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Thursday, September 07, 2006

One Down

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.


  1. Great thoughts on the book.
    "strangely disconnected" is a very apt description of the book. It felt like a set of slightly disjointed stories crammed together in one novel. I liked it in that parts of it were very well written and had a good, ominous atmosphere. I didn't like the sci fi elements of it as I just didn't feel they fit the story. I had wished that the swine men had been a larger part of the overall story and that it would've had more to do with the subterranean passages under the house, etc. I too am glad I read it but can't imagine ever reading it again.

  2. Carl -- Yes, "disjointed stories crammed together" describes it well. A definite lack of cohesiveness. Some books are good for placement within a timeline, for recognition of their influence on others...and "House" is valuable for these two reasons.

  3. I just discovered your blog. I am a big reader and am always hunting for good ideas on what to read next!

  4. Hi, Rhea, thanks for visiting. I love checking out the book blogs-- there are always new ideas and suggestions for reading.