Thursday, September 07, 2006
Finished The House on the Borderland and will point you to Carl's review of this short novel. My favorite character was Pepper, the dog. From what I've read about H.P. Lovecraft, it is not surprising that he was drawn to this short, strange work, considering it a classic. I didn't find it frightening, really, but strange and strangely disconnected. At only 137 pages, it was a quick read, and I'm glad I read it for the sense of putting it in a chronology of the genre. In spite of the many Gothic elements (brooding protagonist, supernatural occurrences, ruined Gothic architecture, terror, mystery, subterranean passages, etc.) the book seems more at home with science fiction. Frankenstein also walks this line between Gothic/science fiction. Lovecraft spoke of his work as "cosmic horror," and I think that must have been what attracted him to The House on the Borderland.
Conclusion: Although I didn't really like the book much, I did find it interesting--especially given the time of publication (1908). The novel seems to be part of the development of a sub-genre. Shelley's Frankenstein led to H.G. Wells, to Hodgson and eventually to Lovecraft...a kind of Gothic science fiction.