The House on the Borderland and Other Novels

William Hope Hodgson
The House on the Borderland and Other Novels Cover

The House on the Borderland


The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson

2.5 Stars

What a strange book!

Two men on a fishing trip in a remote part of Ireland come across the ruins of an old house. The atmosphere around the house makes it creepy, and these characters feel it. They find a manuscript and take it with them as they make a hasty retreat.

The manuscript comprises the tales of an old man who lived in the house. His descriptions of the garden and the creatures that haunt it give the story a creepiness found in a good horror novel. The prose is old fashioned, not necessarily because of the setting as the novel was written in the early 1900s. It is refreshing to read something written at a time when grammar and spelling actually counted for something.

The middle of the tale diverges from a horror novel to a metaphysical science fiction novel as the manuscript's author is somehow transported through time. He watches the decay of his house and his dog and the destruction of the solar system. The creatures in the garden make an appearance, but no clue is given as to who and what they represent.

In the end, the man returns to his house where some time has passed, at least for the poor dog, who remains dead. No conclusions as to who the viscous creatures are or why he was transported through time are ever given.

This book is classified as a Masterwork of Fantasy. There are definitely elements of horror and elements of science fiction in it, but not really any elements of fantasy. This book couldn't seem to decide what it was – horror or science fiction. Neither aspect meshed well with the other. As a result, it was not really a satisfying read.

(Anyone else notice that the author's name is spelled incorrectly on the book cover posted on the site?)