Friday, November 5, 2010

The House on the Borderland


 I don't often write about the books I read: its just not my thing.  But I feel compelled to write about The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson.  It took me a month to read this slim novel, not because it bored me or I didn't have time, but because I could only handle a chapter at a time.  It is that terrifying.

 William Hope Hodgson was a huge influence on HP Lovecraft and it is easy to see why.  He transports you to a world of color and terror, a world way beyond our own reality and understanding.  In this world ancient, swine-like creatures attack from all sides, an endless pit of horror lies right beneath your feet, and a helpless old man is hurled through time and forced to watch the end of the universe.  This is not light reading.

Two English Gentlemen are vacationing in the Irish countryside.  They stumble upon the ruins of an old house located on the edge of a pit.  Inside the house they find a dusty old manuscript.  It is the story of the old man who lived at the house, with his Sister Mary and faithful dog Pepper.  This old man, never given a name, begins the journal to record his horrific experiences at the house.  At one point he is besieged by pig like monsters, intent on invading his home.  He barricades his house and attempts to kill as many of the monsters as he can, until they finally disappear, back into the pit that he discovers exists under his house.  

The Old Man cannot leave the house.  Despite all the terror, the house also gives him glimpses of his lost love in place known as the "sea of sleep."  This love is what keeps him there, and is what will ultimately bring him his to his doom.

I kept expecting Cthulhu to make a guest appearance in this novel.  Thank elder god he didn't because it would have been more than I could handle.  I couldn't recommend this novel enough, just be prepared for feverish nightmares.


Shoshanah Marohn said...

Books are so much more terrifying than movies. A movie can really scare you, but a book can reach to deeper places inside of you, because it's your own imagination creating the horror along with the author.

I don't know if I can read it! I'm a chicken. But I might. In the daytime. Is it scarier than "House of Leaves"?

Dwido said...

Ms.ZAM: Hodgson's book is available online via Project Gutenberg.


A great recommendation. I read this only recently and was amazed at how 'modern' the story felt in many ways.

And it was a ripping good yard as well.

Jen said...

Thank you Al Bruno III! I agree, the book is very modern. It is also a total head trip.

Cellar Door: I found it much scarier than House of Leaves. They both transport you to this strange kind of "fever" world.

Shoshanah Marohn said...

I think I just have to read it now! Thanks for the recommendation.

P.S. Write more book reviews! I know it's not your thing, but you're good at them. Brian is finally reading Drude.

Will Errickson said...

I have owned a copy of this book for *years* but just have never gotten around to reading it! Great review.