William Hope Hodgson, Winner of the 2006 Rediscovery
William Hope Hodgson was awarded the 2006 Cordwainer Smith
Rediscovery Award. This award is given annually to a science
fiction or fantasy writer who is deserving of being
rediscovered. We at the Cordwainer Smith Foundation established
the award, which is now presented annually at Readercon.
Judges for this award were John Clute, Gardner Dozois, Scott
Edelman, and Robert Silverberg, the same group of judges we
have been fortunate enough to have since the awards began in
William Hope Hodgson was born in 1877 and died in World War
I at the age of forty. His writing was done mainly in the last
ten years of his life. While his works contain science fiction
aspects, you might also describe him as
being a horror author.
His wrote two novels on which his fame rests:
- The House on the Borderland -- H. P. Lovecraft
considered this a "classic of the first water" except for a
few "touches of commonplace sentimentality. It can be read
online, or downloaded from links given below.
- The Night Land is longer. According to the
Wikipedia entry on Hodgson, it is
"written in an archaic style and expressing a sombre
vision of a sunless far-future world."
Wikipedia says of both novels, "Despite his often laboured
and clumsy language, Hodgson achieves a deep power of
expression, which focuses on a sense not only of terror but of
the ubiquity of potential terror, of the thinness of the
invisible bound between the world of normality and an
underlying reality for which humans are not suited."
His other writings are also listed in that Wikipedia entry.
Interestingly, he was a bodybuilder.
Here's a good
link on Hodgson.
As his works are now out of copyright and in the public
domain, they can be read as ebooks in various places around the
web. Here is a link that gives a number of websites:
Here is another good source: http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hodgson/william_hope/
The Night Land
This map is from the book:
Here is a selection from near the beginning:
THE LAST REDOUBT
Since Mirdath, My Beautiful One, died and left me
lonely in this world, I have suffered an anguish,
and an utter and dreadful pain of longing, such as
truly no words shall ever tell; for, in truth, I
that had all the world through her sweet love and
companionship, and knew all the joy and gladness of
Life, have known such lonesome misery as doth stun
me to think upon.
Yet am I to my pen again; for of late a wondrous
hope has grown in me, in that I have, at night in
my sleep, waked into the future of this world, and
seen strange things and utter marvels, and known
once more the gladness of life; for I have learned
the promise of the future, and have visited in my
dreams those places where in the womb of Time, she
and I shall come together, and part, and again come
together--breaking asunder most drearly in pain,
and again reuniting after strange ages, in a glad
and mighty wonder.
And this is the utter strange story of that which I
have seen, and which, truly, I must set out, if the
task be not too great; so that, in the setting out
thereof, I may gain a little ease of the heart; and
likewise, mayhap, give ease of hope to some other
poor human, that doth suffer, even as I have
suffered so dreadful with longing for Mine Own that
And some shall read and say that this thing was
not, and some shall dispute with them; but to them
all I say naught, save "Read!" And having read that
which I set down, then shall one and all have
looked towards Eternity with me--unto its very
portals. And so to my telling:
To me, in this last time of my visions, of which I
would tell, it was not as if I dreamed; but, as it
were, that I waked there into the dark, in the
future of this world. And the sun had died; and for
me thus newly waked into that Future, to look back
upon this, our Present Age, was to look back into
dreams that my soul knew to be of reality; but
which to those newly-seeing eyes of mine, appeared
but as a far vision, strangely hallowed with
peacefulness and light.
Always, it seemed to me when I awaked into the
Future, into the Everlasting Night that lapped this
world, that I saw near to me, and girdling me all
about, a blurred greyness. And presently this, the
greyness, would clear and fade from about me, even
as a dusky cloud, and I would look out upon a world
of darkness, lit here and there with strange
sights. And with my waking into that Future, I
waked not to ignorance; but to a full knowledge of
those things which lit the Night Land; even as a
man wakes from sleep each morning, and knows
immediately he wakes, the names and knowledge of
the Time which has bred him, and in which he lives.
And the same while, a knowledge I had, as it were
sub-conscious, of this Present--this early life,
which now I live so utterly alone.
In my earliest knowledge of that place, I was a
youth, seventeen years grown, and my memory tells
me that when first I waked, or came, as it might be
said, to myself, in that Future, I stood in one of
the embrasures of the Last Redoubt--that great
Pyramid of grey metal which held the last millions
of this world from the Powers of the
If you want to read more, see the links above.