Review of The House on the Borderland (1908)


William Hope Hodgson (writer).

Read in 2022.

Two men on a fishing vacation to Ireland discover the ruins of an oddly shaped building, barely remembered by the locals. In the ruins, they find the journal of a man who lived there with his sister and his dog Pepper at the end of the world.

A perfect transitional fossil. On the one hand, the man who wrote the journal leaves no concrete evidence of the supernatural; even the Swine-Things do a good job cleaning up after themselves. On the other hand, Hodgson lays out every detail, including consistent and persistent damage to the building. Where Poe retreats to a joke in “The Sphinx” (1846), Hodgson insists upon the integrity of his fantasy. The loyalty of Pepper resembles the dog in “Darkness” (1816), but Hodgson’s early cosmic horror is a lot less romantic than Byron.

text fiction