With a horribly human intelligence

William Hope Hodgson’s 1908 novel The House on the Borderland isn’t good, but it’s flawed in a memorable and pioneering way. Hodgson writes like a less angsty H. P. Lovecraft, with “inhumanly human” swine-monsters emerging from a bottomless Pit to threaten an isolated house in Ireland. My favourite part foreshadows the “defend your home against the undead army” scene in a zombie movie. The second half is a vision of the end of the world, where the main character fast-forwards through the future at ever-increasing speeds, until both the Earth and the Sun is dead. It’s time-lapse photography in writing, secular in content but Biblical in style. And there’s an alternate dimension, containing a huge replica of the main character’s house and the ghost-like love of his life. All this in less than 100 pages. The House on the Borderland makes no sense whatsoever. It jumps incoherently from one strange event to another, never really trying to tie them together. It’s not even confusing. What it has going for it is its proto-Lovecraftian style, and I’m not surprised to learn that Lovecraft was a fan. He was also a better writer. But still – memorable, oh yes! (And I might just check out the comic book version.)

2 Responses to With a horribly human intelligence

  1. Kronos says:

    Haven’t read this one, but anything remotely lovecraftian is interesting. It is hereby added to my reading list. Det første for dine engelskspråklige lesere. Forøvrig syntes jeg alt det du skriver om SF-horror-fantasy og annen rabulering er oppfriskende og godt poengtert. Venter spent på mer.

  2. Bjørn Stærk says:

    “Det første for dine engelskspråklige lesere.”Å, de jaget jeg bort for et par år siden. 😉 Men det gir lite mening å skrive på norsk når det er ikke er noe spesielt norsk i konteksten, og det blir like bra på engelsk. SF-horror-fantasy blir det definitivt mer av – har mye spennende i bokkøen.

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