From: Sam Gafford
Location: Warren, RI
I recently learned of your affection for the works of William Hope Hodgson! Could you share some of your thoughts about this long neglected writer and his works?
From: Greg Bear
Certainly, Sam! Hodgson was one of the extraordinary group of pre-WWI UK visionaries that included George MacDonald, William Morris, and Arthur Machen... and of course H.G. Wells. Hodgson seemed to have been quite influenced by Wells, especially in THE HOUSE OF THE BORDERLAND, but his Celtic genius gave those Wellsian elements a distinctly weird and terrifying touch. Hodgson created a seminal "psychic detective" in Carnacki, similar to Algernon Blackwood's John Silence. And in THE NIGHT LAND, he created one of the most difficult and visionary far-future novels. I suspect (though I haven't confirmed this) that Olaf Stapledon might have read his works, and am also fairly convinced that Hodgson's vision of the Night Land eventually leads to Tolkien's Mordor. But more research needs to be done on those suspicions! Hodgson died at Ypres in WWI. He seems to have prefigured the killing fields of France in THE NIGHT LAND.