The Night Land blog - an extension of

Saturday, 8 February 2014

How Does Hodgson Fit In?

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the invitation. Here's something that I thought would make for a (hopefully) lively topic.

In regards to debating the "consensus future history" as you put it in your earlier post, I think it's worth asking ourselves and each other whether Hodgson's other works should be considered part of the Night Land canon. Right now, it seems a given that "The House on the Borderland" is, but what about "The Ghost Pirates" or "The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig'" or "Voice in the Night" or any of his other stories?

Is it a good idea to consider them part of our "official" history of the Night Land, or would it be better to leave them aside as stand-alone, unrelated (but by no means unimaginative) works?

Also, if any of them do fit within the history, we then open ourselves up to this question: how do the creatures and phenomena in those other works tie into our Night Land mythos? What specific parts should each play in it?

I'm relatively new to the Night Land site, so maybe this issue has been addressed already, but if not, I'm really curious about what other people's thoughts are on this and would love to read what everybody has to say about it.


  1. Eric, Google aoears to hgacve eaten all the comments on this post. I am ging to try to reconstruct mine.

  2. Damn good question


    IN: the Carnacki stories; "Eloi,Eloi" aka "The Baumfoff xplosive"; Maybe "Out Of The Storm; Maybe "The Ghost Pirates"

    OUT: All non-wierd stories or stories of mundane physical monstrosty like "A Tropical Horror"

    What distinguishes "in" is that the story depends on a particular type of physics, and a chemistry and biology springing from that physics, not metaphyical nor religious, but scientific in its basis, by which the "Ab" are natural creatures of another order of being.
    Materal, but not our type of matter. In our shared fiction we term this mode *pneuma*, which is of course just Greek for breath or spirit, but lends itself well to word formations such as pneumasome (spirit-body) pneumatechne (spirit-technology) and pneumavore(spirit-eater). Even Pneumahydrodynamics can be made to sound sensible.

    The human soul is a pneuma based symbiote of the human body. After death it endures (Where we don't know: but the scientists of the GR have answers) and may unite with a forming zygote (?? or later. Pneumasomatic entities need a certain complexity in their hosts) and be reborn. Or new pneumasomes may be formed by the partial fusion of parents' souls.

    Very compliated mechanisms also interact with pneuma and may generate pneumasomes of their own. Very old or very powerful AI will actually have souls.

    Pneuma entitiesmay have no physical component at all. 

    1. So, based on what you're saying, it seems like "The Derelict" might be another contender for the "In" category, right?

    2. Yes, I think so. It is science fiction masked as horror, because the entity, however strange, is not supernatural


  3. It is a nice game to make some sly references to earlier works of Hodgson in my own Night Land stories.
    For instance, while approaching the Lesser Redoubt:
    This was the most desolate of deserts, an ancient sea bed with a thick crust of salt. Fumaroles spewed poison gas and half way lay the ten mile long wreck of what had once been the sea-going palace of Chairman-emperor Carnacki. The Lesser Redoubt painted a black silhouette against a haze of fire.
    ( Any hero on the side of light no doubt has sons or grandchildren who are no good at all. Occult powers like Carnacki's can easily be misused.)
    Or a reference to the Derelict, when my protagonist is getting a glimpse of his former lives:
    The next vision brought him impossibly far back, a white capped ocean under dismal gray heavens. A derelict ship was wallowing in the waves. Things crawled across the spongy hull, eyeless things with the flesh rotting from the bones.

  4. I thimk the Ghost Pirates fit in: they are not really the ghosts of human beings, but abnatural entities local to the Earth and somehow connected with sailors, maybe simply because that is who it is convenient to prey upon.

  5. I suppose "Boats of the Glen-Carrig" could be included, but it doesn't really fit in the sense that its supernatural/weird elements don't seem (to me anyway) to line up with the pneuma stuff from TNL and Carnacki. Most of it is giant invertebrates; the 'weed-men' are really creepy, but they seem to be biological life forms, some sort of squid convergent on humans. Though I guess the weird human-like trees on the first island could be some sort of Saaiiti (sp?) manifestation... but I doubt it.

  6. I say almost all his weird tales potentially fit. My attempt to explain why is long enough that I should probably make a separate post out of it.

  7. Why make a cannon from some grapeshot?