the Violet
A Voyage to Arcturus

“I am the stronger and the mightier. Crystalman’s Empire is but a shadow on the face of Muspel. But nothing will be done without the bloodiest of blows...”

— Krag, A Voyage to Arcturus, ch. XXI, “Muspel”

Originally titled Nightspore in Tormance, Lindsay’s most famous novel was begun after a long gestation period, and finished in March 1920. It was issued later that year by Methuen, in the UK, the first publisher to whom it was offered. (The first US edition was in 1963, from Macmillan.) It sold only 596 copies of its initial print run of 1430.

Times ad
Ad from The Times announcing A Voyage to Arcturus, 17th September 1920

After a visit to a séance, Maskull and his dour companion Nightspore are invited to journey to the satellite planet of the binary star Arcturus by a stranger called Krag. Separated from his companions on their arrival, Maskull, who finds himself to have sprouted new sensory organs, learns that Krag is thought of as the Devil of this world. However, he soon learns that the “God”, called Crystalman, is not all he seems either...

More detailed plot summary here.


See the Voyage to Arcturus editions page for a list, and the audiobooks page for audiobook editions.

See the Voyage to Arcturus gallery page for cover artwork, and the Heyne 1986 edition illustrations gallery for some interior illustrations.

You can read reviews of the best (Savoy Books) and worst (Bison Press) editions of A Voyage To Arcturus. Also, here is Victor Gollancz’s publisher’s note to his 1946 reissue of the novel.


If you want a well-formatted ebook of A Voyage to Arcturus with a reliable text, we have a special Violet Apple site edition, downloadable for free, either as an epub or mobi (for kindle) file.

To download the ebook, and read about the details of the text and how it was prepared, visit the A Voyage to Arcturus ebook page.

(This edition can also be bought as a hardback.)

Adaptations & works inspired by A Voyage to Arcturus

See the Adaptations & works inspired by... page for a list of various creative works, including music, painting, theatrical adaptations, and video art that have taken David Lindsay’s novel as a direct inspiration.


What’s it all about? — Critics’ attempts to sum up the book in one line.

Four Approaches to A Voyage to Arcturus — Is Lindsay’s book philosophy or vision? Asking this question (or assuming the answer to it) is the first step most critics of A Voyage to Arcturus take. Here is an exploration of some of the answers they’ve given.

Comparisons — Although one of the most original works of fantasy fiction, there have inevitably been comparisons between Arcturus and other works.

Arcturan names — A look at the bizarre names Lindsay uses throughout his book.


Why does Lindsay mention the “Drury Lane” production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute? See “Echoes of the Temple — A Voyage to Arcturus and The Magic Flute”.