The House on the Borderland

The House on the BorderlandThe House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Now that I’ve finally read THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND, another in a long line of classic horror novels I’ve been meaning to read for decades but somehow never got around to, I can see why H.P. Lovecraft called it, “A classic of the first order.” It’s full of cosmic mystery and hints at something much larger than our human narrator, known only as the Recluse, can comprehend. The novel is trippy — psychedelic, even — with the amazing imagery the Recluse encounters during his visions/astral projections/whatever they are. The first half of the novel, in which the Recluse’s house is attacked by creatures from another dimension (or another planet, or another time, or maybe all three), is gripping and right up there with the best weird fiction. The second half, which makes use of time travel and consists mainly of the Recluse watching the accelerated end of the Earth and the coming of the Green Sun from his study window, is much drier, and I’ll admit my mind sometimes wandered during the long patches of monotonous description.

I wish there were something at the end of the novel to tie it all together, but we’re left only with more mysteries, which definitely was Hodgson’s intention but which I found somewhat unsatisfying. If you read THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND, I’d recommend doing so for the novels’ astounding imagery and the breathtaking originality of its ideas, rather than for the narrative itself. I enjoyed it, and some of the imagery will definitely stay with me, but for better or worse THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND is more acid trip than novel.

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