Best 1908 Adventures (3)
February 3, 2018
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1908 adventure novels. Happy 110th anniversary!
William Hope Hodgson’s supernatural adventure The House on the Borderland.
Directly over a vast chasm near a remote Irish village, some two hundred years before our narrative begins, someone has built a weird stone house — circular, with “little curved towers and pinnacles, with outlines suggestive of leaping flames.” As our narrator — the Recluse, whose journal it is that we’re reading — soon discovers, the house is a space/time portal. He’s oppressed by a hallucinatory vision, in which he travels to another planet (or dimension) where he finds a version of the house; and he’s attacked by humanoid “swine-things,” who emerge from the chasm. The house also transports the recluse to “the Sea of Sleep,” where he reunites with his lost love — who warns him that the house was “founded on grim arcane laws.” The man is afforded a cosmic vision of Earth passing through eons to its destruction… and he’s infected by a luminous fungus!
Fun facts: Via this book and the Radium Age sci-fi novel The Night Land (1912), among other writings, Hodgson pioneered a strain of cosmic horror that would prove influential on the likes of H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith.
Let me know if I’ve missed any 1908 adventures that you particularly admire.