Worming the Harpy and other Bitter Pills


#0114 Worming the Harpy (1994) is the story that gives the book its name.

Worming the Harpy and other Bitter Pills

Book Description

The tales contained within Worming the Harpy and other Bitter Pills are set in a surreal world of nightmares all too closely identifiable with real life. If The Cabinet of Dr Caligari was retouched by Ralph Steadman, with The Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” as a soundtrack, you would have only the slightest inkling of the scintillating and horrific world conjured by Rhys Hughes.
As E.F. Bleiler states in his Afterword: “What do I like about Rhys Hughes’s work? Fun. Hughes sees and precipitates in words the latent humour in almost anything.”

In praise of Hughes:

“Imagine (if you dare) a whimsical marriage of Lord Dunsany and S.J. Perelman, and you have something approaching the tales of Rhys Hughes, filled with gaudy colour, slapstick, puns, fantastic creatures, and the occasional unexpected chill. Hughes’ world is a magical one – and his language if the most magical thing of all.” – Ted Klein, author of The Ceremonies

“The stories are essentially literature in its purest form – wonderfully rumbustuous, humorous, word-magical fantasies, liberally peppered with honest-to-goodness horror. They remind me of Lord Dunsany, John Barth, Jorge Luis Borges, Jack Vance, involving fabulous traditions of surrealism, fairy stories and piquant wit . . . Rhys Hughes’ book is one that I had dreamed of reading but never thought I’d be so lucky ever to do so in real life.” – Deathrealm

“Rhys Hughes is a very good writer . . . a fabulist whose sense of the absurd is peerless.” – Grotesque

“The overall tone is one of disturbing, occasionally shocking surrealism . . . fans and others who are looking for something significantly offbeat in supernatural fiction will be delighted with this, his first book.” – All Hallows


The cover Artwork

The cover Artwork for all editions are from R.B. Russell

Details Hardcover

  • First Edition: October 1995 [2]
  • Publisher: Tartarus Press
  • ISBN: 978-1-872621-20-3
  • Pages: 203
  • 200 numbered copies, plus 26 which were lettered A-Z and signed by the author

Details Paperback

Worming the Harpy and other Bitter Pills

For too long out of print, we are pleased to make this collection available once again, now in paperback. (2011)

  • First Edition: 10 February 2011 [1] [2]
  • Publisher: Tartarus Press
  • ISBN: 978-1-905784-31-8
  • Pages: 231

Details Kindle Edition

Worming the Harpy and other Bitter Pills

  • Kindle Edition
  • Publication Date: 4 December 2011
  • File Size: 309 KB
  • Print Length: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Tartarus Press

External links

Tartarus Press


[1] This editon adds The Forest Chapel Bell, first publish in Tales from Tartarus
[2] Sold Out


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