William Hope Hodgson's The Night Land is without a doubt one of the weirdest entries in the annals of weird fiction. Set in the earth's distant future, after the sun has gone out and the planet has been cleaved in two by an unspecified disaster, a telepathic scientist dons his armour and weapons to brave the monster-haunted yet strangely monotonous wastes that engirdle the massive pyramid in which the last humans took refuge, hundreds of thousands of years earlier. If Samuel Beckett tripped hard on ayahuasca, he might have come up with something like Hodgson's genre-defying novel, which reads more like a report to committee of 17th-century heretics than a piece of speculative fiction from the early twentieth century.
MIT Press recently released a (blessedly) abridged edition of The Night Land as part of their Radium Series. Journalist, scholar, and lecturer Erik Davis, who penned a brilliant foreword for the new edition, was kind enough to join Phil and JF to discuss this underrated masterpiece.
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William Hope Hodgeson, The Night Land
Weird Studies, Episode 37 with Stuart Davis
Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy
Charles Taylor, A Secular Age
William Hope Hodgeson, House on the Borderland
Samuel Beckett, Molloy
Olaf Stapledon, Last and First Men
Pierre Schaeffer, “Traité des objets musicaux”
H.G. Wells, The Time Machine