Read The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson Online


"---this fantasy of a night-black, dead planet, with the remains of the human race concentrated in a stupendously vast metal pyramid & besieged by monstrous, hybrid & altogether unknown forces of darkness, is something that no reader can ever forget" (H. P. Lovecraft)."One of the most potent pieces of macabre imagination ever written" -- H.P.Lovecraft. Lovecraft wa"---this fantasy of a night-black, dead planet, with the remains of the human race concentrated in a stupendously vast metal pyramid & besieged by monstrous, hybrid & altogether unknown forces of darkness, is something that no reader can ever forget" (H. P. Lovecraft)."One of the most potent pieces of macabre imagination ever written" -- H.P.Lovecraft. Lovecraft wasn't wrong: this is, perhaps, the greatest single work of fantastic fiction in the English language. The sun has died, as have the stars. Not a solitary light shines in the heavens. The days of light are nothing by a legend -- they are a story told to soothe children. The last millions of humans still live in their Last Redoubt -- but the end of their days is at hand....

Title : The Night Land
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781587156045
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 357 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Night Land Reviews

  • Henry Avila
    2018-12-30 07:02

    The hideous creatures crawl in the eternal darkness, in this unknown alien world, but in reality sick old Earth , in its last inglorious days...The 17th Century tortured gentleman arrives here, just after losing his beloved wife Lady Mirdath, and baby during childbirth. The setting, yes Earth, eons of years in the future, when the dead Sun and stars have gone out, an unshining and unseen moon, also orbits the ugly planet. No daylight, perpetual night, monsters and things roam the territory and millions of humans hide in a gray metallic, gigantic, gloomy Pyramid,The Last Redoubt, dizzy miles high. With 1,320 floors, each one a virtual separate city, underground farms, that feed the hungry inhabitants vital food. The perplexed husband wakes up here as a seventeen- year -old, a dream, what happened? Unexplained how he got there by the author, but the man has childhood memories of the pyramid and believes somehow Lady Mirdath is calling him , by telepathy. A mythical second Redoubt somewhere in the endless night, is rumored to exist, or is it just another fable, our gentleman friend believes ... his heart aches incessantly, he has to and will risk all, ( life is meaningless without his adorable wife) and find love, that is everything... Reincarnated hopefully, maybe as Naani, the woman who lives far away in the small other pyramid, contacting him, strangely he presumes, telepathically but where ...After strenuous training, needed supplies, food tablets and water powders, ( a magic never discovered) putting on protective armor and most important his weapon, the Diskos , the spinning deadly fire shooting discs, carried on a handle. The people of the building look sadly at the teenager , going on a suicide mission, they have become a timid race....Giants that intimidate, huge vicious hounds, loathsome killer spiders , flying unfriendly creatures, wild deformed men and strange other abominations surround the Redoubt. Erupting volcanoes give some light and fire pits, warmth , springs, water. Rivers and seas, some dry, make it a very creepy atmosphere to travel through , deep in the bowels of the planet, the landscape miles below ground of the frozen surface , becomes weirder as the unnamed gentleman goes further...The blackness more oppressive, death all around. Most frightful, the mysterious Silent Ones. But a man has to do what a man has to do....In a savage, Night Land. A awesome read for people who like to be scared.

  • J.G. Keely
    2019-01-17 05:14

    A modern man starts receiving psychic messages from hundreds of thousands of years in Earth's future--messages from himself. The sun is dying, the world is filled with horrific monsters, and the last remnants of humanity have locked themselves away in a vast pyramid to await the death of their world in peace. They peer out from countless windows at the awful monstrosities which beat at the gates, who want nothing so much as to kill every man, woman, and child within. Then, one day, they receive a message, from far beyond the monstrous lands--someone else is out there.At first, I thought it no wonder Lovecraft declared this a must read for any scholar or writer of Supernatural Horror--it's a great premise, not quite like anything before, with clear potential for unexpected moments, high tension, a depiction of the ultimate struggle of mankind to survive--and Hodgson squanders all of it. Everything about this book seems designed to work against the story, to undermine it, to remove any thrill or tension or genuine human sentiment.Our hero isn't just psychic--he's the most psychic, with knowledge and theories that no one else can ever hope to comprehend. The message isn't just from some other survivor, it's from the reborn soul of his dead girlfriend. Though it's supposed to literally be a love for the ages, the romance is as naive and idealized as a Taylor Swift song, full of grand words and gestures but completely lacking in any emotional depth or personal connection.It's the sort of romance that occurs automatically, without any participation from those involved--there is no connection, and their personalities (especially hers) are entirely superfluous to the relationship. The romance is really for him, to motivate him, to draw him out--it's your standard 'love interest as plot device'. The entire relationship is presented in terms of control and possession, until the 'hero' ends up creepier than all the faceless monsters.Here's a man who sees himself as far above others, in both body and mind, who constantly talks about his own amazing abilities (Hodgson was, himself, an early proponent of bodybuilding). Meanwhile, he is beset on all sides by a dark, incomprehensible world of faceless figures bent on destroying him. It is such a complete image of self-obsession, persecution complex, and profound entitlement. Hodgson's success in House on the Borderlands seems entirely to hinge on the fact that the protagonist was supposed to be a creepy, reclusive weirdo--'write what you know', I guess.Then there is the physical style of the work, which begs through bloody lips for some kind of editing. We get the same information again and again, recapped and repeated. The agonist is constantly trying to explain the plot to us, as well as his thoughts, his desires, and every other thing. The story is never allowed to progress naturally, but is instead whipped and drug every inch of the way.It’s as if an author wrote a short book, perhaps two hundred pages, and then went back through everything he had written and copied paragraphs and sentences, repeating them over and over throughout the story, changing the order here and there, until the book swells to six hundred pages. There is no thought, observation, description, or scene too banal to be repeated five or six times--usually capped off by the narrator saying ‘as I’ve mentioned several times before’.There are entire chapters (and the chapters aren’t short) which are just the author walking for six hours (always six hours) across some barren plain or dry seabed before reaching some notable piece of landscape he’d mentioned before (usually a large rock), and then, ‘at the tenth hour’, realizing that he hasn’t slept or eaten anything in twelve hours, and collapsing exhausted in a shallow cave to a brief meal before passing out a good long while. When he wakes up, he’ll hear or see some terrible beast nearby, but it won’t notice him. Then he’ll get up and do it all again two or three times, until the chapter ends. That same scenario repeating is literally at least 50% of the book.Finally, after walking ‘halfway across the world’ (in the narrator’s words), he reaches the only other human settlement on Earth, a place he’d never imagined existed, but which he was determined to reach against all odds. So, what does he do then: Check for supplies? See who else survived? Try to band together and save some of the other people? He doesn’t even look at the place, he just conveniently finds his girlfriend in a shallow cave outside, takes a nap, and then they leave.Her only home has been destroyed, everyone she knows is dead or hiding from monsters, and yet when they meet, it’s all sweet kisses and blushing, holding hands, laughing and teasing--and of course him ordering her around for her own good, since she’s too stupid to do even the most basic things herself.Then there's the language, which is artificially archaic, as Hodgson seeming to think that the residents of One Million AD will all sound like a Roanoke colony parson. While I enjoy the carefully-constructed archaism of Dunsany and E.R. Eddison, which provide their works with a sense of tone and poetry, a beauty of language that is appreciable in and of itself, Hodgson’s archaism is clunky and serves only to draw out an already tedious narrative.The book is odiously stupid, just a constant test of the reader’s patience. Yet, it’s not stupid like most books, which are simply cliche and badly written by accident of the author’s lack of skill--this book is terrible because of a series of increasingly stupid and pointless decisions, all despite the fact that it’s conceptually interesting and inventive. By all rights, this book should have been worth reading, but it simply fails to be, at almost every turn.

  • Isaac
    2019-01-18 05:51

    Yes yes...the writing style is obnoxious and the constant repetition is grating, but as a reader what would you rather have?1. A well-paced and readable thriller of a book that causes you no pain, but is soon forgotten and is (in verity) a mediocrity?2. Or a book that infuriates you and tries your patience to the utmost degree, but is at its core a true original and one of the most remarkable feats of imagination in the the English language?You need to determine how much you value originality, and how much energy you are willing to expend in the fight to expose yourself to it. If you are brave, try the Night Land. But do not expect an unturbulent relationship with the text. I hate it, but I love it so much more.P.S. I advise reading "The House on The Borderland" or "the Boats of the Glen Carrig" first.

  • Simon
    2019-01-18 04:58

    Millions of years into the future when the sun has ceased to shine and most of the world is overrun by strange demonic beasts, the remnants of mankind hold out inside a mighty pyramid fueled by the "earth current" in which the beasts cannot enter. No one who ever ventures out ever comes back and since they have all they need inside their redoubt, not many bother.At first this seemed to be a story about a man who is telepathically contacted by a woman who he remembers from a former life, and was his beloved. She is however not located within the mighty pyramid but in another lesser pyramid somewhere out there in the night land, and it's earth current is failing. Eventually he decides to go out, on his own, to try and find his soul mate. He must venture out and brave the unknown terrors of the night land with only a general idea of direction and no idea how far. Can he defy all odds, find her and bring her back alive?Actually though, the story is not about the above, it is in fact the protagonist's very poorly written account of these events. To start with, the protagonist writes with a seventeenth century English prose and is no natural story-teller. The narrative is in the first person with large amounts of exposition and no dialogue. Rarely is the reader able to feel that they are put into the story, instead is constantly reminded that they are reading about the story after the event. The tediousness of his journey is exacerbated by the constant dwelling on the daily routines of walking, sleeping, drinking water and pill popping. And on his return journey, the narrative becomes dominated by the childish behaviour of two love-sick "teenagers" in which they are constantly smiling at each other, kissing, teasing and upsetting each other. Remember, there's no dialogue. Just when I was looking forward to relieving the monotony of the first half with another character for protagonist to interact with, I found that it was instead replaced by something even more infuriating.The prose is not archaic in a good, Eric Rücker Eddison kind of way. It instead feels clumsy, repetitive and ugly. If I'm being unkind I would say that Hodgson was very bad at archaic styling and if I'm being generous I would say that he most skillfully constructed a character whose prose was appalling. Indeed, I ended up feeling that all the flaws of the book were intentional, part of Hodgson's deliberate styling. And I know full well from reading his other work that this man could write really well when he wanted to. What he was trying to achieve in this book I will never really understand but whether it was deliberate or not, I didn't enjoy it.This is a long book, coming in at just over 500 pages. The blurb on the front boasted this was the "complete and unabridged version" and I found myself wishing it wasn't. At various points I was on the verge of giving up but just managed to force myself to carry on until the end. My advice to anyone considering reading this is to only do so after reading some of his other work and if you really feel you just have to have more of this otherwise wonderful writer whose life was cut tragically short.

  • Rebecca Gransden
    2019-01-15 05:15

    Disappointing. I was excited to read this after experiencing The House on the Borderland but this severely dragged.The beginning to this novel is supremely evocative; a world in darkness due to the absence of the sun, lit from within by flaming pits and powered by a type of geothermal energy. The landscape is visionary, the creatures suitably monstrous and unsettling; from slug-like behemoths to the vile and base Humpt men. After the initial world building the descriptive fervour wanes and we are left following a very traditional tale of a knight on a quest to rescue a fair maiden. This can be tolerated if done well, but seems so naive now to a modern audience that the feeling it should be relegated to a children's fairy story is the tempting compulsion, but then again that would insult the modern child. Even allowing for the literary conventions of a hundred years back this is deeply repetitive. I set it down for four days without any desire to pick it back up again and complete it. Out of fairness, stubbornness and being blown away by The House on the Borderland I went back to it but unfortunately that was a waste of time. By the time the ending came around the lack of any psychological truth made what was supposed to be a stirring denouement unengaging and fatuous.It shocked me how quickly this turned from an imaginative fantastical world of wonder to a tedious drudge in the company of a messed up knight with issues and his drippy girlfriend. The misogyny on show is just awful and cannot be excused by saying it was of its time. And even if that is disregarded there is not enough to sustain the narrative for even a half of the length of the novel.Please read The House on the Borderland. It is completely ace.

  • Julenew
    2019-01-20 10:49

    I read this book based on a review by C. S. Lewis, who commented that the best fiction adds a new dimension to your life for having read it. "The Night Land" does not disappoint!! It is one of the most incredible love stories, combined with a truly Epic tale of Good vs Evil -- in a genuinely Classic sense.For some inconceivable reason, the author chose to tell his tale in a bizzare, stilted dialect which is extremely difficult to work through at first. But, once you get past the mechanism of an incredibly distant future prophet sending his Tale back through time to this possibly Chaucerian-age bard, and get into the story of Earth's Last Two Cities, and what one great and gifted man will endure to save his love, you're hooked.I also appreciated the subtler, spiritual journey our Hero must make to succeed in his quest.When he learns that his Great Love is in jeopardy, of *course* our hero wants to rush right off and rescue her! But, he is persuaded that he must first prepare, or he will hardly make it past the outer walls. And so he prepares, both mentally, spiritually, and physically, while the Elders work to make him magical armor, so that when he finally ventures forth he will have the best possible chance of success.I found MANY, MANY life lessons woven into this narrative. I love it.

  • James
    2019-01-21 11:51

    It was in the Olden Days of the dawn of the world that I didst stumble across a copy of this book at the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences store in Providence, Rhode Island, a city anigh to both mine own redoubt and also mine own Heart. Obviously I was aware of the book's reputation (what with Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith being professed fans), and had recently seen it discussed at the Ligotti forums, and now lo! there it was on the shelf before me. So didst I purchase it very quickly, though put off reading it until recently, for divers reasons. This book is truly of those rarest of beasts... a novel I feel that I cannot give a star rating to, as truly mine own feelings for it are quite conflicted, and in verity, I'm still not sure if I could call this book a Masterpiece of the Imagination or one of the most boring novels I've ever read. I will say that it was, by far, one of the most exhausting novels I've ever read, and by the end of it didst seem as if I had literally walked every damn mile of the Night Land by the narrator's side, and didst felt much awearied (the fact that there's almost no dialogue at all, and that the whole thing is torturously written in a ludicrous and misguided attempt to mimic the archaic writing style of the 17th-century, doesn't help matters). It almost reads less like a novel and more like a nightmarish geography reduced to words. In his essay "The Supernatural Horror in Literature" H.P. Lovecraft declares this book as "one of the most potent pieces of macabre imagination ever written" while at the same time bemoaning its many flaws: "...painful verboseness, repetitiousness, artificial and nauseously sticky romantic sentimentality..." He also mentions that the last quarter of the book drags woefully, and he's not kidding. The first half, in which the unnamed (and, it must be said, somewhat sexist, pompous and unlikeable) narrator travels across that bleak landscape kist by Everlasting Night in search of his lost Beloved, is generally quite good, and captures a nice sense of cosmic loneliness. But then around the book's halfway point he finds his Beloved (who acts more like a spoiled and simple-minded child than a grown woman) and they head back home, and that's when the tedium sets in: every now and then there's an exciting scene like when they're forced to flee from giant slug monsters, only for it to be followed by a MINDBOGGLINGLY BORING 7 page scene of the narrator and his girlfriend bathing and washing their clothes in a hot spring: I lost count of how oft times mine eyes glazed over while struggling through the second half (to say nothing of the dulling of mine poorly taxed brain-elements), though I perceived that it didst pick up at the final few chapters. One thing that impresses me about this book is how that many of the monsters are only sketchily described (or heard rather than seen), leaving much to the imagination. I also like how many of the locations mentioned in the Night Land doth not even appear or gat visited by the narrator, though those we doth see are pretty cool (especially the chilling House of Silence).

  • Charles
    2019-01-17 06:54

    Man this book was long and repetitive. And that's a shame because there was incredible imagination at work here and there were some lovely passages of writing. But every moment of the story seemed to take a week to describe, and there was so much repitition that I felt like screaming. When it came to the end, I thought Hodgson was going to pull off a beautiful ending, but, as with most of the rest of the book, he had to write on and on past what would have been the true moment to end the story. I understand that the uncut version of this book is about 200,000 words long and it could 'easily' have been cut in half to make it a much stronger work. I also hear there is a short, 20,000 word version called: "The Dream of X." I sure wish I'd known that before I tackled the long version.

  • Derek
    2019-01-16 03:46

    How do I rate this thing? This book has such incredible strengths and incredible flaws that they cancel each other out. Hodgson starts from a first-class fantasy premise that is absolutely groundbreaking in scope and unbelievably grim and relentless in aspect, and then makes it the gooshiest and most maudlin of love stories, with all the abuses of language that a man writing in the High Gothic Romantic style can muster.Fortunately I had the Ballantine edition, which was split in half for publication. I am informed that I miss nothing in the other half.

  • Craig
    2019-01-09 04:59

    Hodgson is my favorite early fantasy author, and this is one of his best. It's one of the most densely-written, dream-like novels I've ever read, and his rich use of language is unsurpassed. It takes a while to get through, but it's worth it.

  • Sandy
    2019-01-10 11:59

    William Hope Hodgson's epic novel "The Night Land" was chosen for inclusion in Cawthorn & Moorcock's "Fantasy: The 100 Best Books," and yet in this overview volume's sister collection, "Horror: 100 Best Books," Jones & Newman surprisingly declare the novel to be "unreadable." No less a critic than H.P. Lovecraft pronounced "The Night Land" to be "one of the most potent pieces of macabre imagination ever written," and yet still insists that "the last quarter of the book drags woefully." With critics seemingly split down the middle regarding this novel, I manfully plunged into this book's 400+-page story, having greatly enjoyed four previous Hodgson titles: "The Boats of the Glen Carrig" (1907), "The House on the Borderland" (1908), "The Ghost Pirates" (1909) and the short-story collection "Carnacki The Ghost-Finder" (1913). Although "The Night Land" was initially published in 1912, it may very well have been Hodgson's first novel, if we can believe Sam Gafford's scholarly Internet essay entitled "Writing Backwards: The Novels of William Hope Hodgson." Be it the author's first novel or last, however, the book is extraordinary in many ways, and depicts a milieu not easily forgotten.Our nameless narrator, who apparently lives in the 18th century, tells us of his visions of the very far distant future. His reincarnated self, he reveals, lives in a time when the Earth's sun has burnt itself out, and the remnants of humanity reside in a seven-mile-high, 1,320-story pyramid, The Last Redoubt, around 150 miles below the planet's frozen surface. Our narrator, using a pseudo-archaic form of English that doubles as the language of the far future, goes on to tell of the epic journey he takes through the uncharted bowels of the Earth in search of a woman named Naani, who he is in telepathic communication with and who also seems to be the reincarnation of our narrator's 18th century wife. The travails that our young hero undergoes to find his lost love and bring her safely back to the Redoubt are certainly no less insurmountable than those that Homer's hero experienced in his classical odyssey. This young man is forced to encounter monstrous beastmen, enormous slugs and spiders, giants, feral hounds, volcanoes and other menaces during his months-long journey, and his plight is only made more worrisome when he ultimately does find Naani and has to turn around and bring her home. But a mere plot summary can in no way convey the atmosphere of eeriness that Hodgson manages to sustain for the entire duration of his book. The Night Land is indeed a world of dark wonders, most of which go unexplained. The angelic powers of good that repeatedly come to our hero's salvation, the dreadful Watchers, the inhabitants of the House of Silence, the Laugher of the East, the invisible Evil Powers...all these mysterious inhabitants of the underground realm are fleetingly referred to, leaving the reader hoping to learn more. Despite the novel's length, "The Night Land" could easily have served as a mere introduction to an epic fantasy series. Sadly, with Hodgson's death in World War I action in April 1918, that continuing series was never to be, leaving us with this tantalizing glimpse of Earth's future.I mentioned that archaic language before, the major stumbling block, seemingly, for most readers; the one responsible for the charge of the book being "unreadable." Here are some examples of this supposedly "unreadable" language: "And presently, when eighteen hours did have passed since that my sudden awakening to the peril of the Grey Men, I did search about for a place to slumber." "But I to know how that she did be like to be all gone of her strength thiswise...." "And there to be yet one thing upon which, mayhap, I not to have thought sufficient...." Although this diction is initially offputting, I found that I quickly adapted to the book's unusual grammar, syntax and punctuation (Hodgson's other works, especially "Glen Carrig," were a good prep for this), and soon felt that the narrator's manner of speech is almost charming. The book is far from unreadable; indeed, I think it is actually quite gripping. The final quarter that Lovecraft complained about is, for me, anything but a drag. Yes, the action does slow down a bit, as Hodgson details the "Taming of the Shrew"-like relationship that develops between our hero and his Naani; but this only sets us up for a final 50 pages or so that are really very thrilling. The relationship referred to, by the way, is quite a sweet one. Has a couple in all of fantasy literature ever been more manifestly in love than this couple here? Have you ever seen two people so enamored of each other that they actually kiss each other's food? Though some modern feminists might have a problem with our narrator's pet name for Naani ("Baby Slave"), the two are as perfect a couple as one could hope to find, and the reader's sympathies are wholly with them during their harrowing journey. Indeed, the more sentimental reader may find him/herself getting quite a bit misty-eyed by the book's conclusion. In any event, the bottom line is that this novel is some kind of brilliant work, and one that should greatly appeal to all fantasy, sci-fi and horror fans. It is well worth seeking out.

  • Sara
    2018-12-25 05:47

    Critics have repeatedly pointed out the imperfections of this novel. Curiously, The Night Land's critics are frequently its fans as well. That ought to tell you something about how strong its strong points are. That these critic-fans also offer the novel's originality as one of its primary assets, ought to tell you something about how unusual it really is. This novel is a strange animal. When it was published, in 1912, the ghost story was alive and well at that time, perhaps already starting to look a bit hackneyed; vampire stories not unheard of; science fiction, though perhaps not yet called 'science fiction', also beginning to get regular shrift. And while gleaning atmosphere and substance from all of these genres, The Night Land mimics none of them. Often called a 'horror' novel, that moniker also seems to suit it only partly.One obvious strangeness in The Night Land involves Hodgson's archaism. The frame narrative occurs in some indistinct past time - a number of commentators specify the 17th century, so I'll roll with that. The 17th-century narrator, after the death of his love, indeed seemingly due to grief itself, receives sudden insight into a man, himself (think reincarnation), living in a period unimaginably far in the future, long after the sun has died. He begins telling of this future life, in the Night Land, and his quest to find the future-self of his dead 17th-century love. Owing to this 17th-century character stuck narrating a futuristic story, Hodgson wrote the tale in a faux archaic language that can be difficult to get into, but flows after a couple of pages. Many of Hodgson's critic-fans number this faux archaism among the book's flaws. I disagree. The language lends the story an ingenuousness that's both appealing and suitable to the storyline which does, after all, hinge upon a love that outlives millennia. This is legendary, grand, heady stuff and the language suits it. Critics also dismiss the love story as trite or sentimental, but I adhere to the camp who does not use 'sentimental' as a dirty word. The love story is sentimental, but so is love when it's not callous, and every kind of love story has its place. Besides, spitting out 'sentimental' as a pejorative equates to belittling genuineness and earnestness. I may not want to constantly read about these qualities, but I value them when I find them and I think the world a little meaner of a place without them, so I'm quite comfortable with sentimental. What I am not comfortable with is repetition and that, by my estimation, is the worst sin of The Night Land. This novel could have been cut almost in half and, in fact, Hodgson released his own abridged version. We read how our hero stops and seeks shelter for the night, every night, how and when he eats his rations, over and over again. On one hand, including these quotidian details gives the reader a good sense of the interminability of a voyage on foot, always walking day after day, where sleeping and eating would both comprise the high points of one's day and serve to break the journey up into mentally manageable components. On the other hand, enough already! Few exciting altercations (with giant slugs and other beasties) punctuate this mundanity and it's simply asking a lot of a reader's patience to get through every last word of this lengthy book if we feel like we've read half of it before. As a matter of fact, I skipped through large chunks of the second half and skimmed many more. But this is my only real beef with what, otherwise, is an atmospheric, strange and beautiful story. Hodgson well imagines his future world. He vividly portrays the bleakness and horror of the sunless darkened earth, lit by volcanic fissures belching noxious gases, terrors waiting at every turn. He creates vile and gruesome beasties to inhabit this place. Lovecraft-style, he tells you just enough about the monsters to make you shiver and never enough to make you scoff. I think of JAWS and its notoriously malfunctioning shark. Spielberg knew it was better to show half a scary-looking shark than all of a broken, fake-looking one - a little detail will never blow the illusion the way too much detail will. Hodgson nails this and, indeed, Lovecraft numbers among his critic-fans. I guess I do, too. I've really never read anything like it.

  • Michael Eisenberg
    2019-01-02 03:55

    Recently I've been delving into the world of whats know as "weird fiction". Not the resurgence which started in the 80's in England by authors such as M. John Harrison and continued by China Mieville and many others, but the original weird stuff that was written back in the late 1800's though the 1930's. So, my gateway drug into this was William Hope Hodgson's "The Night Land". Let me just say that, ultimately, and upon alot of reflection I felt highly rewarded that I read this but...and this is a big BUT...this had to be one of the most difficult, arduous, eye-rolling texts I have ever read...ever!!! I persevered till the end, and I felt a sense of achievement and a satisfying sense of completion but the journey...good lord! The entire (huge) book was written in faux biblical style something like this: "...she did strive with her Memory. But in the end, did fail to come unto aught of clearness, save that she did see, as in a far dream, yet very plain, a great metal roadway, set in two lines that went forever unto the setting Sun; and she then sudden to say that she did see in her memory the Sun, and she to have a strange and troubled amazement upon her. And there did be Cities upon the great road; and the houses did be strange-seeming, and did move forward eternally and at a constant speed; and behind them the Night did march forever; and they to have an even pace with the sun, that they live ever in the light, and so to escape the night which pursued forever..." The story, as stated earlier by Jeff is very cut and dry dying earth. The plot is a simple quest to save the proverbial damsel in distress. The hero has to journey across the night lands, fraught with monsters both physical and psychic to reach her, and then fight his way back. That's it, on the surface. Within this simple framework though could be the birth of many well know tropes that have been done to death by authors post Hodgson leading all the way up to contemporary times. It was interesting reading these and realizing that this might be the first time that that particular idea has been set down in print. There is a great website that does a fantastic job at examining "The Night Land" ad-nauseum here: Reading it's many essays and apologies (as I was reading the novel) went a long way in keeping my stamina up to get though the constant insane language, sappy romance and eye rolling foot fetish (yeah, you read that right) passages that went on for eternity. So, with all this being said. Yes, I can recommend the book...but you better be in the right frame of mind to wade though all the bullshit.

  • Marisa
    2018-12-30 09:13

    this is both the best, and the worst book ever. The faux enlightenment slang is annoying and pages and pages are so repetitive that you want to kill someone. Then, there will be 15 pages of a harrowing escape from giant zombie slugs that makes it all worthwhile. The vision Hodgson had of this world, with the brilliant mysteries of man's end is amazing, but the book is nearly impossible to read.

  • the gift
    2019-01-19 07:12

    read this edition. abridgement is sometimes mistaken but not in this case. i read another edition and know now: skip romantic conceit ch 1, do not bother with long ending after ch 11. this version much more concise, effective. it you can survive the archaic, mannered, excessive language- there are some great images in here. lands, monsters, redoubts, fights, lands, monsters... not so much the plot. not the characters. i can see where in science of its day 1912 this can be seen as the beginning of the 'dying earth' sff subgenre...

  • Jason Mills
    2019-01-06 08:12

    This is a much-flawed yet fabulous book. Set mostly in a fantastically distant future, on a dark Earth whose sun has died, it is an adventure and a romance that spans eternity.First the bad news:It's written in a clunky, artificially-archaic style. This lends gravitas to the solemn and distant world depicted, and to our heroic narrator, but it is wordy and sometimes laborious.Some parts of the book portray a land riddled with mighty creatures that are nonetheless natural (as opposed to the supernatural 'forces' arrayed against humanity elsewhere). These beasts exist in an ecology apparently devoid of prey-animals; nor is it clear how vegetation (leafy trees!) can survive, illuminated only by the dim red glow of distant volcanoes. Hodgson appears not to have considered these concerns, but they jar on the intellect of the Educated Modern Reader (yours truly).The second half of the book rather belabours the lovey-dovey stuff, trying this reader's patience. And feminists will shudder from the first page to the last: enlightened sexual relations are NOT on the agenda...There are smaller quibbles I could mention; but on to the more important good news:The book presents a vision of the last millions of humanity crowded together for defence in the Last Redoubt, a steel pyramid seven miles high, surrounded by giant malicious beasts so huge and slow that their movements are barely detectable in a human lifetime. Malign influences bear down upon the Last Redoubt: the House of Silence, the Giants, the Strange Things that Peer from the Precipice, the Silent Ones. He who ventures out beyond the protective circle of the Great Earth-Current risks not merely death but the eternal destruction of his spirit.If that all sounds a bit OTT, it most certainly is. It's hair-prickling Deep Horror, wonderfully evoked. Our hero is a fellow from our time who, losing his love, awakes reincarnated in this far future and hears her mind call to him from far across the Night Land - where there shouldn't even be any more humans. The book relates his epic lonely pilgrimage to find his beloved and return her to safety.It is, in other words, a Romance, and in grand style. Though it makes the reader work, the broad and dark vision of a dying humanity, the arduous adventures, the thrilling climax and the heart-wrenching ending make this book a timeless classic.

  • Andrei Baltakmens
    2019-01-07 05:46

    William Hope Hodgson's science fantasy of a decaying Earth darkened by the death of the Sun in a vastly remote future should be regarded as unreadable. The pseudo-archaic language lumbers along, the plot is simple and largely descriptive, there is virtually no dialog, the characters are thin, there is an unpleasant thread of misogyny in the character relationships, and the whole mass is excessively long and repetitive.But The Night Land is, after a strange fashion, a masterpiece.The Night Land is less a narrative than a prose-poem, a mood, an evocation of entropy and dread in a world so old that human progress is over, the Sun is dead and only the end of all things, inevitable but hugely delayed, remains. Humanity has retreated to one last Redoubt, and can only wait for extinction. The world is desolate, ruled by threatening monsters, but their nature is utterly alien. Whatever the hero of the text can gain, it will be ultimately eclipsed by the destruction and failure of everything else. Hence, in a real sense, progress, narrative advancement, is futile. The book is really about a setting, a world of alien things and impending destruction, which can be barely named, let alone described.Hence, the archaic language represents the alienating effect of so much time. The vague names of creatures – Watchers, Silent Ones – suggest their menace and unknowability. The routine story is really the only action that is possible when all human beings can do is rescue the remaining fragments and wall them up against the gathering darkness. Hodgson's fantasy edges close to the logic and stasis of a dream. The Night Land is about an impression, a sense of dread, the night closing in and a flicker of human resistance.This, and the scope and boldness of the author's vision of a dying universe, makes The Night Land unique.An earlier version of this review appears on my blog:

  • Jim Smith
    2018-12-27 07:58

    A five star rating elsewhere is a 'perfect' score, but as on Goodreads it signifies 'amazing' I unequivocally cast such a rating. As most Hodgson aficionados would admit, The Night Land is a flawed jewel. The prose is clumsy and laboured, the repetition is vitiating and the second half of the book sags due to a mix of turgid storytelling and limited content, but Hodgson's transmutation of the ghost story into a fantasy epic is also ingenious, awe-inspiring and without comparison. Not an easy book, but a great and unforgettable one. A tip would be to listen to an audio version so the bizarre grammatical choices don't overwhelm. When so approached, The Night Land becomes the literary equivalent of evocative ambient black metal, with enough atmosphere to soak oneself in that the various profound flaws are easily compensated for. This is true kvlt literature.

  • Randolph Carter
    2018-12-31 08:16

    Is it science fiction? Is it fantasy? Is it romance? Is it written in a weird fake archaic English? Is it unreadable? It's all this and more... Seriously, The Night Land is a marvelous but flawed apocalyptic novel, flawed through its over-reliance on repetitious and dated romantic sequences and its quasi-archaic language (you get used to it after awhile). It also will offend those who cannot put aside its treatment of women. It is truly very weird and creepy in parts particularly during the "outward" half of the book (volume 1). It shows a unique perspective and and imagination on a post-apocalyptic world. The protagonist is engaging although tends to be repetitive.It is a pioneer and points in a direction that the horror genre would go.

  • Martin
    2018-12-29 05:52

    The faults of this book are well known - the somewhat sickly love story, the affected language - but if you can get beyond that, this is a truly amazing vision of the far future. The last humans are living in a giant pyramid besieged by the creatures living in the outer darkness, after the sun has gone out. This is an amazing work of the imagination that works both as a science fiction story and a horror story - in the end it hardly matters if the Watchers and the Silent Ones are invading extraterrestrials, creatures from another dimension, or supernatural entities. Not surprisingly, this book was admired by Lovecraft and I think it is a forerunner to his tales of cosmic horror.

  • Ignacio Senao f
    2019-01-11 08:16

    Nebreda nos advierte en la introducción del contenido machista propio de la época en que fue escrito. Y hace bien, porque ciertamente hay párrafos que pueden dañar los sentimientos de más de uno.La historia posiblemente la más floja de todo lo que he leído de este gran autor. Es una fantasía bastante clásica: el viaje de alguien en busca de un objetivo (su amada), y por el camino tendrá que soportar todo tipo de problemas. El mundo es un futuro apocalíptico de nuestro planeta, en que la ciencia ficción y fantasía se mezclan para dar un sentido de la maravilla jugoso, pero estropeado con las relaciones de nuestros personajes, y ese gran toque romántico.

  • Ben
    2018-12-24 11:00

    Finally! After wading through this tale for a year, I can finally put it back on the shelf. Hard to recommend due to the faux 17th century style in which it's written, it is still an incredible mix of science fiction, horror, fantasy and romance that pits one man against a planet covered in darkness and filled with monsters. Epic in scope, it abounds in original ideas given it's 1912 publication date. It's a shame more people aren't at least aware of this book.

  • Paul Christensen
    2019-01-22 06:16

    One of the greatest love stories ever written. This is a SYMBOLIST work, other reviewers here who don't understand that are demi-morons. This is Amor, A-Mor, Without Death, as Serrano defined it, not the mundane 'love' of 'boyfriend' and 'girlfriend'.

  • Camilo
    2019-01-07 07:48

    Me esperaba algo peor, tiene momentos brillantes y también algún altibajo y alguna parte polémica, se nota que fue la primera novela del autor, pero en general es un libro entretenido, lo recomiendo mucho!!.

  • Kelldicott
    2019-01-23 06:03

    HOLY CRAP. The nightmarish, beautiful, despairing, idealistic imagination of this guy.

  • Valeer Damen
    2019-01-08 07:15

    Hodgson writes in a sort of pseudo-archaic style, that is, a mode of writing that feels like it could belong between the late middle ages and early 17th century. At the very beginning this seems a bit artificial, but after a few dozens of pages, you begin to notice that it actually works. This is because Hodgson can write.The 'main character from this time transported to the future' device is faintly reminiscent of The_Worm_Ouroboros, but seems both more reasonably integrated and less intrusive.There are interesting bits of philosophy all throughout the main character's journey, about evolution vs. 'providence', and about various parts of human nature.The style used requires more than a cursory attention, so the going is a little slow, but I think this may be a very rewarding book.A lot of time is devoted to the main character's feelings for his beloved. He is very frank, which actually makes the book quite refreshing and fragile. However, by means of his constant conversation with the reader, he manages to create a very intimate and open relationship with his audience.Overall, there is actually a very good distribution between action, feeling, description, and the odd tidbits of philosphical speculation on evolution and the nature of man and various beasts.

  • Dee
    2019-01-18 11:09

    This was a wonderful, if somewhat prolonged, read! The author's use of rather quaint language and the odd mixture of chivalry and romanticism put me off a little, but only a little.Sometimes I need not only to suspend my disbelief, but also my contemporary views of gender roles and sexism and romance and relationships.I figured since I was suspending my understanding of modern science, it wasn't too unreasonable to suspend the rest and just enjoy the ride.What a ride! Imagine an Earth so far in the future the sun has burnt itself out (without going red-giant and consuming the world). The Earth still has volcanoes and fumaroles and air, and human beings. Our hero and his love interest are reborn into this distant future, and in their contemporary lives seemed to have memories of themselves in the future, then they die, then the story of them in the future commences.It's no farther fetched than Edgar Rice Burroughs' books about John Carter going to Mars, and easily as fun and imaginative. I won't spoil a bit of it. Just suspend most everything and let the book do the believing for you.BTW, this title is available for free on Project Gutenberg: you enjoy older science fiction I really recommend their catalog.

  • Dane
    2018-12-27 08:56

    A great book with an odd literary style, written in early 1900's, the author actually died in WW1. You never know the name of the main character and it there is no actual dialog. It takes place briefly in the some marry manor filled happy past of England, and then the scene quickly changes to some future millions of years in the making, where the sun has died, humanity itself is confined too one last bastion, a pyramid-fortress 7 miles high called the Last Redoubt. And horrid unimaginable creatures and greater forces of evil roam the sun-less lands, waiting for any mortal to step out into them, where they wont only kill you. But destroy your soul as well.The book it self is a love story about one man who has transverse time, and all the evil the 'Night Lands' can bring to bare against him, to re-unite himself with his lost love, his beautiful shining beacon of happiness, that was so cruelly torn from him in a previous life, and nearly lost to him again.

  • Bokeshi
    2018-12-26 11:52

    Had The Night Land been penned by a more competent writer, it would have been the greatest horror/sci-fi book ever created. But since it was written by William Hope Hodgson, it is barely readable -- the clunky pseudo-archaic style will make you roll your eyes so hard you may end up seeing the inside of your head. Yet despite that, the power of his macabre vision is truly majestic, awe-inspiring and unforgettable.

  • Theophilus (Theo)
    2019-01-19 07:06

    Downright scary. Hodgson put to work a superb imagination and created a perfectly believable world. Since it takes place in the dark, the reader's own imagination can contribute to the atmosphere and setting of events. I read this as an adult, mostly at night. After reading this I wondered many times what would happen if the sun did not rise the next day. Highly recommended.