The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson
The book: Halloween is getting close, so for the remainder of October, I’ll be posting reviews of horror novels and stories at Free Listens and here on SFFaudio. House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson is the perfect place to start, since it was a major influence on the writing of H.P. Lovecraft and ushered in a new type of supernatural horror novels for the 20th century.
Two gentlemen vacationing in Ireland find a manuscript in the ruins of an old house. In it, the former owner of the house describes how his house lies on the border of a demonic realm and how he ends up having to defend himself against pig-like invaders from this other dimension. The beginning of this narrative is eerie while the climax is heart-thudding terrifying, but a large section of the middle, in which the narrator describes a hallucinogenic dream in which he travels to the end of the world, dips into boredom. Apart from this middle section, the novel is a short, spooky classic of horror literature.
The reader: Winterrowd is a voice that I haven’t come across before. His voice is strong and confident, with an American accent. He gives a fairly straight reading, without much emotion. This doesn’t mean that his reading is dull – he varies his pace and emphasis – but he doesn’t try to embellish the text, which can be good or bad, depending on your taste. In some early chapters, there’s a faint ringing in the recording, but later on this problem seems to go away and the sound is fine.
Posted by Seth