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The Night Land Paperback – 9 Mar 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143828733X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1438287331
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.8 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,475,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

William Hope Hodgson (1877 - 1918) was an English author. He produced a large body of work, consisting of essays, short fiction and novels, spanning several overlapping genres including horror, fantastic fiction and science fiction. Hodgson used his experiences at sea to lend authentic detail to his short horror stories, many of which are set on the ocean, including his series of linked tales forming the "Sargasso Sea Stories". His novels, such as The House on the Borderland (1908) and The Night Land (1912), feature more cosmic themes, but several of his novels also focus on horrors associated with the sea. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The stories surrounding the life of William Hope Hodgeson are almost as colourful as the fiction he wrote. This was a man who joined the merchant navy as a teenager and once dived into shark-infested waters to rescue a drowning man. He famously upset Harry Houdini by attempting to sabotage the legendary escapologist’s act (allegedly). A victim of bullying in his youth due to his diminutive stature, he became obsessed with physical fitness and even opened a school for body builders in Blackburn, Lancashire. He was killed in action during the final year of the First World War, aged just forty.

In literary terms he remains a criminally under-appreciated figure. Whereas contemporaries such as H.G. Wells are rightly lauded for their contributions to the genre of fantastic fiction, Hodgeson languishes in the kind of undeserved obscurity that could barely even be described as ‘cult’ status. It’s high time that situation changed.

His two most notable works are probably ‘The House on the Borderland’ and ‘The Night Land’. The former is a deliriously inventive cosmic horror and is generally well appreciated by those who read it; the latter is more divisive. Some consider it to be a visionary masterpiece, others criticise it for being overlong, ill-disciplined and self-indulgent. In truth, there’s probably merit to both viewpoints, yet for all its faults, there are few works in English literature quite like ‘The Night Land’.

The story begins in some indeterminate period of history that could be any time between the middle ages and the latter part of the nineteenth century. The narrator woos and wins the love of his life but, alas, their time together is short and she soon shuffles off this mortal coil, leaving him alone and grief-stricken.
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By D on 24 April 2017
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very good
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Format: Kindle Edition
Well, I have finally read this now after 2 previous attempts, and I have to say, what a strange beast of a book it is.

Put briefly, the Narrator is a man from the 18th Century how finds himself reincarnated into the far future of Earth, when the sun has died, humanity is confined to 2 gigantic pyramids, the Great and Lesser Pyramids, and weird creatures and monsters roam the darkended lands.

It is written in Olde English, which is initially off-putting, but you do get into it after a while, and in fact the archaic prose does lend the book a certain majesty. The plot itself is very simple, as he discovers that his wife is also reincarnated into this time, but they are in different pyramids and separated by the dangers of the outside. He sets out to find her, and the first half of the book detail his adventures as he travels to the Lesser Pyramid.

So far so good. While scientifically the scenario doesn't really make sense, there is an undeniable power and nightmarish quality to the journey he undertakes. But then he meets with Naani, the reincarnation of his wife - and the books takes a weird turn.

Now the Night Land turns into Fifty Shades of Night, as it combines the dark odyssey across the wastes with a sickly sweet romance between the Narrator and Naani, which is also a paen to the joys of domination and obedience.

However things do recover in the final third of the book, and the scenes where he has almost reached the Great Pyramid again are very evocative.

In my review of House on the Borderland I did wonder if it shared the same future as Night Land. Now I've read both I can see this is not the case, but there are undoubted similaries, and to me it seems like they are variations on the same theme.
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Format: Paperback
Well, here is a different view. The Night Land is not appallingly written, not horrendously sentimental, not maddeningly repetitive nor grossly overlong - but it IS one of the most amazing works of fantasy fiction in the English language. The language Hodgson uses is quite in keeping with the eerie, archaic nature of the whole work and adds to its power. There is nothing else like it in the English language and it is unlikely there will ever be again. Hodgson is a true one-off. A deeply brooding masterpiece that is part love story, part horror, part archaic fantasy, part allegory, part religious parable........just read it!
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Format: Kindle Edition
William Hope Hodgson was, to put it mildly, a very colourful character, who spent much of his life exhibiting Victorian machismo in multifarious ways. He only really resorted to the much less manly profession of writing out of financial necessity; were it possible he would have fashioned himself into a British Charles Atlas, transforming a nation of stiff upper lips into one of stiff upper torsos via intense body-building workouts. It is to the eternal benefit of all lovers of esoteric and unclassifiable fiction that the fates had other plans for him.

Not that he was an especially talented prose writer. He could never match his cohorts Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood when it came to crafting a delectable sentence of perfect symmetry and poise. Hodgson's talent was as a medium. He could take dispatches from the id, from the darkest ancestral recesses of the mind, and put them down on paper relatively unhindered. At least, he managed to pull off that feat with The Night Land, The House on the Borderland, and a smattering of other writing. On The Night Land in particular, it feels as if you've suddenly been given access to a racial memory, an embedded nightmare unlocked by the words on the page. You feel as if you already knew the redoubt in which our distant descendants stage their final defence against oblivion. You feel as if the path our hero travels on the way to his telepathically-connected love were already mapped out inside you. The endless horrific mutations and permutations of the abhumans, the Lilithian spawn of human-alien couplings, seem eerily familiar to you. I've never had this sensation with any other book than The Night Land.
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