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The Night Land

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  1,097 ratings  ·  149 reviews
And I caught Mirdath the Beautiful by her shoulders, and shook her very soundly, in my anger. And afterward, I sent the maid onward; and she, having no word from her Mistress to stay, went forward a little; and in this fashion we came at last to the hedge-gap, with the Lady Mirdath very hushed; but yet walking anigh to me, as that she had some secret pleasure of my nearnes ...more
Paperback, 357 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Borgo Press (first published 1912)
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3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,097 ratings  ·  149 reviews


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Henry Avila
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
The hideous creatures crawl in the eternal darkness, in this unknown alien world, but in reality sick old Earth , in its last inglorious days...The 17th Century tortured 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 ugly planet. No daylight, perpetual night, monsters and things roam the territory and m ...more
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
Isaac
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
...more
Paul Christensen
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-best
One of the greatest love stories ever written.

This is a SYMBOLIST work, other reviewers here who don't understand that are demi-morons.

This is Amor, A-Mor, Without Death, as Serrano defined it, not the mundane 'love' of 'boyfriend' and 'girlfriend'.

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
...more
Simon
Sep 10, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Sandy
Aug 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
James
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
Sara
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
...more
Julenew
Jun 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Derek
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
...more
A.K. Preston
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It honestly blows my mind that this book has been virtually forgotten since its original publication in 1912. One thing many readers will find jarring - but I found beautifully evocative - is its unique framing device. The entire book is narrated in the first person perspective of a 17th-century English nobleman (and written in language to match the character). This protagonist, mourning the recent death of a beloved spouse, experiences an extended vision of a time hundreds of thousands of years ...more
Charles
May 31, 2010 rated it did not like it
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.
...more
Craig
Jul 10, 2007 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.
Michael Eisenberg
Apr 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Jason Mills
Feb 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Andrei Baltakmens
Oct 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Jim Smith
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A five star rating elsewhere is a 'perfect' score, but as on Goodreads it signifies 'amazing' I unequivocally cast such a rating. As most Hodgson aficionados would admit, The Night Land is a flawed jewel. The prose is clumsy and laboured, the repetition is vitiating and the second half of the book sags due to a mix of turgid storytelling and limited content, but Hodgson's transmutation of the ghost story into a fantasy epic is also ingenious, awe-inspiring and without comparison.

Not an easy boo
...more
Martin
The faults of this book are well known - the somewhat sickly love story, the affected language - but if you can get beyond that, this is a truly amazing vision of the far future. The last humans are living in a giant pyramid besieged by the creatures living in the outer darkness, after the sun has gone out. This is an amazing work of the imagination that works both as a science fiction story and a horror story - in the end it hardly matters if the Watchers and the Silent Ones are invading extrat ...more
Marisa
Jun 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
James Stoddard
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I have spent considerable effort rewriting this novel into more modern prose, I'll only say that it is one of the most remarkable books in existence. For more information, go to Andy Robertson's website: http://www.thenightland.co.uk
Michael
Aug 22, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
And lo!, verily you shall know that my brain-elements will transmit forth to you... that this story was a beating of the highest order.

I decided to read 'The Night Land' because both H.P. Lovecraft & Clark Ashton Smith had high praise for it. Ummm, OK. I slogged through this thing because I hate not finishing books - best I can remember I've only abandoned one book in my adult life, and that's the one I'm going to mark as 'currently reading' next as I'm going to give it another go.

If I can p
...more
Randolph
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, horror
Is it science fiction? Is it fantasy? Is it romance? Is it written in a weird fake archaic English? Is it unreadable? It's all this and more...

Seriously, The Night Land is a marvelous but flawed apocalyptic novel, flawed through its over-reliance on repetitious and dated romantic sequences and its quasi-archaic language (you get used to it after awhile). It also will offend those who cannot put aside its treatment of women.

It is truly very weird and creepy in parts particularly during the "out
...more
the gift
280717: read this edition. abridgement is sometimes mistaken but not in this case. i read another edition and know now: skip romantic conceit ch 1, do not bother with long ending after ch 11. this version much more concise, effective. it you can survive the archaic, mannered, excessive language- there are some great images in here. lands, monsters, redoubts, fights, lands, monsters... not so much the plot. not the characters. i can see where in science of its day 1912 this can be seen as the beg ...more
Ben
May 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mark Gonzalez
Greatest book of all time! The second chapter specifically is the greatest chapter in the history of writing. Reminds me of Demon's Souls. The redoubt is the nexus. Get used to the middle english prose and the story just flows. Perfection! Just imagine The Thing that Nods in your head. Yes, scary! How Hodgson maps out what is left of Earth is next level surrealism.
Kelldicott
Jan 30, 2008 is currently reading it
HOLY CRAP. The nightmarish, beautiful, despairing, idealistic imagination of this guy. Un.be.liev.a.ble.
John Arena
Feb 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
you: I want to read about a dude walking in the dark & eating astronaut food for a billion pages

me: I got u fam
Joseph
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a difficult book to review. There are many things I like about it, but the pacing is murderous for modern sensibilities. How we tell stories has changed dramatically over the centuries, and the pacing is part of the intended archaism of the book, but it makes it difficult to read for long stretches. I have read three or four other books while I am reading this one. I am reminded of old style romances and Spenser's The Faerie Queene. There are marvelous ideas here, but I think this book w ...more
Valeer Damen
May 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
...more
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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 history of all love is writ with one pen.” 5 likes
“And oft I harked into the night of the Land; but there was nowhere any sound, or disturbing of the aether, to trouble me.” 4 likes
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