The House on the Borderland

Arkham House

First Printing, 1946; edition of 3000 copies

Hardcover; 639 pp.

Cover art by Hannes Bok

The first American printing of Hodgson's 4 novels, including the title novel plus The Boats of the Glen Carrig, The Ghost Pirates, and The Night Land.

 

Carnacki the Ghost-Finder

Arkham House, Mycroft and Moran imprint

First Printing, 1947; edition of 3000 copies

Hardcover; 239 pp.

Cover art by Frank Utpatel

The first comprehensive collection of all of Hodgson'e 13 tales of his psychic detective, Carnacki; 10 of the tales were originally published in Great Britain in 1910.

 

Deep Waters

Arkham House

First Printing, 1967; edition of 2500 copies

Hardcover; 300 pp.

Cover art by Frank Utpatel

13 stories, comprising all of Hodgson's shorter macabre tales of the sea.

 

The House on the Borderland

Panther Books (England)

First Printing, 1969

Paperback; 139 pp.

Cover art by Ian Miller

Originally published in Great Britain in 1908.

 
The Boats of the Glen Carrig

Ballantine Books Adult Fantasy Series

First Printing, February 1971

Paperback; 176 pp.

Introduction by Lin Carter

Cover art by Robert LoGrippo

Hodgson's first book, originally published in Great Britain in 1907; this edition is the first American printing in paperback.

 

The Night Land

Ballantine Books Adult Fantasy Series

First Printing, July 1972

Paperback, 2 volumes:
244 pp. (Vol. I); 243 pp. (Vol. II)

Introduction by Lin Carter

Cover art by Robert LoGrippo

Contains the full text of Hodgson's dark and terrifying masterwork, which was first published in Great Britain in ; this edition is the first American printing in paperback.

 

Carnacki the Ghost-Finder

Panther Books (England)

First Printing, 1973

Paperback; 204 pp.

Cover art by Bruce Pennington

British reprint of the 1947 Arkham House edition.

 
Out of the Storm

Donald M. Grant

First Printing, 1975

Hardcover; 304 pp.

Edited and with a critical biography by Sam Moskowitz

Cover art by Hannes Bok; illustrated by Stephen Fabian

7 stories, previously unpublished in hardcover.

 

The Dream of X

Donald M. Grant

First Printing, 1980

Hardcover; 228 pp.

Cover art and illustrations by Stephen Fabian

The author's own condensation of The Night Land, created specifically for the American market when his American agent informed him that the full version would never sell in the USA.

 

The Haunted Pampero

Donald M. Grant

First Printing, 1991; edition of 500 copies, signed and numbered by the editor

Hardcover; 272 pp.

Edited and with a critical essay and notes by Sam Moskowitz

Cover art and illustrations by Arthur E. Moore

12 previously uncollected fantasies and mysteries.

 

Terrors of the Sea

Donald M. Grant

First Printing, 1996; includes tip-in sheet signed by the editor

Hardcover; 256 pp.

Edited and with a critical essay and notes by Sam Moskowitz

Cover art and illustrations by Ned Dameron

14 previously unpublished and uncollected stories.
As with so many of the writers and their works that I have profiled here on this website, I first learned of William Hope Hodgson from the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series and editor Lin Carter.
Three volumes of Hodgson's works were published under the sign of the unicorn in the early 1970s, and I bought and read them all. The first to appear was The Boats of the Glen Carrig, a macabre novel of the sea. It was followed a year later by The Night Land, published in two volumes (see these books at left). I enjoyed Boats immensely, and have read it more than once. The Night Land, however, caught me completely off guard. It remains to this day perhaps the strangest and most eerily frightening book that I have read. Hodgson creates a world that is so alien, so dark (literally) and terrifying in its strangeness, that it is truly unforgettable. And this despite the fact that Hodgson makes it difficult to read by affecting a flowery, cumbersome prose style and infusing the story with an often annoying romantic sentimentality.

The Night Land
This novel, my favorite of Hodgson's works, is a strange but potent combination of horror, science fiction, mystery, heroic quest, and Victorian romance.
The story takes place on the earth, but in a time so far in the future that the sun has died to a cinder and the planet is shrouded in perpetual night. All of humanity that remains on the planet had eons ago retreated into a gigantic pyramid, a small world unto itself, called the Last Redoubt. Thousands of generations had lived and died within the huge structure. In the world outside, human life was non-existent. But, life did exist, for the Last Redoubt and all of its inhabitants were under siege by both terrestrial and alien forces:

"...the Last Redoubt - that great Pyramid of grey metal which held the last millions of this world from the Powers of the Slayers."

For untold centuries, humans within the Redoubt had watched the dark world outside through telescopes as evil and unknown entities and strange phenomena moved about or slowly encroached upon their great fortress: the House of Silence, The Road Where the Silent Ones Walk, the Place of the Abhumans, the Giants' Pit, the Giants' Kilns, the Valley of the Hounds, the Three Silver Fire-Holes, the Thing that Nods, The Country Whence Comes the Great Laughter, The Place Where the Silent Ones Kill, the Vale of Red Fire, the Plain of Blue Fire, the Quiet City, the Giant's Sea, and the Unknown Lands beyond all of these. And, among all of this terrifying strangeness the inhabitants of the Redoubt saw the largest, strangest, and most evil entities of all, the Watchers:

"...and thus the four watchers kept ward through the darkness, upon the Pyramid, and moved not, neither gave they out any sound. Yet did we know them to be mountains of living watchfulness and hideous and steadfast intelligence."

The Night Land  is a huge book, and as I said earlier, it involves a heroic quest.
In the event that your curiosity has been piqued and you'd like to experience the novel for yourself (which I highly recommend), I don't want to spoil any surprises for you. I will only say that the narrator-hero of the novel ventures outside of the Redoubt. His adventures there are for you to discover.

In his many novels and short stories, Hodgson proved himself to be a master of mood and atmosphere, and at conveying a sense of menace and dread. This is particularly evident in The Night Land. For me, this is where Hodgson truly excelled. Despite the book's obvious flaws, the dark and terrifying world he created and the strange and evil entities with which he filled it have never been equalled in fantastic literature.
- Doc, February 2006

A Brief Bio of W.H.H.
William Hope Hodgson was born on November 15, 1877 in Essex, England. At the age of thirteen, he left home and joined the Merchant Marine. Over the next fourteen years, he alternated periods at sea with other endeavors, including bodybuilding and a stint as a photographer.

By 1904, Hodgson, who had previously published non-fiction articles, began writing fiction on a full-time basis. All of his subsequent novels and short stories were written, and most published, during the next ten or eleven years. Hodgson married in 1913, at the age of 36, and wrote little after this. In 1917, while serving in World War I as a forward observer in Belgium, he was tragically killed by German artillery. He was 40 years old.