Read Gather, Darkness! by Fritz Leiber Online


GATHER, DARKNESS! is a science-fiction classic. It tells the story of Armon Jarles, a man on the edge, living amidst the disputes of two rival powers at large in the world. 360 years after a nuclear holocaust ravaged mankind, throwing society back into the dark ages, the world is fraught with chaos and superstition. The new rulers over the masses of humanity are the technoGATHER, DARKNESS! is a science-fiction classic. It tells the story of Armon Jarles, a man on the edge, living amidst the disputes of two rival powers at large in the world. 360 years after a nuclear holocaust ravaged mankind, throwing society back into the dark ages, the world is fraught with chaos and superstition. The new rulers over the masses of humanity are the techno-priests of the Great God, endowed with scientific knowledge lost to the rest of humanity. Jarles, originally of peasant descent, rises to become a priest of the Great God. He knows the gospel propagated by the priests to be a fraud, based on illusion and trickery. Even more offensive to him is the paucity of true believers among the priesthood. One day he rebels against his priestly training and attempts to incite the peasants to rise up and demand freedom, but they are not ready. Jarles is not the only dissenter trying to sabotage and expose the false theocracy of the priesthood witchcraft is slowly gaining strength and support among the populace. about to throw him headlong into the middle of the greatest holy war the world has ever seen....

Title : Gather, Darkness!
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781585861064
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 172 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Gather, Darkness! Reviews

  • BillKerwin
    2019-03-30 23:18

    Have you wondered where George Lucas got the idea for that light sabre? Right here. This book. That's where he got it. This groundbreaking work of dystopian fiction (1950)is an exciting, well-plotted novel which has influenced at least three generations of writers. It tells of a future dark age brought on by a well-meaning group of scientists who, wishing to prevent all further wars, invent a god, offer themselves as a priesthood and present their technological marvels--used primarily for social control--as miracles. They choose witchcraft as their bogeyman and persecute witches unmercifully--in spite of the fact that witchcraft is virtually non-existent, practiced by a few wizened female herb doctors accompanied by their pet cats.As often happens, what we choose to fear and persecute--however trivial it may be at the start--gains in significance and power over us. A new witchcraft arises, with what look to be real magical powers, and its witches possess extraordinarily helpful familiars--not cats, but monkey things with uncannily human faces.This is classic science fiction, recommended to everyone who loves the genre. Or, for that matter, anyone who loves a good story. The light sabre bit is just a little icing on the cake.

  • Stephen
    2019-03-28 20:13

    5.0 stars. Leiber's best novel and a great read. Set in a postapocalyptic future Earth, the "Hierarchy of the Great God" controls all technology (and the people) with a iron fist. The main character, a young priest named Brother Armon Jarles, speaks out against the ruling class and finds an underground movement with sophisticated technology of its own. THEN THE BATTLE IS ON. A great read. Highly recommended.

  • Derek
    2019-04-10 21:05

    It's never clear, as the story progresses, how nihilistic or devout the priests and Witches are. This dystopia is a completely cynical fabrication of medieval church structure and iron-fisted scientific control, with the priests theoretically are entirely two-faced about it, preaching to the peasantry while institutionally nihilistic and pragmatic. But hints indicate that they, and by equal token the Witches, have begun to believe their own fabrications and imagery. (view spoiler)[Then again, the Fanatic party of the priests--the most verbally strident about the doctrine and internal purity--is revealed to be shot through with traitors using the system to another purpose.(hide spoiler)] Getting to the bottom of any person's core belief is a journey containing several reversals.The story is touched through with small baroque details that add so much. There are mad scientists, and then there is the mad scientist who experiments upon himself, remolding his own personality towards greater efficiency. There are the familiars, who are 'familiar' for good reason. There is the sentence of excommunication, which in this society is a removal from the world in a sensory-deprivation sense.

  • Marvin
    2019-04-06 15:05

    Fritz Leiber was so good at so many genres. He wrote two of my favorite horror novels, Conjure Wife and Our Lady Of Darkness. The sword and sorcery fans revere him for his Fahred and the Grey Mauser series. He even wrote some endearing philosophical inquiries in his late life such as The Mystery of the Japanese Clock. Gather Darkness is in the realm of science fiction and, while many state that it is his greatest novel, I find it a bit weak. In fact, Gather Darkness reads much like a fantasy since the main idea is that the earth has descended into a post-apocalyptic period in which scientists use technology disquised as the supernatural and enslave the people in a religious hoax. Witches, wayward priests, and satanic familiars all make a visit to these pages and are all explained in natural terms; a la science fiction. It is all quite enjoyable and there is some of Leiber's best prose in this work. But I guess I like my fantasies, and science fiction, a bit more straight-laced. Nonetheless, three and a half stars for a story that kept my interest to the last page.

  • John
    2019-04-19 22:49

    Leiber's Classic Dystopia of Religion Versus Witchcraft"Gather, Darkness" was one of two dystopian novels written by Fritz Leiber (The other was "A Specter Is Haunting Texas".). Without question this splendid little novel still remains one of his most impressive literary achievements. It is also one of the best conceived, best written novels of a dismal future for humanity. Three hundred years after a nuclear holocaust, humanity is ruled by a secretive religious brotherhood, the Hierarchy of the Great God, which uses science as the supernatural means of ensuring its control over an impoverished, predominantly illiterate population. Opposing this brotherhood is a secret society of witches, the followers of Sathanas, seeking to use science to overthrow the brotherhood's tyrannical theocracy. A young Hierarchy priest, Brother Armon Jarles, skeptical of his beliefs and the Hierarchy's orthodoxy, soon finds himself caught in the bitter struggle between both groups. A struggle that is meant to gather darkness against the Hierarchy's grip on power. (Reposted from my 2003 Amazon review.)

  • Mary JL
    2019-03-25 16:17

    Written in the 1940's this novel postulates a future where the Hierarchy control the populace by using religion as a control. Using science to produce false "miracles" the Hierarchy brainwashes the populace into obedience--the more clever of the 'commoners' are encouraged to join the priesthood.So, when an group of revolutionaries begins to overthrow the tyrants, the rebels disguise themselves as "witches" and use their science to create miraculous effects ascribed to "Sathanas".It is an oddly compelling book and the premise was unusual for the 1940's (several writer have used similar ideas since them). The idea of the witches having 'familiars'---basically cloned symbiotes--was a nice touch.But the plot holes and rushed ending make it only an okay book. Definitely worth reading once, hoeever.

  • Charles Dee Mitchell
    2019-04-02 22:14

    Fritz Leiber published Conjure Wife in 1943. It remains a classic American tale of modern witchcraft, still as effective any Val Lewton production for RKO pictures. Apparently Leiber was not ready to leave the witchcraft theme behind, because that same year he took it into a far future sf tale, Gather Darkness. The results were hardly another classic. In this tale, Earth is ruled by a religious brotherhood that while enjoying some of the benefits of advanced technology themselves keep the populace living in a near medieval society, perpetually in fear of divine retribution. Social hierarchies are strictly maintained, and no greater honor can befall a family than to have one of its sons selected for the priesthood. But initiation into the priesthood could hardly go the way acolytes might expect. The first thing a novice learns is that the whole religion is a sham, kept in place to keep the populace in theirs. And this is a full time job. Not only do the orders of the priesthood fight constantly among themselves, there are disturbing accounts of witchcraft and worship of The Dark One taking hold of the hoi poloi. Of course the priests know that whoever is pulling off these feats of witchcraft have to be using technology the same way the priests use it themselves. But people are spooked and ready to switch alliances. I worry that I am making this sound more interesting than it is. The story does have potential, but the writing is stiff and the dialog is terrible. There is a lot of not very interesting intrigue, and the resolution hardly comes as a surprise. I am baffled by other reader reviews who say this is Leiber's best novel. Both Conjure Wife and The Big Time far surpass it.

  • Zach
    2019-04-11 21:51

    This book has a fantastic premise: centuries ago, after a cataclysmic war that ended the Golden Atomic Age, a group of scientists enshrined their knowledge within a new religion intended to guide humanity through the new dark age. Unsurprisingly, this has led instead to a tyrannical "theocracy" of priests who use their advanced technology in concert with the ignorance of the commoners in order to maintain the status quo through "miracles," all the while pushing the promised return to the Golden Age farther and farther into the future. They are opposed in this by the New Witchcraft, a renegade sect that, of course, using technology to pretend they have the magical support of the Dark Lord Sathanas. As above, so below.I also love that this book starts on page 1 with "main character" Jarles deciding mid-service that he is fed up with the lies of the Hierarchy and launching into a fiery denouncement of the regime. After so many modern novels that are little more than hyper-extended prologues,this is a breath of fresh air.It's too bad that pretty much everything else about this book is garbage. Over and over, the narrative lurches forward and then halts for long stretches, and the book is only like 200 pages long! The characters, such as they are, don't make any sense in their motivations or choices or relationships, and the writing is a textbook example of the bizarrely over-eager and earnest prose that golden age pulp sf tends toward.

  • Courtney
    2019-04-08 16:56

    In it's favor: this book is short, imaginative and oddly compelling.The downside: Like many sci fi writers of the 1950s, Fritz Leiber has a limited view of the value of women in society. His views of men aren't much better. Maybe it's just that he doesn't know how to develop character? Actually, there's a lot about the structure of this novel that is eye-rollingly silly."Gather, Darkness!" is a sci fi novel about a dictatorial regime of atheists who keep the common people oppressed, modeling their feudal society on the Dark Ages. Then witches bands together to wreak havoc on the oppressive hierarchy.If I were in a deeper mood when I read this, I might have read a very 1950s-specific political message in "Gather, Darkness!" I mean, an elite tier of oppressive atheist dictators lead an oppressed populace ... hmmm, wonder who they could represent? But the morality and the political overtones of this book are a bit too simple to deserve much deep thought.It's better as candy than as philosophy. Strange, oddly compelling, a good antidote to my literary malaise. I kept turning the pages all the way to the end.

  • Frances
    2019-04-15 17:11

    Loved Mother Jujy, and was largely entertained by the action and amused by the characters.Overall perfectly workable, but seems a bit heavy on the This Is A Grand Idea aspect of the story at times, in a slightly info-dumpy way. Towards the end I felt the resolution was unwinding by fiat; this is justified by the setting, but the delivery seemed uninteresting to me.Might just be a phrasing thing, or the fact that I was reading it in an ebook.Overall, decent, but if you want to read Leiber writing about witchcraft, hie thee over to Conjure Wife (also available doubled with Our Lady of Darkness in Dark Ladies: Conjure Wife/Our Lady of Darkness); I thought that was a much better book.

  • Olethros
    2019-04-06 21:51

    -El miedo es un arma de dominio. Y lo desconocido es lo que más asusta-.Género. Ciencia-Ficción.Lo que nos cuenta. En el futuro, y para no volver al estado de caos que sufrió la civilización después de la última guerra, los hombres de ciencia crearon una religión sostenida por los “milagros” de su conocimiento técnico. Pero la religión degeneró hacia un gobierno fundamentalista tiránico, al que sólo unos pocos tratan de oponerse, aunque con sus mismas armas.¿Quiere saber más del libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

  • Tom Loock
    2019-03-30 14:52

    I actually translated this one into German - uncredited!

  • Gary Sedivy
    2019-04-06 19:53

    Interesting to read a story from the 1940s. Fritz imagined holograms and GPS, computers and telecommunication, small atomic power packs, and the fall of mankind into tyranny. In this story, the setting is a society which has degraded into serfdom. The ruling party is not a king or queen, but an oligarchy of scientists. Science has become the god, the scientist/priests are in control. The society has also fallen into a type of Dark Ages, in which the serfs are basically ignorant, and the science is shown as a 'magical' - the serfs are awed by the amazing wonders. Their lives are an archipelago of toil and penury. The ruling class lives in luxury and comfort - definitely the 'have-nots' versus the 'haves'.An opponent arises, and is categorized as 'witchcraft' and from Satan. Make no mistake, there is nothing spiritual about either the state religion, or the satanic opponents. The state wants to maintain power, the followers of Satan want to free the people from that power and placed under their own. Both the state religion and the opponents think they know what is best for the people. At no point is freedom, whether spiritual or political, the goal - only who gets to make the law.Still, it interests me that the SF writers recognize that mankind left to itself, without the rudder of faith and the resulting morality, will descend into tyranny. On the other hand, they also refuse to seriously consider that faith in God, or Jesus Christ, is a fundamental building block in creating a free and robust culture.

  • Nicholas Whyte
    2019-03-25 18:14[return][return]This is a rollicking Golden Age of Science Fiction story (which I got electronically from FictionWise); the earth is dominated by a hierarchical religion which actually uses advanced science to perform what appear to be miracles; the subversive opposition organises as witches and warlocks. Published in 1943, it's a precursor to Arthur C Clarke's Third Law, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". It's also in part a riposte to the two Heinlein novels, If This Goes On... aka Revolt in 2100 in which a religious dictatorship is overthrown by a few good men and women, and Sixth Column in which a sinister Asian invasion of the USA is overthrown by a resistance movement disguised as a religion, both published a few years earlier.[return][return]Leiber's book is much more fun than I remember the Heinleins as being (it's twenty years since I read them, of course). Much more theatrical; much more improbable (the scene of the haunted house comes dangerously close to being silly). But great fun, and fuel for pulp cliches for decades afterwards.

  • Pierre Fortier
    2019-03-30 16:06

    Sempiternel combat entre le bien et le mal, la Hiérarchie contre la Nouvelle Sorcellerie. Le tout se passe à une fictive époque du futur, après l'Âge D'Or, où la religion du Grand Dieu est dominée par les différents cercles du pouvoir. Comme de fait, les insoumis, genre de sorcières et sorciers satanistes, s'opposent à l'hégémonie du nouveau clergé. Ça rebondit de tout bord tout côté, avec ou sans cohésion (je me le demande encore) où les ficelles de l'intrigue deviennent les cordeaux de l'ennui.Vraiment pas ma tasse de thé ce roman d'anticipation. Si ma critique n'est pas très inspirée, c,est sans doute parce que ce roman écrit en 1943 ne l'est pas (inspirant).

  • Tim
    2019-04-04 18:00

    A bizarre and entertaining dystopian tale, of a futuristic theocracy which uses all the tools of science (and whose rulers are nearly all atheists) to manipulate and cow the populace in a somewhat Medieval style. The hero falls in with the "witches," who seem to be using the same tactics to raise a rebellion.This is one of those books that must have been far more subversive in its first decade or so (published in 1943), but now seems like a weirdly amusing little adventure. (As a good friend of mine noted, it also has what is likely the first precursor of the light saber.)

  • T.
    2019-04-03 23:16

    A classic book that pits science masquerading as religion against science in service to freedom. It's a classic "What if?" look at the extremes to which religion ill-used can take humans and a culture. A great adventure story with fantasy, mystery, science and jeopardy galore. For the younger crowd, this is how to write a great story with great adventure. Tom.

  • Víctor Antón
    2019-04-05 20:06

    Mira que le tengo cariño a esta colección de Bruguera, pero es indecente el número de errores tipográficos y de edición que se comenten. Tanto que te sacan de la lectura. Eso unido a que la traducción no es para tirar cohetes pues le resta mucho valor a un libro que de por sí es precedente de muchas cosas que vinieron luego. Especialmente interesante es lo que hoy llaman algunos worlbuilding y que no es más que eso, la forma que tiene el autor de crear ante nuestros ojos un mundo creíble en todos sus detalles. En definitiva sin una edición tan deficiente la lectura se enriquecería.

  • Behizain
    2019-03-23 20:49

    No he conseguido sintonizar en ningún momento con esta historia. El tema parecía interesante (una sociedad distópica en la que la ciencia ha sido ocultada al público disfrazada de religión) pero con tantos rayos, campos de fuerza y personajes que no me decían nada, se me ha hecho muy aburrida.

  • David Allen
    2019-03-29 20:17

    A holy war between priests and witches isn't what it seems on either side. Full of strong and slightly mysterious characters and visual writing.

  • Estott
    2019-04-13 16:19

    A great read, my only criticism is that I'd have liked a little more length and detail- the novel gets into a complex situation very quickly, I'd have liked a little more background and history.

  • David
    2019-04-08 16:58

    Bastante flojete. En ningún momento te termina de enganchar. Tampoco aporta nada reseñable.Uno de esos libros que te hace replantear si lo vas a terminar de leer

  • Nils
    2019-04-17 14:50

    Took me several months to finish this (Kobo ran out of battery) so can't really remember if it was good throughout but I reckon it was. Ending wasn't great though.

  • CarlPalmateer
    2019-04-03 20:51

    Another interesting, lesser known work of Mr. Leiber. Its a good story to while away the time and explore the links between superstition, science, power and society.

  • Johnny
    2019-03-29 15:01

    Settling into Gather Darkness, a classic work by Fritz Leiber, one doesn’t initially realize that this is a predecessor to that South Park episode where epithets like “Science Damn It” and “Praise Science!” have replaced references to the divine. Gather Darkness isn’t really a direct ancestor to the comedy (two-part) episode, but it is one of those apocalyptic stories where science has become the main religion of humankind. Yet, the main religion still uses the idea of the Great God as a visual and conceptual metaphor for power and meaning for the society. The Hierarchy deliberately keeps the populace ignorant in order to protect their era from ending prematurely as did the Golden Age before it. If this sounds vaguely familiar, Leiber seems to be retelling the era in which priests deliberately kept their congregations ignorant in order to make said congregation dependent upon said priests and the church, in general. Against such involuntary control, we know that some people joined covens and rebelled against the church by worshipping the devil. This was the shadow in my mind while reading Gather Darkness. Even when the opposition is called “The Witchcraft” and their “lord” is called “Sathanas,” this disconcerting background must haunt the reader. Since my loyalty runs in the opposite direction, I almost stopped reading this volume.I am glad I didn’t stop reading Gather Darkness. Leiber not only introduces a clever idea with regard to so-called “familiars” but this old Protestant breathed slightly easier to discover the origin of these very sentient beings. Of course, I didn’t enjoy the characterization of the medieval church and I’m not nearly as idealistic as the novel’s denouement suggests society should be. Still, it was a fascinating resolution to the story and certainly took me in a different direction than I thought it was headed.

  • Michael Pryor
    2019-03-20 15:55

    Mid-century, solid,quaint.

  • Joe Santoro
    2019-04-10 22:58

    Plot: It's 2305, and the Hierarchy has ruled mankind for 139 years, meteing out the grace of the Great God to the poor peasants of Earth. The Witchcraft (both an organization and a talent) seems set to oppose them, using the same 'miracles' (in the form of atomic techology disguised as 'miracles') in the name of their secret leader, Asmodeus. In the middle of it all is a young priest name Jarles having a crisis of faith and a girl with a secret.Analysis: I couldn't help but think of the Foundation reading this.. almost a 'what if the foundation failed'. The parallel of having technology saved after a big war by hiding it as religions is obvious. I don't think there's a connection though (both were written pretty close to each other)... seemingly just great sci-fi minds thinking alike.Some cool technology here... they pretty much have holographic recording, which is pretty cutting edge (I'm not sure that was even a think yet in the 40s... if it was, it was just a vague concept), and 'wrath rays' that are somewhere between Starman's rod and a lightsaber.. there's what amounts to a light saber duel towards the end, which is sweet. for a book written 40+ years before Star Wars. Of course, being at the dawn of the 'atomic age' they thought radiation was, well, pretty much magic. There's emotion control, brainwashing, memory wiping, all manner of stuff, just add the right wavelengths and you're good to go. My only complaint is the writing style, which used alot of sentence fragments and was very choppy at times (especially during dramatic scenes)... I didn't find it dramatic, more annoying. Other than that, an excellent read!

  • Frank
    2019-04-08 17:12

    This is, I believe, Leiber's second novel...and it feels like an author who hasn't quite figured out how to fit ideas comfortably into a story. It's an interesting concept, and some of the clunkiness is in a way charming, the central character for much of the book is just sort of dropped near the end, but overall it's preachy and while still more complex and nuanced than many's just not that good, though it read pretty quickly and was entertaining enough...I just expect more from Leiber.

  • Madhurabharatula Pranav Rohit Kasinath
    2019-04-01 17:08

    Gather, Darkness is an ambiguous book. It deals with themes of revolution, religion, revenge and righteousness without devoting enough time to any of them to say anything of impact. The prose is excellent, the characters amazingly etched, the details and world building are extremely detailed for such a brief book - but the impression you leave with is still that of a world Half formed. A great scientific and technological war drives humanity to near extinction after which scientists organise themselves into a r religious priesthood known as the Hierarchy. This is a more or less totalitarian regime, subjugating the commoners and reaping the rewards of a unrestricted Theocracy. Armon Jarles, a noble, hotheaded young priest dreams of freeing the commoners from the subjugation of the Hierarchy and discovers himself caught between its subtle power and the the schemes of the underground Witchcraft. But what are the goals of the Witchcraft and who controls it from beyond the shadows?On the whole the book did deliver on more than one surprise and I found it quite enjoyable in bits and pieces but the pacing is dreadfuly off and could have done with some better editing. All in all this is an interesting and diverting book and I surely look forward to reading more of leiber.

  • Patrick Sprunger
    2019-04-08 21:17

    Gather, Darkness! Is nothing short of a disaster. I've spent a month fumbling for a better word, but "disaster" is as accurate a word as I can come up with. The book tries to be everything - which few (as in, literally a couple of) serious master writers can handle. Lieber is like a kid who finds himself straddling a motorcycle with more power than he can control. Rather than looking cool and doing some fly wheelies, he drives it through the backyard fence and makes it onto a musical montage on AFV.It's a shame, because Lieber's main characters are genuinely engaging (a rarity in genre fiction). Losing one's religion from the high platform of an archbishopric is a heavy subject and damn if Lieber doesn't handle it with poise. But when you introduce magic wands, a 200 foot animatronic candy dispensing Jesus, and - no shit - robot angels in jet packs... You're in over your literary and philosophical head. Lieber dug this hole for himself. It's his own damn fault he couldn't get out and this book is such a disaster.