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The Opener of the Way
Dust-jacket illustration by Ronald Clyne for The Opener of the Way
AuthorRobert Bloch
Cover artistRonald Clyne
CountryUnited States
Genrefantasy, horror
PublisherArkham House
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardback)
Pagesxi, 309 pp

The Opener of the Way is a collection of fantasy and horror short stories by American writer Robert Bloch. It was released in 1945 and was the author's first book. It was published by Arkham House in an edition of 2,065 copies.[1] A British hardcover was issued by Neville Spearman in 1974, with Panther Books issuing a two-volume paperback reprint in 1976.[2] An Italian translation, with the stories reordered, appeared in 1991.[3] The collection was never reprinted in the United States, but its contents (aside from Bloch's introduction) were included in the 1994 omnibus The Early Fears.[1]

Most of the stories had appeared in the magazine Weird Tales in the 1930s and 1940s.


The Opener of the Way contains the following tales:

  1. "By Way of Introduction"
  2. "The Cloak"
  3. "Beetles"
  4. "The Fiddler's Fee"
  5. "The Mannikin"
  6. "The Strange Flight of Richard Clayton"
  7. "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper"
  8. "The Seal of the Satyr"
  9. "The Dark Demon"
  10. "The Faceless God"
  11. "The House of the Hatchet"
  12. "The Opener of the Way"
  13. "Return to the Sabbath"
  14. "The Mandarin's Canaries"
  15. "Waxworks"
  16. "The Feast in the Abbey"
  17. "Slave of the Flames"
  18. "The Shambler from the Stars"
  19. "Mother of Serpents"
  20. "The Secret of Sebek"
  21. "The Eyes of the Mummy"
  22. "One Way to Mars"

Critical reception

Stephen King listed The Opener of the Way as one of Arkham House's "most important works".[4] Stephen Jones and Kim Newman included the collection in Horror: Another 100 Best Books, with Joel Lang noting that it demonstrated Bloch's "meteoric development from faux-Gothic pastiche to sour, elliptical portraits of urban damnation".[5] Don D'Ammassa stated that "Although some of the stories are crude by [Bloch's] later standards, there is a raw power to many of them that has ensured their continued popularity".[6]


The creators of the game Half-Life 2 reference Bloch's work: the central villain, Dr. Wallace Breen refers to the player's character, Gordon Freeman in a televised speech saying "And yet, unsophisticated minds continue to imbue him with romantic power, giving him such dangerous poetic labels as 'the one free man, the opener of the way.'"

The Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game features (in the third Monster Manual) a creature called Allabar, Opener of the Way.


  1. ^ a b Joshi, S.T. (1999). Sixty Years of Arkham House: A History and Bibliography. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House. p. 31. ISBN 0-87054-176-5.
  2. ^ ISFDB publication history The second paperback volume was titled House of the Hatchet.
  3. ^ ISFDB listing
  4. ^ Danse Macabre, Simon & Schuster, 1981. chap. 2
  5. ^ Jones & Newman, Horror: Another 100 Best Books, Running Press, 2005, p.25
  6. ^ Encyclopedia of Fantasy and Horror Fiction, Infobase Publishing, 2009, p.27