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Re: W.H.Hodgson
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 20 November, 2019 07:06PM
Yluos Wrote:
> This is rather late, and perhaps you've already
> read this story by now, but Hodgson's The Voice in
> the Dawn is interesting, as it is his only
> Sargasso story that isn't an explicit horror or
> adventure story. I'm not sure if it can even be
> considered fantasy in terms of genre, though it
> does have a mystical yearning in its tone and
> atmosphere.
> The story is kind of a longish vignette about
> sailors going through an endless sea of green and
> yellow weed, marveling at the big and little
> sights of nature, while hearing a mysterious voice
> calling to them as if from beyond time and space.
> It's really not like any of his other stories I've
> read, even if it uses the common setting and weird
> sea creatures. It's like a profound appreciation
> of the wondrous beauty and inhuman ambiguity of
> the weed sea. It doesn't harshly and irrationally
> judge the octopi and crabs and other weird
> creatures as "abominable" like Lovecraft might,
> while still appreciating that they're so strange,
> frightening, and more powerful than humanity in
> this distant environment.

I never read that one, though I have heard of it. It's one of his posthumous ones, so who knows if it is actually by Hodgson. Where did you find it? In HORRORS FROM HAUNTED SEAS?

According to ISFDB, a story called "The Voice in the Dawn" was published in PREMIER MAGAZINE in 1920, 2 years after Hogdson's death, and presumably submitted by his widow. ISFDB seems to believe or assume this is the same story you are talking about. If it is the same story, it ought to be public domain. But if any public domain version is available anywhere on the web, I cannot find it.

It is not clear to me, however, that the 1920 version of "The Voice in the Dawn" is the same story you are referring to. It could easily have been (for all I know) a variant title of "The Voice in the Night". "The Voice in the Dawn" also works reasonably well as a title, as the tale ends with dawn arriving, and the protagonist getting a glimpse of the speaker.

Next, a story called "The Call in the Dawn" appears in Derleth's 1967 collection DEEP WATERS. The core of this collection consists of most of the stories from Hodgson's MEN OF THE DEEP WATERS, which was public domain. At the end, however, Derleth has thrown in 3 new or quasi-new stories: "The Crew of the Lancing" (a variant of "Demons of the Sea"); "The Habitants of Middle Islet" (IIRC a variant of "The Island of the Ud"); and (lastly) "The Call in the Dawn". My suspicion is that all 3 of these tales are at least partially by Derleth, written or revised to ensure a renewed copyright for his collection (just as he added "The Churchyard Yew" to the Arkham House version of THE PURCELL PAPERS).

Finally, a story called "The Voice in the Dawn" is published in a 2012 anthology HORRORS FROM HAUNTED SEAS; which I'm told is a close variant of Derleth's version. Or maybe it is just Derleth's tale with the supposed original title "restored".

I'd like to be able to compare these versions some time. But the obvious place to start is with the 1920 version. And there seems to be no way of getting it.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 20 Nov 19 | 07:17PM by Platypus.

Re: W.H.Hodgson
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 20 November, 2019 07:57PM
Yluos: regarding the version of "The Voice in the Dawn" that you read: Can you think of any reason why it would have been called "Son of Men"?

Because apparently, Hodgson may have once considered "The Voice in the Dawn" and "Son of Men" as alternate titles for the same story.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 20 Nov 19 | 07:59PM by Platypus.

Re: W.H.Hodgson
Posted by: kojootti (IP Logged)
Date: 20 November, 2019 11:32PM
(made a new account, since my old username yluos was derived from a nasty period of self-denigration, and I wasn't expecting to post here after my first time.)

You're right that I read the story in HORRORS FROM HAUNTED SEAS. Unfortunately the collection has zero information on its contents; it doesn't even come with an introduction. Now I'm no expert on Hodgson, as I've only read this book and his novels, and the only stories I've revisited in the last couple years have been the Voices in the Night and the Dawn, so I can't say with certainty that he wrote it. The only work of Derleth's I'm familiar with are a handful of his Lovecraftian frauds, though I would say "The Voice in the Dawn" is a dozen times greater than all of those combined, so if Derleth wrote it then that's the first thing of his that hasn't repulsed me!

I think the story at least expresses some of Hodgson's visceral sentiments and observations about the ocean. It holds a dreary uncertainty, yet lingers far more than usual on the sea's awe and beauty in its many details. The reason for its title is because much of the narration explores the ocean during the dawn, emphasizing the eerie and magnificent presence of the sun and how it interacts with the weed and water. A haunting voice calls to the sailors, yelling "Son of Man!" many times throughout the story but never answering their calls in return. The narrator, who is one of the sailors, describes the voice as coming "out of all the dawn in the world." That of course answers your questions about the title.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 20 Nov 19 | 11:37PM by kojootti.

Re: W.H.Hodgson
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 21 November, 2019 12:55PM
Thanks, kojootti.

I managed to read this story in COLLECTED FICTIONS, there called "The Call in the Dawn". The text notes say their version follows Derleth's version. I did not get any particular strong impression that this was something Hodgson would not have written, though it is, as you note, different from his other "Sargasso Sea" tales.

I found online an image of what purports to be the cover page of a typescript for the tale (Hodgson's???), with the typewritten title "The Voice in the Dawn". If it is Hodgson's, it can only have been prepared in the last 2 years of his life, as it references THE LUCK OF THE STRONG (1916). Handwritten marginalia on the page include "Deep Waters" (the title of Derleth's collection), and the alternate titles "Son of Men" (sic) and "The Call in the Dawn". I would guess the handwriting, at least, is Derleth's. You can see well enough through the cover page to the text behind it to see that the next page is the start of "The Call in the Dawn" rather than "The Voice in the Night".

'Son of Man' could be a religious reference, though I have no idea how to apply it in this context.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 21 Nov 19 | 01:00PM by Platypus.

Re: W.H.Hodgson
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 26 April, 2020 01:46PM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
> That´s bad, hopefully he will be allright. I have
> always appreciated his blog about W.H.Hodgson.

I just revisited this thread after 10 months. Sadly, it seems Sam Gafford died on July 19 of last year, after a "short illness", not too long after you posted. He was only 56.

Re: W.H.Hodgson
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 23 May, 2020 10:06PM
Earlier in this thread, the late Sam Moskowitz (may he rest in peace) was cited by Jeremy Lassen (by way of Minicthulhu) as an expert authority and "noted Hodgson scholar" allegedly establishing that the Derleth-published Hodgson stories, and specifically "The Find" and "The Hog", are genuine.

I have managed to locate a copy of the book that is apparently the source of the expert opinions cited. It is William Hope Hodgson, TERRORS OF THE SEA, ed. Sam Moskowitz (Donald M. Grant Publishers, 1996). And yes, Moskowitz does argue, on various grounds, that all the Derleth-published stories are genuine, with the limited exception of "The Crew of the Lancing", which Moskowitz believes is a genuine Hodgson story that Derleth re-edited.

Without yet going into detail as to Moskowitz's reasons for his opinions, I'd like to give some curious quotes from the book, that may put his opinions into a certain perspective.

"August Derleth's British representative, G. Ken Chapman, once told me
that Derleth had written one or more of the Hodgson stories he


As far as I know, nothing compelled Mr. Moskowitz to reveal this little detail to us. It is certainly hard for me to regard him as a dishonest man, when he goes so far out of his way to disclose information so contrary to the thesis he is at least pretending to argue for.

Nor does it occur to Mr. Moskowitz to disbelieve Mr. Chapman. Instead he tries to convince himself, and us, that Mr. Chapman was referring to "The Crew of the Lancing". I find that curious, since "The Crew of the Lancing" is the one Derleth-published Hodgson story that can be proven beyond any reasonable doubt NOT to have been written by Mr. Derleth, since it is no more than a modest re-edit of "Demons of the Sea" (1923).

However, rather than debate the pros and cons of Moskowitz's opinions and the reasons for them (maybe later), I would like to move on to yet another expert opinion of the good Mr. Moskowitz, from the very same volume, where he vouches for the authenticity of yet another posthumously published Hodgson work: "The R.M.S. 'Empress of Australia'" (1996), which Moskowitz now presents to the public in TERRORS OF THE SEA for the first time:

"The R.M.S. Empress of Australia is science fiction laid in the year
1923, but it may have been written as early as 1906, the year of the
San Francisco earthquake. It must be remembered that William Hope
Hodgson died in 1918, so this story was set in the future. There is
some question on whether or not it was intended for professional
submission, since it was typed on legal-sized onion-skin paper and
is in a different typewriter face than that used on other manuscripts
which were typed in a much cleaner and newer pica face.

Moskowitz then gives a brief summary of the story, for which I instead substitute my own summary. The story, in the form of a log, is about a devastating earthquake and fire observed from the ship R.M.S. Empress of Australia, while it was docked at Yokahama, Japan. It details she ship's arrival on August 31, 1923, the first tremors on September 1, at around noon; the fires that had broke out by 12:15 pm and engulfed the whole city by 1:30 pm; the loading of the ship with 3,000 refugees, the arrival of RMS Empress of Canada on Sept. 2 to help with the refugees; the subsequent discharge of the refugees to various other ships and ports, etc., etc. etc.

Moskowitz then continues with his argument for authenticity:

"No record was kept of any submissions, though the story is
uncontrovertibly Hodgson's, not only from internal evidence
but also from his own handwritten corrections on the

TERRORS OF THE SEA, at p. 196.

While Jeremy Lassen was willing to cite Moskowitz's expert opinion in the case of "The Find", he is unwilling to do this here. In his COLLECTED FICTIONS, he places "R.M.S. 'Empress of Australia'" at the very end of volume 5, in a category labeled "Counterfeits". He does not explain his reasoning, but in this case none is necessary. I'm not sure "counterfeit" is the right word for a perfectly-accurate account of a very real tragedy, but I can certainly understand why Lassen found it hard to swallow Moskowitz's conclusion that Hodgson wrote it.

The thought occurs to me that maybe Moskowitz was deliberately pulling all our legs. But whether by accident or on purpose, I am certainly grateful to him for letting us know, in such a striking fashion, how much his expert scholarly endorsements of the authenticity of dubious Hodgson texts are worth.

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 23 May 20 | 10:32PM by Platypus.

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