The Night Land

English language

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3 stars (2 reviews)

The Night Land is a horror/fantasy novel by English writer William Hope Hodgson, first published in 1912. As a work of fantasy it belongs to the Dying Earth subgenre. Hodgson also published a much shorter version of the novel, entitled The Dream of X (1912). The Night Land was revived in paperback by Ballantine Books, which republished the work in two parts as the 49th and 50th volumes of its Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in July 1972. H. P. Lovecraft's essay "Supernatural Horror in Literature" describes the novel as "one of the most potent pieces of macabre imagination ever written". Clark Ashton Smith wrote of it: In all literature, there are few works so sheerly remarkable, so purely creative, as The Night Land. Whatever faults this book may possess, however inordinate its length may seem, it impresses the reader as being the ultimate saga of a perishing cosmos, the last …

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Review of 'The Night Land' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

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 he would have done "And I put on my armor".

Worse, in both styles, he goes on nigh upon forever belaboring a point, repeating so that you doth come with me in all feelings and sense, as would any Reader of non-dulled Wit, as in Those Days no less than These, so well-knownt to be unspoke at any need. But …