Comments on Arthur B's The Borderland Between Subgenres

A William Hope Hodgson classic balances cosmic and psychological horror deftly.

Comments (go to latest)
John at 17:06 on 2018-09-04
Hodgson is one of those authors with a huge gap of quality between his good stuff and the drek. My first encounter with Hodgson was through the Carnacki series which I found out about on Ferretbrain. Carnacki isn't horrible, but it's the worst kind of "scientific occultism" as Lovecraft would put it. Then I tried The Night Land, and didn't touch a single thing of Hodgson's for five years or so. It was only last year that I tried reading House and the difference is incredible. A Stephen King story reads like a Stephen King story, whether good or bad, but Hodgson seems completely different from good stories to bad.

According to Wikipedia, Hodgson considered The House on the Borderland to be the middle of a trilogy of sorts. The other two books are The Boats of the Glen Carrig and The Ghost Pirates, and both are pretty great. Boats is an adventure story; think Harryhausen meets Lovecraft, but it's much better quality than, say, Robert E. Howard's attempts at horror, and has no racism and decent woman characters to boot. The Ghost Pirates, despite sounding like a Scooby-Doo episode, is one of Hodgson's creepier stories, and in my opinion the most successful of the "trilogy."
Arthur B at 17:22 on 2018-09-04
I'll have to revisit Boats and The Ghost Pirates in that case.

With The Night Land there's the schtick that it's a manuscript thrown back through time and transcribed by a 17th Century gentleman and so is presented through that filter - but when Lovecraft himself (who liked writing like a cranky old Regency gent for fun) thinks you've gone too far with the archaic writing style schtick you know you've gone way overboard.
John at 19:20 on 2018-09-04
Oh, agreed. I showed The Night Land to a friend. He gave up after the introduction, which was probably the smartest move. Boats has a similar conceit, except this time it's a 17th century gentleman writing to his son, trying to be as precise and clear as possible on all points. I can't say if it's accurate to the time (Lovecraft didn't think so), but it's legible, and flows rather well. Which makes one wonder about what the hell Night Land was all about.
In order to post comments, you need to log in to Ferretbrain or authenticate with OpenID. Don't have an account? See the About Us page for more details.

Back to "The Borderland Between Subgenres"