Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween reading - William Hodgson

William Hope Hodgson was a major influence for H.P. Lovecraft, and the greatest author of horror at sea.  He was a UK writer who ran away to sea in his youth and was deeply affected by his experiences aboard ship, never losing his fascination, reflected in all his poetry and most of his stories and essays, for the mysteries of the sea.  

His fantastic sea stories, the first was From the Tideless Sea, owe a debt to the traditions of the supernatural fiction, but he derived his horrific imagery mainly from the scientific imagination, most notably his, "The Voice in the Night"  (1907).   In it castaways are transformed by a fungus they have been obliged to eat, and also his "The Stone Ship" where a volcanic eruption brings many weird creatures with it.  

In his first novel, The Boats of the Glenn Carrig, a ship's crew is marooned on an island near a land of floating seaweed inhabited by bizarre and terrible lifeforms.  His second novel, The House on the Borderland, is a visionary fantasy in which a man living in a house which apparently co-exists in two worlds undertakes an allegorical spiritual odyssey through time and space, witnessing the destruction of the Solar System. 

The allegorical aspects of Hodgson's novels embodies a conviction that horrid evil forces move beneath the surface of reality, sometimes becoming vilely manifest in creatures such as the spirit which possesses the scientist.   

You can read his story, The Voice in the Night, here. 

Here's a PDF for his story, The Derelict.    Also here's a podcast of The Derelict.

Here's  PDF and audio for Out of the Storm. 

Here's House on the Borderland.    A lot of these audio books don't work for me as well as reading them myself, as I comprehend more or it's easier, but you might like to hear it.  There are some audio book versions, that are done bigger budget with full cast and sound effects, now those I can get into.  

Over the weekend, I watched the Sci-Fi movie, Snowpiercer,  directed by Korean director, Bong Joon-ho.  He also directed the monster movie, The Host, which is another good film, worth a rental. It was really good.  I won't say much about it, as you can experience it for yourself if you rent the film. I will say it's a dystopian allegory taken from a French graphic novel on the social classes, and totalitarian governments.  Plus it has John Hurt in it, woo hoo, I've always enjoyed him in films.  Also the main actor in the film (the guy holding the axe above is Chris Evans--he plays Captain America in the Marvel/Disney films).  I didn't even know it was him until the bonus features brought it to light.   If you like, you can just watch it as an adventure, action tale too, and it works that way as well.  Yes, you have to suspend your imagination somewhat.  I've read a lot of viewers criticize it saying, how could this and that such happen?  Well, if it's an allegory it's easier to swallow for those reasons, but I'd also add:  How does Godzilla happen or Transformers, or a lot of other SF or fiction in general?   You just have to go with the narrative.  

Also I thought the Bonus Features on this one are worth checking out as they do shed light on many facets of the film, and add to the overall experience of the film--but watch them after you have seen the movie. 



At 1:02 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

Those doors to other dimensions can be hazardous, can't they? On the other hand in Clifford Simak's "The Big Front Yard" it gives an old Yankee trader quite a bartering opportunity.

I liked "Snowpiercer" too. Of course some serious suspension of disbelief is necessary for the viewer, but that is not uncommon in sf/fantasy. If you simply accept the premise, the film is enjoyable. The fx and action are good, and the characters are well-motivated.

At 5:20 PM, Blogger El Vox said...

Yep, Richard those doors sure can. Another door to other worlds is the one Stephen King used in the second book of the Dark Tower series, The Drawing of the Three. Never really thought of where he came up with the concept, but probably drawing (couldn't resist) from older SF and fantasy.

Yes, enjoyed Snowpiercer. I guess I can see where some may not enjoy it, particularly if taken too literally, but I thought it was a throwback to earlier SF movies, so I was along for the ride (2 for 2). I better end here.

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

I've never heard of Hodgson, but his stuff sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the recommendation!

I need to check out "Snowpiercer" too. I've read some really solid reviews for it.

At 9:05 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Roman, no problem, thanks for dropping by, I think you'll dig Snowpiercer, and hope you write a review.


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