Monday, November 7, 2011

Review: The House on the Borderland

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The House on the BorderlandThe House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

To William Hope Hodgson's credit, The House on the Borderland got into my head enough to give me really weird dreams, so maybe it's more effective than my rating would make you believe. Still, it's an old book, and it hasn't aged all that well. The writing itself is surprisingly fresh considering that The House on the Borderland was originally published in 1908.

For those of you who aren't already familiar with the story: two men head out to Ireland on vacation and camp on the outskirts of an already isolated village. The village is so isolated that the villagers speak an ancient dialect neither of the men has ever heard before. One day, the two men are out fishing and they follow the river all the way to an area where it seems to disappear underground. Then, the water re-emerges flowing into a chasm that seems to go on forever. They also find the ruins of a huge house, and a manuscript. The manuscript describes one man's experiences in the house that once stood there.

The manuscript reads like the man's journal. He leads a lonely life with his sister Mary and his dog, Pepper. One day, he starts experiencing strange things around the house, and at one point, the house is under attack by creatures that are half swine/ half human.

Okay, in a summary, all of that sounds pretty silly, but it's actually scary in the book. I was good with those parts. Hodgson kind of lost me when his main character went on his cosmic odyssey outside of normal time and space. Maybe that part is cool for fantasy fans, but I wasn't so into it.

This is a must read for die-hard horror/sci fi/ and fantasy fans, but if you're looking for the most entertaining horror novel ever, this isn't it.

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