The House on the Borderland Summary

  • Last updated on June 23, 2023
Title: The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson

Author: William Hope Hodgson
Published: 1908
Genre: Cosmic horror, Fantasy
Page Length: Approximately 82 pages


The House on the Borderland, written by William Hope Hodgson, is a chilling cosmic horror novel first published in 1908. Combining elements of fantasy and horror, Hodgson weaves a tale of otherworldly dimensions, delving into the unknown and exploring the terrors that lie beyond human comprehension.

The story revolves around an unnamed recluse living in a remote house situated on the edge of a sinister abyss. The narrator begins by providing a brief introduction before discovering a manuscript written by the house's former owner. The manuscript details the previous owner's terrifying encounter with strange dimensions and peculiar entities that transgress the boundaries of reality. It serves as a narrative within a narrative, offering glimpses into the past and setting the groundwork for the haunting tale to come.

Chapter I: The Finding of the Manuscript
The narrator stumbles upon the manuscript hidden among the deceased owner's dusty belongings. As he delves into the text, the story shifts to the experiences of the previous owner.

Chapter II: The Plain of Silence
The previous owner discovers a peculiar phenomenon known as the Plain of Silence. Inexplicably drawn towards this mysterious area, he embarks on a treacherous journey, eventually finding himself amidst the tranquil yet enigmatic plains.

Chapter III: The House in the Arena
The previous owner recounts a nightmarish encounter as he returns from the Plain of Silence. His house is violently attacked by grotesque humanoid creatures, forcing him to embark on a desperate struggle for survival.

Chapter IV: The Turret Bedroom
Haunted by unnerving dreams and supernatural occurrences, the previous owner retreats to his turret bedroom. There, he unravels the secrets of the swaying stone, witnessing visions of an ancient past and glimpses of strange dimensions.

Chapter V: The Subterranean Pit
The previous owner discovers a vast underground pit within his house, leading him to an unfathomable realm inhabited by horrifying swine-like monstrosities. Here, he witnesses cosmic battles and the desolation of entire civilizations.

Chapter VI: The Trap in the Great Cellar
In a desperate attempt to escape the horrors of the pit, the previous owner ventures deeper into the house's cellar. However, he becomes ensnared in a perilous labyrinth inhabited by grotesque humanoid spiders and other abominations.

Chapter VII: The Sea of Sleep
The previous owner enters a sleep-like state, journeying through a surreal and timeless ocean. Here, he encounters strange entities and undergoes trials, eventually awakening from his trance to battle against the malevolent forces that seek his demise.

Chapter VIII: The House of Silence
The previous owner's experiences culminate in a climactic battle against a colossal, cyclopean creature known as the Swine-Thing. Witnessing his home crumbling around him, he must confront the unimaginable horrors that the House on the Borderland hides.

The House on the Borderland explores themes of cosmic horror, the boundaries of reality, and the limits of human perception. Hodgson's use of vivid descriptions throughout the novel establishes an atmosphere of dread and mystery, enveloping readers in a disturbing journey to the unknown. The book's enduring importance lies in its contribution to the cosmic horror genre, which later influenced prominent authors, including H.P. Lovecraft.

In conclusion, The House on the Borderland is a captivating and unsettling cosmic horror novel that invites readers to ponder the unfathomable mysteries that exist beyond human understanding. Hodgson's meticulous attention to detail and skillful storytelling make this classic work an enduring example of the genre, shedding light on the complexities of the universe and our place within it.

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