Saturday, December 07, 2013

William Hope Hodgson

A short lived life left a trace of brilliance in the Fantasy genre. William Hope Hodgson only wrote four books and a number of short stories in his writing career, but left some memorable works. He is a classic Fantasy author from the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. His works are mostly Dark Fantasy and supernatural fiction of ghosts and monsters. Part of his inspiration came from early in his life.

As a boy, Hodgson was fascinated by the sea. He ran away from home once to serve on a ship and later became a sailor on merchant ships. During his career, he would photograph the ocean’s different moods. Later, he realized that he hated the sea and after a few different jobs turned to writing around 1904. He would always consider the sea as a terrible horror and it showed in his writing. Throughout his career, he wrote four books, two which are Dark Fantasy.

_The House on the Borderland_ was published in 1908. It is about a house on the coast of Galway. This house stands on the edge of a great pit from which pig-like creatures threatens the protagonist. From there, he travels into the distant future and watches the destruction of our solar system. The book is full of evocative images of darkness and cosmic horror.

His other book of Dark Fantasy was _The Night Land_. Published in 1912, it takes place on a dying world where the land is always night. The characters move across this dark landscape fighting monsters in a quest for redemption. This book is considered by some to be Hodgson’s most creative work. It has powerful themes and interesting ideas for the time it was written.

For his other two novels, Hodgson drew from his experiences of the sea. Both books have elements of the supernatural in them. _The Boats of “Glen Carrig”_ is a tale of survivors at sea encountering creatures in a strange place of seaweed. _The Ghost Pirates_ is about a ship that is super imposed on by a ghostly ship.

William Hope Hodgson left a small body of work with his four novels and numerous short stories. He created works with incredible images, different ideas and powerful themes. Using his life experiences of the sea, he brought to life stories that will be remembered by those who read his works. Tragically he died in battle at the age of forty while serving in World War I. Who knows what other imaginative works he might have contributed to the Fantasy genre? It is a loss for us readers.

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