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William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Francis D'Eramo (IP Logged)
Date: 6 April, 2002 05:04PM
Wildside Press has published an edition of "The Night Land," by William Hope Hodgson. I don't know if there has been an American print edition of this since the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series. It's online at a number of places. In fact, Blackmask.com has a variety of Hodgson works in a variety of electronic formats.

"The Night Land" is an almost legendary book. It's very difficult to read because of the odd way that Hodgson chose to narrate it. The book takes place in the far future, but it's narrated by a seventeenth century man who is supposedly viewing it as a vision of one of his future incarnations. So it is written in an amazingly clunky archaic English, and it's tough to get through at times. Also, it suffers from a subplot about the narrator's love interest that is written in a sickly-sweet romantic style, almost exactly like the way the love interest is handled in Jack London's "Sea Wolf."

But Hodgson's vision utterly original. The setting of the book, the descriptions of the things that menace humans in the Night Land, are like nothing else I've ever read. The book is epic in its scope, the way "The Odyssey" is. I read it electronically on my RocketBook, after downloading it from a server at Carnegie Mellon University. I admit that there are parts of it I skimmed over, and I admit that it was an effort at times, but I'm glad I read it.

There's also an excellent website on "The Night Land" and Hodgson at [home.clara.net] . The website has a call for original fiction for a proposed anthology of Night Land stories by Wildside. There's also a great site with information about CAS, HPL, Hodgson, and some others at [www.creative.net] .

Re: William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Boyd Pearson (IP Logged)
Date: 6 April, 2002 07:15PM

Re: William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Francis D'Eramo (IP Logged)
Date: 6 April, 2002 07:48PM
Here's the Hodgson you can find at the Blackmask site:

Carnacki The Ghost Finder
The House on the Borderland
The Boats of the "Glen Carrig"
The Derelict
The Find
The Ghost Pirates
The Haunted Jarvee
The Night Land
The Voice in the Night

The site is at http://www.blackmask.com/page.php?do=page

It's amazing. It has over seven thousand free public domain ebooks, each in six different formats. The webmaster, David Moynihan, should be canonized. The site has an extensive collection of Gothic and supernatural stories.

I also want to say how great I think small presses like Wildside or Chaosium are for keeping fantasy classics in print. Just look at the authors in the Wildside Fantasy Classics series. I got a great Robert W. Chambers collection from Chaosium earlier this year.

Re: William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Ron Hilger (IP Logged)
Date: 7 April, 2002 01:36AM
Did you know that Hodgson prepared a greatly abridged version later printed by Grant Pub. as "A Dream of X" This version actually works pretty well, but of course the reader doesn't get nearly the same depth of story and detail as in the longer version. "The House on the Borderland" is perhaps my favorite Hodgson story, with the "Carnacki" stories following closely. "The Hog" is perhaps the best of these.
-Ron

Re: William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Derrick Hussey (IP Logged)
Date: 7 April, 2002 03:29PM
I am reading "The House on the Borderland" now. It's amazing. The blurb on the back of the Carroll & Graf paperback called it a blend of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, and it is. It seems to me that these elements are not so much combined as presented individually. Hodgson goes from horror, into science fiction, into fantasy, and back again. The sentimental love interest is present here as well, but I kind of like it. It balances the Recluse's psychedelic visions, and gives him some humanity.

All I'd read of WHH until now was "Down in the Weeds," a bulging chapbook of his Sargasso Sea stories that Hobgoblin Press put out in the 90s. I'm looking forward to reading more Hodgson.

Derrick

Re: William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Anonymous User (IP Logged)
Date: 9 April, 2002 05:28PM
The Night Land is one of my favorite books. I trust the edition that Wildside is publishing is the original edition and the one that Arkham House published in the US and NOT the one that Lin Carter did for Ballantine. That edition, if memory serves me, was actually cut by Carter based on Lovecraft's criticism of the love passages in the book. It's true that they're maudlin at best and chauvinistic at worst, but they're still integral to the book and any edition worth its salt needs to include them.

Re: William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Francis D'Eramo (IP Logged)
Date: 11 April, 2002 06:34AM
I found a free audiobook of "The Ghost Pirates" at http://www.audiobooksforfree.com
It's 17 separate MP3 files that can be played on a desktop or a portable player.

Re: William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Boyd Pearson (IP Logged)
Date: 11 April, 2002 04:30PM
Ugg is my Grafton (1990) paperback the hacked up version? any one know?

Re: William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Anonymous User (IP Logged)
Date: 12 April, 2002 06:24PM
The Grafton (which I also have) is NOT the hacked up version. I think the only hacked up version so far is the Lin Carter.

Re: William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Jim Rockhill (IP Logged)
Date: 15 April, 2002 11:22AM
I agree with everyone here about the relative merits of Hodgson's work and the importance of NOT editing his work even though the temptation is extremely high in the case of THE NIGHT LAND. I agree that THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND is his best work; THE NIGHT LAND would have been if it were not for the prose and treacly romantic passages. I am also very fond of several of the sea-going horror stories, such as THE GHOST PIRATES, "The Voice in the Night", "The Derelict", "The Stone Ship", etc.

Is everyone here aware of the Night Shade Books upcoming Hodgson series? On completion, it will present 5 fat volumes reprinting everything in authoritative texts.

Jim

Re: William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Anonymous User (IP Logged)
Date: 15 April, 2002 02:54PM
I didn't mind the treacly romantic passages, except when they veered into sexist crap. I wonder what women make of it.

Re: William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Francis D'Eramo (IP Logged)
Date: 15 April, 2002 06:19PM
I doubt that women think much about "The Night Land," because I doubt that very many women (and only slightly more men) have read it.

The Night Shade Edition sounds great. Is there a website with more information?

I'm listening to "The Ghost Pirates" in the Audiobook version that I mentioned above. It's a good production. The reader manages to convey the tension of the story quite well, and there's a cavernous quality to the recording that kind of enhances the atmosphere. It plays on a PC, so even if you don't have an MP3 player, it's worth a try.

It also shows Hodgson's unfortunate tendency to repeat certain phrases ad nauseum. In "The Night Land," it was the phrase about the Master Word beating through the whatever, and the phrase about the Dear Master Monstruwacan. In "Ghost Pirates" he uses the (admittedly nautical) phrase "sing out" (as in, "The captain sang out, 'What the Devil's going on up there?'") so often that I sometimes I feel like I'm listening to a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.

Re: William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Jim Rockhill (IP Logged)
Date: 15 April, 2002 07:49PM
Author: Francis D'Eramo (---.TNT01.STT.viaccess.net)
Date: 04-15-02 18:19 wrote--

<snip>
The Night Shade Edition sounds great. Is there a website with more information?
<snip>


Here is the web address to the Hodgson page at Night Shade's site:
http://www.nightshadebooks.com/hodgson.html

The pre-July 1st "subscription" price of $150.00 for all five 400-or-so page books seems to be excellent value.

Jim

Re: William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Derrick Hussey (IP Logged)
Date: 15 April, 2002 09:29PM
I wonder if these books will use the Bob Knox artwork that he had on display at NecronomiCon. It was a large painting, designed to be divided into five separate book covers. I think Bob did it for Hobgoblin Press when they planned a complete Hodgson series. That never materialised, so he was stuck with the art. Nice work, very intricate.

Derrick

Re: William Hope Hodgson
Posted by: Jim Rockhill (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2002 12:35AM
Knox would be a good choice for Hodgson, except for those who favor more explicit seascapes. The Night Shade folks have not yet mentioned what sort of artwork they were going to use and I did not think to ask Mr. Lassen when I met him this weekend.

Jim



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