An adventure of both science-fiction and fantasy - one of the great love stories - this is William Hope Hodgson's masterpiece, rewritten for the modern listener.
Penned in 1912, The Night Land is considered by many to be a work of genius, but one written in a difficult, archaic style that listeners often find impenetrable. As a labor of love, James Stoddard has rewritten Hodgson's book to bring it to a wider audience.
The story opens in the 19th century but quickly moves to the far future, where the sun has gone out, leaving the world in a darkness broken only by strange lights and mysterious fires. Over the ages, monsters and evil forces have descended to the Earth, compelling the surviving humans to take refuge in a great pyramid of imperishable metal built in a miles-deep chasm. The monsters surround the pyramid in a perpetual siege lasting for eons, waiting for the moment when its defenses will fail.
But one man, born out of his time, must leave the pyramid to seek his long-lost love though all the perils of the Night Land.
©2005 James Stoddard (P)2012 James Stoddard
A tremendously faithful retelling of a classic tale of endless horror and eternal love and triumph. All the same wonder and splendor of the original, but with modernized and cleaned up grammar, actual dialogue, and much stronger characterization.
"Into the night land"
I'm a big fan of the works of William hope Hodgson, I remember plowjng through Hodgson's verbose and difficult original text, so it's with some relief that James Stoddard's excellent retelling exits at all. He's managed to make an unfortunately extremely unreadable book palatable for the masses, which is a good thing as hidden in the originals meandering script in a truly fantastic story. I did initially have reservations regarding Jason's narration however, I eventually warmed to his "accent " Well done all.
"Revamped, but not re-invented."
As a long time devotee of William Hope Hodgson's work, I was intrigued to learn of this re-telling of the Night Land.
With the best will in the world, the original story, in its weird textual format, is awkward and at times tedious, and it is only the stupendous story, with its incredible inventive ideas, which motivates the reader to persist with it. However, such persistence is most definitely worth the effort.
This re-telling certainly improves the style and flow of the original, and the result is a very credible effort, providing an entertaining story. If this brings the Night land within reach of a handful more readers, - or listeners, then all well and good, but I would still advocate that the original be read as well.
Whichever version of 'The Night Land' is preferred, there is no escape from the fact that the world as revealed by the imagination of William Hope Hodgson, is as weird and terrible as any that horror based fiction has produced, and deserves to survive and for the number of devotees to flourish.
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