Communicator (communicator) wrote,

The Night Lands

I'm still reading Best New SF #17. There's a story in there - Awake in the Night - which is part of the Night Land sequence. The Night Land is a late Victorian science fiction novel written by William Hope Hodgson, about a far future Earth after all the stars have died, in which humanity survives sealed in a vast 'Final Redoubt' in a nightmarish wilderness of demonic lifeforms.

"Appallingly written...And still one of the most amazing works of fantasy fiction in the English language"

In the present day Andy Wright Robertson loves this book so much that he has set up a website about it, and paid people to write stories set in that universe. Some of those stories have been so good they have gained a commercial publishing existence in their own right: a bit like Dr Who or Star Trek novels, but financed by one fan.

Awake in the Night is an excellent addition to the sequence, I think. At the end of this nightmare story Wright turns and addresses the reader.

'Men's souls are crooked and unsound things, not good materials out of which to build friendships, families, households, cities, civilisations. But good or no, these things must be built, and we must craft them out of the materials at hand, and make as stubborn and strong a redoubt as we can make, lest the horrors of the night should triumph over us, not in some distant age to come but now.'
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