"Radium Age" science fiction novel with new intro by Erik Davis: The Night Land

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7 Responses to “"Radium Age" science fiction novel with new intro by Erik Davis: The Night Land”

  1. Boris Bartlog says:

    Many works of fiction are improved by removing the opening exposition. Roger Zelazny claimed that this was one of his great breakthroughs in becoming a successful writer – pretty much starting the story in the middle and letting the reader puzzle things out as it went along.

  2. The Night Land was an awesome concept though Hodgson was very much a man of his time when it came to portraying men and women.  It works best if you skip through the dialogue and the sexist language and focus on the “monstrosities and forces”

  3. I started this awhile back, and have been meaning to get back into it.   The House on the Borderland is a stone-cold weird classic.  I don’t really agree with abbreviating it, though – the prelude was a pretty brisk read, and it wasn’t the worst damn thing I’ve ever read.  I think with a writer like Hodgson, you have to take the whole package – he was an imperfect visionary.  Personally, if a book is worth reading at all, I’d prefer to decide for myself if certain parts of it are superfluous or not – unless the author themselves have specifically recanted those parts.  Hodgson’s books were collected back in the 1970s as part of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, a really amazing selection of lesser known fantasy titles, imo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballantine_Adult_Fantasy_series

    • Anton Gully says:

      House on the Borderland was great, in my opinion, up until the trippy end, which felt really unsatisfactory. I suspect I would prefer this version of The Night Land, but I guess I could just as easily read the Gutenberg edition linked below, and not read the “offending” chapters.

      Of course, this being a public domain book and given recent trends there’s nothing preventing any of us taking the existing text and adding a regency romance to it. Well nothing preventing us, except respect for the original work. 

  4. drongo says:

    Of course, this being Boing Boing and all, it must be mentioned that this book is in the public domain and can be downloaded for free from http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/10662

  5. I’ve read The Night Land SO MANY TIMES–and I’m so excited to see this beautiful new edition being released (sans the godawful frame narrative which never really had anything to do with the story anyway). The Night Land was a HUGE influence on my appreciation of the weird, the cosmic, and the utterly strange when I was young.

  6. Sara Phang says:

     Perhaps the casual reader should be warned.
    The Night Land is written in Sir Walter Scott-esque diction.
    It is highly repetitive, reminiscent of Shackleton’s diary as rewritten by Sir Walter Scott.
    The most abrasive aspect (for a modern reader who is not a hard core geek) is the narrator’s sexism.
    Granted all these, The Night Land is still an ur-text of fantasy/horror and of Dying Earth SF (up there with H. G. Wells’ “The Time Machine”) and worth reading for these reasons alone (certain chapters of Lord of the Rings will never seem the same again). I’m just warning you.
    A better introduction to Hodgson’s future world is the recent retelling by John Stoddard, or the recent story “Awake in the Night” by John C. Wright.

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