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The House on the Borderland by William Hope…

The House on the Borderland (1908)

by William Hope Hodgson

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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
This book was written in 1907 and was one of the progenitors of horror genre. Two travelers find a strange grimoire in Ireland. The story told in this manuscript has a lot of SF elements, like travel to distant worlds and through the time, meeting strange creatures, looking to old myths with new interpretations, etc. At the same time there is clearly a Lovecraftian feel to it (I actually read very little of him, but the style is similar).

I guess the difference between horrors and SF lies not in what is described, but how protagonists react: in horror when encountering, say, an artifact, they are often paralyzed with fear, unable to move, losing consciousness due to fear, etc. In SF they can be afraid but they are more curious what the artifact is, how it works, what its use, etc.

An interesting read if you are into the history of the genre, for it is a very influential book. However, for modern reader it can be too melodramatic.
( )
1 vote Oleksandr_Zholud | Jan 9, 2019 |
An odd mix of speculative cosmic horror, gothic mystery and monster horror story. More interesting than good, I suppose. In my somewhat limited experience it feels proto-Lovecraftian, but I suspect that might be reductive. Some passages are genuinely chilling, while others is obtuse and a slog to get through even as they fascinates on a conceptual level.

Recommended for horror aficionados and those deeply interested in the earliest moments of weird fiction. ( )
1 vote Jannes | Dec 26, 2018 |
'The House on the Borderland' is a strange tale about an abandoned house somewhere in rural Ireland, told in flashback via an abandoned journal. The occupant of the house encounters strange visitations from savage creatures, experiences accelerated time and undertakes (psychic?) voyages to other realms and distant planets. Hodgson appears minimal on explanation but his scene-setting and imagery is powerful. There is an impressive sense of place, but as for plot? Denouement? Answers? Questions, even? The protagonist is horrified by the attacks he suffers and the things he sees, but the creeping horrors that keep occurring have no apparent origin and the protagonist never seeks an explanation for these events. The story never gets to the bottom of them (or, indeed, shows any sign of wanting to get to the bottom of them).

If nothing else, The House on the Borderland has acquired an iconic reputation as the stylistic progenitor of a lot of fantasy and horror writing. I found the imagery striking.
3 vote RobertDay | Nov 1, 2017 |
The House on the Borderland is an eerie novel that ultimately leaves many questions unanswered. Written in 1908, it is often cited as an influence on writers like H.P. Lovecraft and Terry Pratchett, and it is listed in Fantasy: The 100 Best Books, edited by James Cawthorn and Michael Moorcock.

I really wanted this book to be good. The beginning starts off promising: two men on a fishing holiday in a remote part of Ireland discover the ruins of a mysterious house and among the debris they recover a rotting journal. The journal records the thoughts of an unnamed man referred to only as the Recluse. The Recluse lived in the House with his sister Mary and his dog Pepper, and after some bizarre and terrifying events happened to him, he decided to keep this journal. The two men on fishing holiday begin to read the journal to each other, and this journal forms the bulk of the novel.

Some of the events the Recluse describes are heart-pounding and page-turning, while others are hallucinatory experiences that drag on and on. You know, kind of like Doctor Who episodes from the 1980s. Or like 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The best scenes are those that take place in the House, which is almost a character in its own right, and there are some truly chilling moments involving creatures called the Swine-Things.

While there were many portions of the book that I really enjoyed, it ultimately left me unsatisfied. There were many unanswered questions, and I wasn't interested enough in the story to try and figure them out through deeper analysis of the text--assuming there is something deeper in the text.

To me it is one of those books that are more important because of its influence than because of its artistic merit. Still, it's a fairly quick read and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the roots of the horror or fantasy genres. ( )
1 vote nsenger | Nov 4, 2016 |
I found this book to be fascinating and spooky and atmospheric and original and just plain fun to read. There were long descriptive passages I skipped over because I felt they belabored the point and did nothing to carry the story forward, but it was well worth it because the payoff in chills was great. This is one of those great old horror novels (from 1908) that still delivers if one overlooks just a few passages. One thing - it strongly reminded me of Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz, in a good way. It is almost as if Koontz was paying homage to Hodgson. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote chibitika | Aug 30, 2016 |
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Emshwiller, EdCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Right away in the west of Ireland lies a tiny hamlet called Kraighten. (Chapter I)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0786702826, Paperback)

This classic novel of the weird supernatural, first published in 1908, was an important influence on H. P. Lovecraft. In the ruins of an ancient stone house in Ireland is found the diary of an elderly man who lived alone with his sister and their pets, and who longed for his lost love. The diary tells of how the man explores a cyclopean cavern beneath the house and fights off swarms of white pig-like monsters pouring up from below. Then, in a visionary sequence, he breaks through to an alternate space-time dimension and sees a doppelganger of his house on a vast desolate plain. The prose is hokey at times, but the strange mood evoked by the other-dimensional setting is powerful indeed. As acclaimed horror writer T. E. D. Klein says, "Never has a book so hauntingly conveyed a sense of terrible loneliness and isolation."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:15 -0400)

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"A reclusive man, retreating to the Irish countryside with his sister, finds himself one day at the portal to another dimension. Years later, amid the crumbling ruins of his home, a pair of travelers find his diary and its horrifying details of the terrors that stalked his world--grotesque, swine-like monsters crawling from an abyss to swarm about the doors, fierce storms that threatened to unleash malevolent supernatural powers, and a harrowing vision of the death of the solar system." -- back cover.… (more)

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