Friday, November 7, 2014

Happy Birthday William Hope Hodgson

Sunday November 15th is William Hope Hodgson's birthday. To celebrate, everyday next week I'll be posting a new monster from a Hodgson story. 

Not only did Hodgson write one of my favorite weird fiction short stories (A Voice In the Night) but he lived an extraordinary life. Born the son of an Anglican priest, he ran away from home to become a sailor at age 13. Though he got caught, he eventually received permission to become an apprentice on a ship. He found himself frequently bullied by other sailors because of his good looks and short stature, so he learned how to fight and soon the bullying stopped.

That's pretty exciting right? Well he also won an award from the Royal Humane Society for rescuing a fellow sailor from shark infested waters, was a notable photographer, opened his own "gym" (W. H. Hodgson's School of Physical Culture) and "pranked" Harry Houdini!

He served in WWI as a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery where he was thrown from his horse and broke his jaw. However, he reenlisted and was sadly killed by an artillery shell in Ypres in 1918. 

I love Hodgson's work even though it can be a bit repetitive (recycled plot elements appear often) and I'm fascinated by his life. Here's to hoping his work has the same renaissance that HPL and M.R. James have experienced.

PS-A Voice In the Night was the inspiration for the Toho psychedelic romp Matango. I highly recommend it! 

"Mr. Hodgson is perhaps second only to Algernon Blackwood in his serious treatment of unreality. Few can equal him in adumbrating the nearness of nameless forces and monstrous besieging entities through casual hints and insignificant details, or in conveying feelings of the spectral and the abnormal in connexion with regions or buildings."
H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror In Literature 



  1. I like to think that Ghostbusters and Dr. Strange can both trace a lineage back to the basic and novel premise of WHH's Carnacki series.

    Really looking forward to what you can do with the things from The Night Land.

  2. Thanks for observing WHH’s birthday. He is an under appreciated author now, but his impact on fantasy and horror has been vast. I’ve been following your blog for just a short time now, but I like your eclectic mix of articles and original works. I’m glad to see a recent renewal of interest over the past few years in this important author. The great thing is that his writings are generally available for free download from copyright-free sites such as Project Gutenberg. Keep up the good work.

    There is a very good blog dedicated to William Hope Hodgson’s writings here: for those who are more interested in his stories and impact on the genre. There’s also my blog article on WHH from a few years back, which might be of interest to your readers:

  3. Unfortunately, Roger, I haven't read The Night Land yet. So all this week's monsters are from House On the Borderland and the short nautical themed stories in Adrift On Haunted Seas. I DO have a rather detailed piece I'll be working on this month and access to the next round?

    Yeah CoastConFan that blog and the Sargasso zine are fantastic! And I'm glad you like the blog. Now that I'm nearing the end of HPL'd direct references, I'll be incorporating more Weird Fiction authors.