The House on the Border Land

- by William Hope Hodgson

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Chapter 1 - Chapter 2 - Chapter 3 - Chapter 4 - Chapter 5 - Chapter 6 - Chapter 7 - Chapter 8 - Chapter 9 - Chapter 10 - Chapter 11 - Chapter 12 - Chapter 13 - Chapter 14 - Chapter 15 - Chapter 16 - Chapter 17 - Chapter 18 - Chapter 19 - Chapter 20 - Chapter 21 - Chapter 22 - Chapter 23 - Chapter 24 - Chapter 25 - Chapter 26 - Chapter 27 -

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The House on the Borderland

The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson


The House on the Borderland is a novel by William Hope Hodgson published in 1908. H.P Lovecraft and other writers of horror and supernatural fiction have cited it as an influence on their writings.

In my opinion, the book has some interesting elements but it suffers from using a mishmash of plot twists and creatures that are not congruent. After all, what do hordes of "swine things" and infectious glowing fungus have to do with accessing other dimensions and even time travel?

The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson

The book uses the old cliched plot device of the narrators discovering a manuscript written by the previous owner and victim of the house. Two friends rent a remote farm house in Ireland for a fishing vacation. There they discover a diary written by the unnamed previous occupant of the dilapidated farm house. The two friends name the diarist "the Recluse". In it the Recluse tells the story of how he discovers a pit outside of his house, now apparently a lake, which accesses subterranean passages. While he explores the caverns, he is attacked by hideous "swine things" which attempt to break into his house. These swine things look like pigs but they walk on two legs. Every time I read this it reminds me of the Seinfeld episode of the Pig Man.

Eventually, he also journeys to what appears to be alternate dimensions in which time moves differently and he is able to travel into the distant future until the sun has died. On one of these journeys he travels to the Land of Sleep where he is reunited briefly with woman he had loved, but who had died before he had bought the house. The woman warns him to leave the house before it is too late, but he refuses because the house is the gateway to the alternate realm and his only way of being reunited with his lover.

The story - with its vision of a dead sun, and a quest for a long lost love across the millennia of time, has more than a passing resemblance to the themes in Hodgson's later novel, the Nightland. I think that the Nightland is definitely the better of the two books.

Eventually the Recluse returns to his study, but finds that his faithful dog has died. He replaces it but soon the replacement dog is infected with a glowing fungus which eats away at him. In an act of mercy the diary writer kills his dog but finds that he too has been infected. As he waits for the end, barricaded in his study, he learns that the pit has passageways into his house and he cannot keep the monsters at bay. The diary ends abruptly.

Terrified that they will share the same fate, the narrators of the book run away leaving the house empty.

I have presented below an online edition of the House on the Borderland. Read