M. P. Shiel

Matthew Phipps Shiell (1865 - 1947), who wrote as M. P. Shiel, was a prolific British writer born in the West Indies of an Irish father. His legal surname remained “Shiell” although he adopted the shorter version as a pen name.

Shiel published over 30 books, including 25 novels and various collections of short stories, essays, and poems. Arkham House issued two posthumous collections of his stories, Xélucha and Others (1975) and Prince Zaleski and Cummings King Monk (1977).

The Purple Cloud (1901) is his most famous and often reprinted SF novel. It has been variously described as both a neglected masterpiece and the best of all “Last Man” novels. It was credited as the inspiration for the 1959 MGM film, "The World, the Flesh and the Devil." Stephen King said it was an influence on his novel The Stand.

Other SF works by Shiel included The Yellow Danger (1898), The Lord of the Sea (1901), The Last Miracle (1906), and The Isle of Lies (1909).

Sam Moskowitz devoted a chapter to Shiel in his 1963 reference work, Explorers of the Infinite: Shapers of Science Fiction.