Master of Darkness – William Hope Hodgson

I’m sure every reader and writer has authors who fire their imagination, who make them see the world in a different way–and for writers–those who help shape their writing’s themes and style. For me, there is a small group that really stands out in my mind: writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, William Hope Hodgson, H.P. Lovecraft, and H.R. Haggard, to name a few. Interestingly, they all did most of their writing in the first half of the 20th century, although I’m not sure if that’s significant.

Today, I want to tell you about William Hope Hodgson. He was an English author who lived from 1877 to 1918 [1].  Actually, he died in battle in Ypres, in World War I.

This is the cover of the book I first bought. Notice the Volume 1 (argh)

This is the cover of the book I first bought. Notice the Volume 1 (argh)

I would not be surprised if you haven’t heard of Hodgson before. I first came across a book of his in a rummage sale in 2001. It was The Night Land, Volume 1. Volume 1, mind you, and since the book was out of print, I had to wait about 10 years before I could find the whole story online and see how the story ended. But it was worth it.

Hodgson wrote a lot of books, but the one that influenced me the most was the Night Land. It is a weird book, to be sure, but that’s part of why I like it. It takes place millions of years in the future, when the sun has gone out (hence the title). The remnant of humanity lives in a huge pyramid, over seven miles tall. Outside in the dark, there are hordes of terrible monsters, some of which are on a cosmic, Lovecraftian level of evil. The hero has to go out into the dark to rescue his beloved from another area far away (how does he know her? It’s . . . complicated. You’d better read it.)

It’s not a perfect story. For one thing, it is all written in an archaic, Shakespeare-esque language. There is a reason for it, but I can understand how some people might find it hard to get through. Also, the main character, while very brave and gallant, is also incredibly chauvinistic at times towards his beloved. (Since the book is public doman, James Stoddard has a new version of it where he has modernized the language and hopefully taken care of some of the other small problems.) There is plenty to like about it and plenty that inspires me. Such as:

1. The scale is epic. There is not much that inspires me as much as vast, vast spaces, and that is something this book has a lot of. Besides the pyramid that houses 1320 individual cities, the hero travels huge distances alone in the dark, up and down mountains, and past huge and horrible monsters. All the themes are big. It’s like a sci-fi/cosmic horror retelling of a fairy tale, but more.

2. It’s dark. You’ve probably picked up the fact that I like darkness; not, as the Bible says, because my deeds are evil, but because…I don’t really know why. I find it inspiring. I’ve written eight novels and five of them have darkness as an importaThe Last Redoubtnt theme (five also involved learning a foreign language in one way or another).

3. It’s triumphant. It’d easy to imagine how a story about a world where the sun has gone out and the last remnants of humanity are confined and surrounded by soul-eating monsters could be a little bleak. However, this book isn’t. In the story, the humans (i.e. good guys) are a shining light in the literal darkness and they overcome, or at least stand firm against it. It’s not an easy world to live in, but they keep on and keep defying the darkness. And that’s what I want in my writing too.

I realize that a lot of this has been about the book, The Night Land and not about William Hope Hodgson, but I chose that as his representative book, at least in terms of inspiring me. I would recommend this book to you. If you’re interested, you can download the e-book free here.

 

Post-Script: And now for something completely different.

I’d like to introduce the artwork of my blogging friend, Sorina at Chosen Voice. I found her blog about two months ago and really love her artwork. She said I could print out one of her pictures, if I took a picture of myself with it. Well, that my hand and computer, at least. Here’s her original post of it.

My copy of Colorful Soul, by Sorina M.

My copy of Colorful Soul, by Sorina M.

Advertisements

About David Stewart

I am a writer of anything quirky and weird. I love most genres of fiction and in each there are stories that I would consider "my kind of story". View all posts by David Stewart

10 responses to “Master of Darkness – William Hope Hodgson

Let me know what you think. I appreciate all comments and criticisms.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Eve In Korea

My Adventures As An ESL Teacher In South Korea

Luna's Writing Journal

A Place for my Fiction

Bikurgurl

I'm just a gurl in the world

Here's To Being Human

Living life as a human

The Moving Quill

Writing & Blogging by Shailaja V

jenacidebybibliophile

Book Reviewer and Blogger

yuxianadventure

kitten loves the world

Strolling South America

10 countries, 675 days, 38,540km

It's All in Finding the Right Words

The Eternal Search to Find One's Self: Flash Fiction and Beyond

Reflections Of Life's Journey

Lessons, Joys, Blessings, Friendships, Heartaches, Hardships , Special Moments

A Writer's Path

Sharing writing tips, information, and advice.

Chris Green

Tales of Mystery and Imagination

Finding Myself Through Writing

Writing Habits of Elle Knowles - Author

Commendable Soap

"...the manufacture of stories... a business safe and commendable as making soap..." Willa Cather, 1920

BEAUTIFUL WORDS

Inspiring mental health through creative arts and friendly interactions. (Award free blog)

Total Time Waste

A Humor Blog!

Claire Fuller

Writing and art

TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND

Straight up with a twist– Because life is too short to be subtle!

Unmapped Country within Us

Emily Livingstone, Author

The Found Girl's Bookblog

A lost girl found by good books

Silkpurseproductions's Blog

Learning how to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

BJ Writes

My online repository for works in progress

wordsandotherthings.wordpress.com/

she is confidence in shadows.

Musings on Life & Experience

Poetry, Fiction, & Non-Fiction Writings

Outside The Lines

Fun readings about Color, Art and Segmation!

obBLOGato

a Photo Blog, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to dear dirty New York

Björn Rudbergs writings

Poetry and fiction by a physicist from the dark side

SightsnBytes

A.K.A. Ted White

WordDreams...

Jacqui Murray's

Life in Kawagoe

Japanese daily sight

The Day After

Musings of a Wannabe Photographer

Mondays Finish the Story

This is a flash fiction site where you finish the story!

Sketches By Boze

An ongoing exploration of faith, culture, myth, life, art. An advocate for all who are trapped in nightmares.

Tiffys World

A diary type blog following the life of a Forensic Science Student

San Diego Professional Writer's Group

A San Diego based critique group for professional and aspiring writers

Five Years to Mediocrity

chasing kitties, crashing scooters, and learning spanish, one anxiety attack at a time

athingirldotcom

never judge a girl by her weight

The Discerning Christian

Philosophy, Christianity, Social Justice

€merald Wake ©

❤ The art marked by the Pain ❤

Fiction et al

Navigating the modern business of book publishing

Yarnspinnerr

Just Fiction and other things that seem fictitious.

The Chicago Files

A CANADIAN EXPAT'S EXPERIENCES AND OBSERVATIONS LIVING IN THE WINDY CITY!

marina kanavaki

Art Towards a Happy Day [painting - illustration - design]

%d bloggers like this: