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The Night Land (The Night Land)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  800 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
"---this fantasy of a night-black, dead planet, with the remains of the human race concentrated in a stupendously vast metal pyramid & besieged by monstrous, hybrid & altogether unknown forces of darkness, is something that no reader can ever forger" (H. P. Lovecraft).

"One of the most potent pieces of macabre imagination ever written" -- H.P.Lovecraft. Lovecraft wa
Paperback, 509 pages
Published 1990 by Grafton (first published 1912)
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J.G. Keely
A modern man starts receiving psychic messages from hundreds of thousands of years in Earth's future--messages from himself. The sun is dying, the world is filled with horrific monsters, and the last remnants of humanity have locked themselves away in a vast pyramid to await the death of their world in peace. They peer out from countless windows at the awful monstrosities which beat at the gates, who want nothing so much as to kill every man, woman, and child within. Then, one day, they receive ...more
Henry Avila
May 15, 2012 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The creepy crawlers crawl in the eternal darkness, in this unknown alien world?The 17th Century gentleman arrives here, just after losing his beloved wife Lady Mirdath, and baby during childbirth. The setting,yes Earth, eons of years in the future,when the dead Sun and stars have gone out.An unshining and unseen moon, also orbits the planet.No daylight, perpetual night.Monsters and creatures roam the territory and millions of humans hide in a gray metallic, gigantic Pyramid,The Last Redoubt, mil ...more
Yes yes...the writing style is obnoxious and the constant repetition is grating, but as a reader what would you rather have?
1. A well-paced and readable thriller of a book that causes you no pain, but is soon forgotten and is (in verity) a mediocrity?
2. Or a book that infuriates you and tries your patience to the utmost degree, but is at its core a true original and one of the most remarkable feats of imagination in the the English language?

You need to determine how much you value originality, a
Sep 10, 2010 Simon rated it did not like it
Millions of years into the future when the sun has ceased to shine and most of the world is overrun by strange demonic beasts, the remnants of mankind hold out inside a mighty pyramid fueled by the "earth current" in which the beasts cannot enter. No one who ever ventures out ever comes back and since they have all they need inside their redoubt, not many bother.

At first this seemed to be a story about a man who is telepathically contacted by a woman who he remembers from a former life, and was
Rebecca Gransden
Disappointing. I was excited to read this after experiencing The House on the Borderland but this severely dragged.

The beginning to this novel is supremely evocative; a world in darkness due to the absence of the sun, lit from within by flaming pits and powered by a type of geothermal energy. The landscape is visionary, the creatures suitably monstrous and unsettling; from slug-like behemoths to the vile and base Humpt men. After the initial world building the descriptive fervour wanes and we ar
Jun 03, 2009 Julenew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book based on a review by C. S. Lewis, who commented that the best fiction adds a new dimension to your life for having read it. "The Night Land" does not disappoint!! It is one of the most incredible love stories, combined with a truly Epic tale of Good vs Evil -- in a genuinely Classic sense.

For some inconceivable reason, the author chose to tell his tale in a bizzare, stilted dialect which is extremely difficult to work through at first. But, once you get past the mechanism of an
It was in the Olden Days of the dawn of the world that I didst stumble across a copy of this book at the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences store in Providence, Rhode Island, a city anigh to both mine own redoubt and also mine own Heart. Obviously I was aware of the book's reputation (what with Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith being professed fans), and had recently seen it discussed at the Ligotti forums, and now lo! there it was on the shelf before me. So didst I purchase it very quickly, though pu ...more
Critics have repeatedly pointed out the imperfections of this novel. Curiously, The Night Land's critics are frequently its fans as well. That ought to tell you something about how strong its strong points are. That these critic-fans also offer the novel's originality as one of its primary assets, ought to tell you something about how unusual it really is.

This novel is a strange animal. When it was published, in 1912, the ghost story was alive and well at that time, perhaps already starting to
Michael Eisenberg
Apr 23, 2011 Michael Eisenberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recently I've been delving into the world of whats know as "weird fiction". Not the resurgence which started in the 80's in England by authors such as M. John Harrison and continued by China Mieville and many others, but the original weird stuff that was written back in the late 1800's though the 1930's.

So, my gateway drug into this was William Hope Hodgson's "The Night Land". Let me just say that, ultimately, and upon alot of reflection I felt highly rewarded that I read this but...and this is
May 31, 2010 Charles rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: masochists
Shelves: classics
Man this book was long and repetitive. And that's a shame because there was incredible imagination at work here and there were some lovely passages of writing. But every moment of the story seemed to take a week to describe, and there was so much repitition that I felt like screaming.

When it came to the end, I thought Hodgson was going to pull off a beautiful ending, but, as with most of the rest of the book, he had to write on and on past what would have been the true moment to end the story.
Jul 10, 2007 Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hodgson is my favorite early fantasy author, and this is one of his best. It's one of the most densely-written, dream-like novels I've ever read, and his rich use of language is unsurpassed. It takes a while to get through, but it's worth it.
Aug 18, 2011 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
William Hope Hodgson's epic novel "The Night Land" was chosen for inclusion in Cawthorn & Moorcock's "Fantasy: The 100 Best Books," and yet in this overview volume's sister collection, "Horror: 100 Best Books," Jones & Newman surprisingly declare the novel to be "unreadable." No less a critic than H.P. Lovecraft pronounced "The Night Land" to be "one of the most potent pieces of macabre imagination ever written," and yet still insists that "the last quarter of the book drags woefully." W ...more
How do I rate this thing? This book has such incredible strengths and incredible flaws that they cancel each other out. Hodgson starts from a first-class fantasy premise that is absolutely groundbreaking in scope and unbelievably grim and relentless in aspect, and then makes it the gooshiest and most maudlin of love stories, with all the abuses of language that a man writing in the High Gothic Romantic style can muster.

Fortunately I had the Ballantine edition, which was split in half for publica
Jun 04, 2008 Marisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the serious sci-fi fan
this is both the best, and the worst book ever. The faux enlightenment slang is annoying and pages and pages are so repetitive that you want to kill someone. Then, there will be 15 pages of a harrowing escape from giant zombie slugs that makes it all worthwhile. The vision Hodgson had of this world, with the brilliant mysteries of man's end is amazing, but the book is nearly impossible to read.
May 05, 2008 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally! After wading through this tale for a year, I can finally put it back on the shelf. Hard to recommend due to the faux 17th century style in which it's written, it is still an incredible mix of science fiction, horror, fantasy and romance that pits one man against a planet covered in darkness and filled with monsters. Epic in scope, it abounds in original ideas given it's 1912 publication date. It's a shame more people aren't at least aware of this book.
Jan 04, 2017 Camilo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me esperaba algo peor, tiene momentos brillantes y también algún altibajo y alguna parte polémica, se nota que fue la primera novela del autor, pero en general es un libro entretenido, lo recomiendo mucho!!.
Jason Mills
Feb 18, 2010 Jason Mills rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of fantasy, horror, SF, the weird and the original. But feminists, prepare for wincing.
Recommended to Jason by: "A Short History Of Fantasy" and James Stoddard
This is a much-flawed yet fabulous book. Set mostly in a fantastically distant future, on a dark Earth whose sun has died, it is an adventure and a romance that spans eternity.

First the bad news:

It's written in a clunky, artificially-archaic style. This lends gravitas to the solemn and distant world depicted, and to our heroic narrator, but it is wordy and sometimes laborious.

Some parts of the book portray a land riddled with mighty creatures that are nonetheless natural (as opposed to the super
Valeer Damen
May 06, 2010 Valeer Damen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hodgson writes in a sort of pseudo-archaic style, that is, a mode of writing that feels like it could belong between the late middle ages and early 17th century. At the very beginning this seems a bit artificial, but after a few dozens of pages, you begin to notice that it actually works. This is because Hodgson can write.

The 'main character from this time transported to the future' device is faintly reminiscent of The_Worm_Ouroboros, but seems both more reasonably integrated and less intrusive.
Nov 11, 2013 Bokeshi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic-horror
Had The Night Land been penned by a more competent writer, it would have been the greatest horror/sci-fi book ever created. But since it was written by William Hope Hodgson, it is barely readable -- the clunky pseudo-archaic style will make you roll your eyes so hard you may end up seeing the inside of your head. Yet despite that, the power of his macabre vision is truly majestic, awe-inspiring and unforgettable.
May 07, 2008 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best worst books ever written. Or maybe one of the worst best books. The imagery is incredible as it the surreal landscape and the mix of horror and hope. But the language, an imaginary pseudo-archaic no one ever used, is fighting you every step of the way.
Jan 30, 2008 Kelldicott is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
HOLY CRAP. The nightmarish, beautiful, despairing, idealistic imagination of this guy.
Mark Mercer
May 01, 2013 Mark Mercer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, horror
A long slog through a deeply flawed book. Yet strangely compelling, as long as taken in small doses.

Let's get its many flaws out of the way up front.

First, this is just damnably difficult to read, due to Hodgson's decision to write in a pseudo-18th-century style. Not even in a consistent version, because in the latter part of the book, he shifts into some time-warped "future-past-infinitive" mashup of a tense. "And I to put on my armor. And Mine Own Maid to walk with me" type of thing. Earlier
Mar 16, 2017 Fred rated it really liked it
Let's say you decided to hike the Appalachian Trail, end to end then back again. And on the first night you blogged in great detail about finding a good spot to camp, laying out a tarp, unrolling the tent, driving the pins, setting up the poles, describing all the little bumps and dips in the topography that you can feel as you lie there. Then on the second night, and the third night, and the fourth night and the fifth night and the sixth night and the seventh night, the eighth night and every n ...more
Christopher Martin
I really have no idea how to rate this book. It is in turn absolutely amazing and supremely frustrating and maddening. When I was just past the midpoint of the book, I got so mad at it that I put it down and intended never come back. Not something I'd do lightly.
To my surprise, the book, even just the first half of it, lingered in my consciousness. I About a week and a half ago my mind suddenly became obsessed again with the world and I had to finish it. After struggling through the interim part
Feb 06, 2017 Joshua rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Strange, but great and compelling world building, although the romance did go on a bit.

Read because I am planning to read Awake in the Night Land by John C Wright.
Noel Coughlan
Jul 04, 2016 Noel Coughlan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Perry Whitford
Dec 02, 2013 Perry Whitford rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In the depth of his grief after the death of his lover in childbirth, a medieval squire somehow travels through his imagination millions of years forward to the ends of the Earth, where the sun has died and the last human inhabitants of a hostile planet are holed up in a massive metal pyramid seven miles and over a thousand stories high, called the Last Redoubt.

The pyramid is surrounded on all sides by inhuman abominations and horrors straight out of your worst nightmares, including gigantic, mo
Chris Lynch
An astonishing work of imagination by a twisted genius. Written in 1912, reading this book is the literary equivalent of finding the fossilised skeleton of a Neanderthal in the belly of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. But be warned, it isn't an easy read, and won't be everyone's cup of tea!

H.P. Lovecraft, whilst acknowledging Hodgson's genius, wrote of his works that they were marred by what he described as 'commonplace sentimentality'. I happen to think that Hodgson's use of emotions such as love, grief a
Al Sirois
Dec 12, 2011 Al Sirois rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hodgson's name is a well-known one among connoisseurs of classic dark fantasy. He is probably best known for a few books released through Ballantine's wonderful Adult Fantasy series back in the 70s, as edited by Lin Carter: THE BOATS OF THE GLEN CARRIG was one. Ballantine released THE NIGHT LAND as a two-volume set. In my opinion, judicious editing could easily have gotten that down to one volume.

The story, such as it is, is this: a 17th century gentleman bemoaning a lost love has a vision of t
Andrei Baltakmens
Oct 16, 2013 Andrei Baltakmens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
William Hope Hodgson's science fantasy of a decaying Earth darkened by the death of the Sun in a vastly remote future should be regarded as unreadable. The pseudo-archaic language lumbers along, the plot is simple and largely descriptive, there is virtually no dialog, the characters are thin, there is an unpleasant thread of misogyny in the character relationships, and the whole mass is excessively long and repetitive.

But The Night Land is, after a strange fashion, a masterpiece.

The Night Land i
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William Hope Hodgson was an English author. He produced a large body of work, consisting of essays, short fiction, and novels, spanning several overlapping genres including horror, fantastic fiction, and science fiction. Early in his writing career he dedicated effort to poetry, although few of his poems were published during his lifetime. He also attracted some notice as a photographer and achiev ...more
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The Night Land (2 books)
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“...the history of all love is writ with one pen.” 4 likes
“Moreover, they who returned, if any, would be flogged, as seemed proper, after due examination. And though the news of their beatings might help all others to hesitation, ere they did foolishly, in like fashion, yet was the principle of the flogging not on this base, which would be both improper and unjust; but only that the one in question be corrected to the best advantage for his own well-being; for it is not meet that any principle of correction should shape to the making of human signposts of pain for the benefit of others; for in verity, this were to make one pay the cost of many's learning; and each should owe to pay only so much as shall suffice for the teaching of his own body and spirit. And if others profit thereby, this is but accident, however helpful. And this is wisdom, and denoteth now that a sound Principle shall prevent Practice from becoming monstrous.” 2 likes
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