Monday, June 16, 2014
The House On The Borderland!
I've long wanted to read William Hope Hodgson's The House on the Borderland, and at long last I have done it. The title of this story is fantastically evocative, one of the best in all of fantastic fiction. But the story beneath that title is not exactly what I was expecting.
The story is set up in a wonderful frame, when two fisherman discover a diary in a ruins of a weird house in Ireland. The diary tells of an old man called only "The Recluse" who along with his aged sister and his loyal dog Pepper find themselves quite literally living on the edge. The house they have chosen to live in is apparently perched on the cusp of at least two dimensions which allow the Recluse to see another quite peculiar world inhabited by some ferocious pig-headed humanoids among other things. Eventually the narrative shifts from the conflict between the man and the creatures and we go on an extended tour of the far-flung future where the not only is the man's world diminished but the very sun itself cools.
I had to admit I had to make myself keep on going through it. The early parts of the story when the Recluse and his sister are under attack it's a wonderfully vivid creepy tale, but the latter part when he goes on his excursion into the distant future, the yarn begins to lose momentum.
The later section was clearly inspired by H.G.Wells and his seminal The Time Machine, but I was also put in mind of Olaf Stapledon's sprawling epics.
You should read The House on the Borderland, but be ready to shift gears. I still love the title.