The Nightland is set in the distant future, after the Sun has died. A few million humans survive in the Last Redoubt, an enormous pyramid structure which serves as both the last refuge of mankind and its eventual grave. Just outside the redoubt are the Watchers, enormous evil creatures the size of mountains that move ever closer, inch by inch, century by century as the power of the Redoubt fades and its defences weaken. These things are patient. They have came from beyond the world, millennia ago, when Mankind opened the gates to them by ill-guided scientific experiments.
The people of the Last Redoubt can only gaze at these monsters through telescopes, making minute observations. There are no more astronomers in this dark land, only Monstruacans, the watchers who watch the Watchers. Beyond the last redoubt are the Thing that Nods, the House of Silence, silent roads travelled by horrific shadow shapes, and even greater horrors.
Then, after all these millennia, the humans of the Last Redoubt discover that they are not alone. Another refuge endures, called The Lesser Redoubt, but its defences are crumbling and the hungry shadows are encroaching. A lone hero ventures into the unknown darkness of the Nightland to rescue the woman he loves.
The nightland is a land which used to be humanity's home. But the green forests and fields are long gone. The waters are dead. Mankind has been dispossessed from his own planet by creatures from the abyss whom he allowed in because of his ignorant pride which opened gateways from other worlds. There will be no happy ending. The world cannot be reclaimed and the dead land cannot be brought back to life.
If there is to be any glimmer of hope and happiness in these dreary last days of humanity, it is in the quest by the book's hero across the blasted landscape, and the demonic inhabitants of the world, to save the woman he loves.
His journey incorporates elemental horror with an epic journey that reminded me of the Odyssey but it is fundamentally an original work; its powerful imagery stays with you for years after you finish reading it. An online version of the Nightland, one of my favorite books, is presented here for your reading pleasure.by WILLIAM HOPE HODGSON
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