Isaac's Reviews > The Night Land

The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson
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it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, fantasy-and-fairy-tales

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, and how much energy you are willing to expend in the fight to expose yourself to it. If you are brave, try the Night Land. But do not expect an unturbulent relationship with the text. I hate it, but I love it so much more.

P.S. I advise reading "The House on The Borderland" or "the Boats of the Glen Carrig" first.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 13, 2012 – Shelved
February 13, 2012 – Finished Reading
March 2, 2012 – Shelved as: favorites
January 17, 2014 – Shelved as: fantasy-and-fairy-tales

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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Anirudh Not an original. Stories set near heat death have been written before. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dying_...


Isaac Anirudh wrote: "Not an original. Stories set near heat death have been written before. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dying_..."

I have seen the wikipedia page. The premise alone, of course, is not original; but the "originality" you speak of is a question of mere genre imo. Can a post-apocalyptic novel be original, despite sharing a post-nuclear earth setting like hundreds of other novels? Of course.

If you read The Night Land, you should find that the "dying red sun" is almost incidental to the real worldbuilding of the setting. The novel would not lose much of it's uniqueness from a yellow sun, anymore than Jack Vance's Dying Earth would.


message 3: by Paul (new)

Paul Beardsley That's a bit of a false dichotomy, to say the least. No end of authors have managed to convey the idea of a long and painful journey without resorting to long and painful writing. Indeed, bad writing (and that is what The Night Land is) is more likely to throw the reader out of the story.


Isaac Paul wrote: " bad writing (and that is what The Night Land is) is more likely to throw the reader out of the story. "

I agree with you here.

The Night Land is--when taken line by line, paragraph by paragraph--not very enjoyable, and badly written. It's up to the reader whether this is enough to spoil the book for them.

But imo, Tolkien's Silmarillion for example, fails even more than The Night Land as a piece of popular fiction.

I call both badly written (or flawed if you prefer) classics, but classics nonetheless.

If it's any help, Luc Besson's Valerian is probably my favourite film of 2017 despite being a very flawed film overall. I just can't help myself.


Frank A couple thoughts if I can jump into the conversation.

1) I listened to “The Nightland” as an audiobook. I really think this increased my enjoyment of it. I tried reading a chapter in text and struggled.

2) if you liked the film Valarian then please, please go to the source material graphic novels - they are very good. (And, yeah, I also liked the film :)


Isaac Thanks for your comment Frank.

I have not considered how an audiobook version of The Night Land would sound. I imagine the repetition and long sentences could have a hypnotic effect, perhaps.

And as for Valerian, if the comic books are as imaginative as the film, I will find myself well entertained!


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