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The Inheritors

An Extravagant Story

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Author: Joseph Conrad (Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski)
Co-author: Ford Madox Ford
Published: 1901
Language: English
Wordcount: 62,744 / 181 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 82
LoC Category: PS
Downloads: 2,860
Added to site: 2005.12.21 10703

regal--in this manner of hers; it was rather frightening in those lonely places, which were so forgotten, so gray, so closed in. There was something of the past world about the hanging woods, the little veils of unmoving mist--as if time did not exist in those furrows of the great world; and one was so absolutely alone; anything might have happened. I grew weary of the sound of my tongue. But when I wanted to cease, I found she had on me the effect of some incredible stimulant.

We came to the end of the valley where the road begins to climb the southern hill, out into the open air. I managed to maintain an uneasy silence. From her grimly dispassionate reiterations I had attained to a clear idea, even to a visualisation, of her fantastic conception--allegory, madness, or whatever it was. She certainly forced it home. The Dimensionists were to come in swarms, to materialise, to devour like locusts, to be all the more irresistible because indistinguishable. They were to come like snow in the night: in the

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 2.5 from 2 reviews: ***
JoJo Biggins

I read the first chapter, and was bored out of my skull. I started to give up there, but then I read the glowing review just prior to mine in which it was stated that the book is slow in the beginning, but worth the read in the end. So, I tried again. I couldn't bear to read entire chapters, so I started skimming. I got all the way to chapter 17, before I gave up again. I can't see any redeeming qualities in this story whatsoever.

There is no action and no intrigue. It's mostly people talking, and not about interesting topics. Again, boring is the key word.


Although classified as a science fiction novel, this late work of Conrad is probably best thought of as commentary on the British political system of the time. It uses the literary device of all-seeing, semi-omniscient "Fourth Dimensionalists" to forecast and contribute to the downfall of those manipulating the British economic system. In many ways, this novel reads a lot like the commentary on "the system" that is so prevalent in Conrad's "The Secret Agent" or, in a different South American setting, his "Nostromo". Conrad's strength in most of his novels is revealing the inner workings of the minds of his characters. Readers of "The Inheritors" will not be disappointed in that aspect of it. If you like Conrad, you will probably find this novel enjoyable, as I did - but not because of the thin sci-fi overlay. The Inheritors moves a little slowly at first, as is typical of Conrad's work, but is worth the reading time in the end.



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