“The House on the Borderland” (or, “The Book on the Long Side”)

I recently read a book called The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson.  It was a forerunner of what we would call  “Lovecraftian” weird tales, in that instead of relying the stereotypical monsters, it instead used a weird atmosphere and strange alien creatures to be frightening.

That part of it is pretty cool.  Unfortunately, it’s also a forerunner of Lovecraft in another respect:  the story goes on way too long.  I think it’s partly a dramatic device to have it drag on like it does, but it’s still too long.  The feeling of weirdness and dread can’t really be sustained over a story of that length.

Even with that serious flaw, though, it’s a very good story, especially the first half of it.  Some of the science of the science-fiction elements were surprisingly well done.  The author does as good a job as one could expect of describing what seems to be the end of the universe as many astronomers predict it.

I guess that’s kind of a spoiler—but actually, it’s also a good way of conveying how long the book is: the universe ends—and then the book continues after that!

What's your stake in this, cowboy?