frontier. For them, the idea of airborne monsters wouldn't have been a stretch. Doyle masterfully capitalizes on that plausibility. We hear most of the narrative from a smart, yet intrepid protagonist. His imagery really brings the story to life: We can feel the rattle of the airplane and the weather as he pushes himself and his plane to the limit. We are in awe as he I can only imagine how it must have felt to read this story at a time when airplanes were recent innovations and aerospace was a new frontier. For them, the idea of airborne monsters wouldn't have been a stretch. Doyle masterfully capitalizes on that plausibility. We hear most of the narrative from a smart, yet intrepid protagonist. His imagery really brings the story to life: We can feel the rattle of the airplane and the weather as he pushes himself and his plane to the limit. We are in awe as he describes these new creatures. We are terrified when the monsters attack him. This horror turns to dread when his narrative finishes with a note hastily written in pencil, when the fearless pilot is doomed and his fate is sealed. A satisfying story from a master story teller.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Roibeárd Ó Sionnach

    Contrary to popular opinion, this isn't even close to the first "Lovecraftian"story. That honor, per H.P.L., himself, should go to Poe's "M.S. Found in a Bottle" and "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket." Compare the ending of "Pym" with that of "At the Mountains of Madness" and remember that tentacled monsters are not a sine quo non of the Cthulhu Mythos. BUT - The Horror of the Heights is most certainly a worthy progenitor for Lovecraft's Outer Horrors that Man Was Not Meant to Know Contrary to popular opinion, this isn't even close to the first "Lovecraftian"story. That honor, per H.P.L., himself, should go to Poe's "M.S. Found in a Bottle" and "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket." Compare the ending of "Pym" with that of "At the Mountains of Madness" and remember that tentacled monsters are not a sine quo non of the Cthulhu Mythos. BUT - The Horror of the Heights is most certainly a worthy progenitor for Lovecraft's Outer Horrors that Man Was Not Meant to Know. And a satisfying one. In typical Conan Doyle fashion, horror is mixed with wit and even dark humor. Lovecraft famously disliked this trait in Robert Louis Stevenson, and I suspect felt similarly about the tale under review. But I enjoyed it. The closing line is all the more memorable, and is likely a good caution for, say, atheists, for example, to guard against reports of unlikely deathbed confessions. ;-) This is a worthy adventure story, a tale of human derring-do gone monstrously wrong. If anything, it suffers from over-explication, a charge often leveled at "Lovecraftian" stories, and I suspect would have been more memorable if the horrors had been left more ... mysterious. But for all that, I give it thumbs-up as a genuinely inventive caution for aerophobes everywhere.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joe Fruge

    While I don't feel that this story holds up under today's scrutiny, I do feel that Doyle did an outstanding job of grasping a subject that had only been in existence for a couple of years. It's interesting to hear him explore the world of flight and introduce fear into it in a very unusual way. I highly suggest listening to the audible version of this with the intro by Stephen King. It will help to give you a much more appreciative perspective before going into it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Behizain

    Escuchado en el podcast de Verne y Wells Ciencia Ficción. Esta historia es precursora de lo que luego se ha llamado "horror cósmico". Aprovecha el desconocimiento que se tenía hace cien años sobre lo que pudiera haber en las capas altas de la atmósfera para contar una pequeña historia de terror.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nilson R.

    In order to fully enjoy this marvelous tale of the unknown and appreciate its rather scaring and daring originality, one has to immerse oneself into the mindset of the early aviators (old-fashioned concepts and all) and their mastering of the then-mysterious skies.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dogdaysinaz

    This is a quick listen. I'm glad Stephen King introduced it so that we have the context of flight at the time of the writing. That definitely helped, but I thought it was supposed to be scary and I didn't get that feeling at all. Bemused at best.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cindi

    Think of how other worldly flying just have been at the time. Put yourself in this position in 1913, listen to the description & think about how supernatural this would have been at the time. Amazing!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julio

    Otro corto entretenimiento, esta vez del propio Conan Doyle, en el ámbito del terror. Interesante también, sin más.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Celo

    One (long) sentence review: This was a little bit lovecraftian story about creatures that lives in the upper atmosphere with writing a bit slow and the tech-info about curvitures and motors useless being in the story like this, but still worth a read for pulp-loving steampunkers and lovecraft fans.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alan E

    Joyce Armstrong desaparece, pero al encontrar los rector del monoplano de este aviador aventurero, se encuentra una libreta con notas escritas por él. Si bien es cierto que hay un grado de fantasía en el relato, resulta curioso lo que se describe en las páginas de esta historia.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Doug Walters

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brett Lewis

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carl Timms

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mikael

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dean

  21. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

  22. 4 out of 5

    K Brown

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michael Grogan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lolliriot

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Hobbs

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marco

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  28. 4 out of 5

    Damian Reyes

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anders Blixt

  30. 5 out of 5

    Floris

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