October 16, 2012


As of today, HiLoBooks’ gorgeous paperback edition of H. Rider Haggard’s science fiction adventure When the World Shook is on bookstore shelves everywhere.

ORDER FROM AMAZON! ($12.44 plus shipping; available for Prime). Or, if you’re eager to help out the cause, send $14.00 per copy via PayPal to: jglenn@hilobrow.com. And if you’re in the West Roxbury area, buy a copy from our friends at PAZZO BOOKS or SEEK BOOKS.

Introduction by James Parker, author of Turned On: A Biography of Henry Rollins and a contributing editor at The Atlantic.

Supplies are limited! Act now! You’ll want to collect every installment in this unique series!

Serialized here at HILOBROW from March through August of this year, When the World Shook concerns adventurers Bastin, Bickley, and Arbuthnot, who discover two Atlanteans in a state of suspended animation on a remote island. One of the awakened sleepers, Lord Oro, is a superman — the last king of the Sons of Wisdom, who’d relied on hyper-advanced technology to subjugate the planet’s lesser peoples. The other is Oro’s sexy daughter, Yva… who falls in love with Arbuthnot. Using astral projection, Lord Oro visits London and the battlefields of the Western Front. Why? To determine whether or not he should once again employ an infernal chthonic machine to drown the worthless human race, as he’d done 250,000 years earlier!

The novel, which Rudyard Kipling helped plot, was first published in 1919. Please note that HiLoBooks has published a very slightly abridged edition of When the World Shook.

“A really splendid romance, rich in color, fresh and gorgeous in its imaginative qualities and power, and needless to add, absorbingly interesting, is this wherein Rider Haggard tells us of what happened ‘When the World Shook.'” — The New York Times (1919)

“Speaking quite soberly and without exaggeration, this story of ‘When the World Shook’ is an amazing novel. Amazing in its imaginative quality, its romance, the splendor of its descriptions, doubly amazing when one remembers that it is the successor to a long series of colorful tales of adventure in savage or extraordinary lands… We frankly admit that, in our opinion at least, Rider Haggard has never conceived and placed before our eyes any pictures more thrilling or more impressive that are contained in this latest book.” — New York Evening Post (1919)

“Rider Haggard has again unbridled his splendid imagination. A thrilling, gigantic wonder tale.” — Pittsburgh Sun (1919)

“If this is pulp fiction it’s high pulp: a Wagnerian opera of an adventure tale, a B-movie humanist apocalypse and chivalric romance. When the World Shook has it all — English gentlemen of leisure, a devastating shipwreck, a volcanic tropical island inhabited by cannibals, an ancient princess risen from the grave, and if that weren’t enough a friendly, ongoing debate between a godless materialist and a devout Christian. H. Rider Haggard’s rich universe is both profoundly camp and deeply idealistic.” — Lydia Millet (2012 blurb for HiLoBooks)

For more info on the Radium Age science fiction book series, visit the HiLoBooks homepage.

What do you think?

  1. I enjoyed reading this online very much — it might be one of my all-time favorite books now, and the new edition is beautiful. All told, I love the idea of this series and am looking forward to reading the other novels you’ve singled out.

    But I was really disappointed to find, from the copyright page of my copy, that this edition was abridged, which wasn’t mentioned anywhere on your website that I could see. Now I’ll have to sell off my copy and find an unabridged edition.

    I’m afraid this also makes me think twice about buying the Radium Age series in the future. I think it’s necessary to at least let your audience know about any abridgements, although not making them is far preferable.

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful and constructive criticism, Elijah. I’m thrilled that we’ve made you a fan of WHEN THE WORLD SHOOK. Yes, our edition is (slightly, but surely) abridged. Same goes for our edition of THE PEOPLE OF THE RUINS; our edition of THE NIGHT LAND is radically abridged. At the present time, we don’t plan to abridge any of our other books. Why did we do it? To keep costs down — a book must be a multiple of 16 pages, and when you’ve got a text that’s 290 pages long, I reluctantly decided that it’s better — cost-wise — to shave it down to 288, rather than print a 304-page book with 14 blank pages. HiLoBooks is a labor of love — meaning that it doesn’t quite earn back what it costs, so I’m making up the difference out of my own pocket. Hence my decision. Also, having read WHEN THE WORLD SHOOK several times, I was all too aware that Haggard was padding the narrative out in places.. so that made me feel a bit better about making cuts.

    I’ve tried to advertise the abridgements boldly on the HiLoBooks homepage.

    Send me back your copy and I’ll reimburse you!

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