pulled this from Project Gutenberg, read it, didn’t like it. And now I’m finding that H.P. Lovecraft deemed it his greatest influence.
I don’t get it.
See, I have a problem with fantastic (meaning amazing, unique, and stupendous) things. Having one is fantastic. More than one? You gotta have a good reason for it.
I don’t like the idea that Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spiderman) not only gets bit by a radioactive spider and has his body uniquely change, he also (as a high schooler) figures out how to manufacture web slingers so he can swing all about town. See? That’s two fantastic things. It’s too much to have lightning hit twice.
And in The House in the Borderland, the reclusive main character is standing on the roof of his cursed (I guess) house, waving a lightning rod over his head in the face of a growing electrical storm.
I mean, how many things can happen? He has an out-of-body experience to another dimension (which he doesn’t interact with – just looks at). Then, a deep pit near his house cracks open and all these swine-men come pouring out, to lay siege on his little castle. Then, he goes spelunking and explores the caverns beneath his castle and damn near dies. And then, another OOB experience, this time with a womanly presence (this manuscript is ripped, to this one is confusingly scattershot). And then, dammit, another OOB experience, this to witness time passing and what eventually takes place to the earth as it goes to the Great Planetary Graveyard. And then, dammit, the attack of the swine-men’s god, I think. And then a very nasty infection. But before he dies, well, the creature in the cellar.
How many unrelated things can go wrong for this guy? Each of these are supernatural adventures, to be sure, but how they are actually connected to each other (if it’s through the cursed house/castle, I don’t know why, other than it’s implied by the local peasants it’s considered bad medicine to go there) is beyond me.
I’m not saying it’s a terrible book. I really enjoyed the siege of the swine-men. The underground snooping was chilling, too (and was top-notch knee-knocking scary). And the eventual fate of the earth was interesting to follow. But what it all meant and why all these unrelated things were happening to this one guy, I couldn’t tell you.
What’s the old joke? Why is there time and space? There is time so everything doesn’t happen at once, and space so everything doesn’t happen to you.
Everything happened to this guy.
Still, if you are disciplined enough for 1906 gothic horror (without any driving logic), I could recommend this book (get it for free HERE). There are scenes that will stay with you. What it all means? Couldn’t tell you.