The House on the Borderland - The Original Classic Edition
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Combine H. P. Lovecraft, Julio Cortazar (his story House Taken Over may have been inspired by this book) and the siege mentality of Straw Dogs, and you have The House on Borderland. Written before World War I, this book ranks right up there with Poes only novel, The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym as one of the seminal contributions to the genre of science-fiction (before there was such a term) and horror. The narrative of an elderly widower -- told in the form of a manuscript found in the ruins of the house -- is compelling. The action tends to sag a bit in the middle of the novel as the narrators mind/spirit embarks on a nightmarish out of body journey where he floats as a passive witness to an unexplained dimension of time and space, where the house also exists, and he seemingly observes the death of the solar system. However, the narrators recounting of his mounting dread and helplessness as the story builds to its frightening climax is remarkable. Youre left with many questions, none of them satisfactorily explained. But thats the mystery of the house and the manuscript -- some things just have ragged edges. Im amazed no one has seen fit to adapt this to film.
There is a concept in Celtic mythology (now incorporated into Celtic Christianity) known as thin places. These are reputed to be places in Ireland (and other parts of the British Isles) where two worlds conjoin, almost like a portal from this world to another, allowing us to be in the presence of the divine -- in Christian culture, the presence Holy Spirit, even Jesus Himself.
When I read about this, I immediately thought: The House on the Borderland! I dont know if Hodgson actually was thinking of the concept of thin places (the House is in a remote, unpopulated area of Ireland, near a river (a classic thin place)) and positing one that would be a dimensional doorway between our world and a super- or supra-natural world of hostile and infernal beings. Certainly the title, and the entire concept of the House existing at a dimensional crossroads, suggest that such a conceit may have been on his mind. If so, Im even more impressed with the imagination that produced this timeless novel.
- Emereo Publishing, October 2012
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