Saturday, June 27, 2020

238. The House on the Borderland

The House on the Borderland
William Hope Hodgson
1908
Around 150 pages












I had this one marked down for a Halloween read, but ended up reaching it earlier than I expected. An eerie read is not entirely out of place in June of 2020, so I don't feel too bad about it.

Two Irishmen stumble upon the ruins of a house while on a fishing trip and find a moldering old journal in the crumbling walls. The journal recounts the story of an old man who used to live in the house with his sister and dog. He started the diary in order to record all the strange things happening within the house.

So this is sort of a throwback to gothic novels (e.g. the frame story of finding an old manuscript that tells a chilling tale, the exploration of the uncanny, etc.). At the same time, Hodgson is adding his own science fiction twist, and it's clear that this had a huge influence on sci fi writers.

It was a little too trippy for my tastes, but it was an entertaining read that clearly resonated with many future authors.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

Terry Pratchett has said this novel was "the Big Bang in my private universe as a science fiction and fantasy reader and, later, writer."

Praised by H.P. Lovecraft.

UP NEXT: The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett. Sounds hot.

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