Today marks the 50th post here on the William Hope Hodgson blog! Hard to believe that I’ve been doing this for almost three months now. Time does fly. I remember when I started doing this blog how several people questioned me as to “how are you ever going to find enough to say about Hodgson”? Well, quite easily actually and there’s still a lot more to be done.
During those 50 posts, I’ve been able to bring out a lot of information that many Hodgson fans may never have seen before or even know about! That’s been one of my favorite things about this blog. Another is all of the help and assistance I’ve gotten from many of you like Dan Ross, Gene Biancheri and many more. Through your help, we’ve been able to expand people’s awareness of Hodgson and explain why he’s so worthy of all this attention. It makes me very happy that we’ve built a community of Hodgson fans here and it gives me the encouragement to keep building this blog.
I am frequently asked “Why? Why are you doing all this work for a writer that not many people know about?” I’m never quite sure how to answer that question. I mean, I know why I do it but am never sure how to explain it to others.
I first heard of Hodgson when I read Lovecraft’s excellent essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature” around 1980 or so. I hadn’t heard of many of the authors that HPL mentioned but I made it a goal to try and read as many as possible. That was not as easy 30 years ago as it is today. Without the internet, I had to use the services of my local library and assorted book dealers. However, as an 18 year old, I didn’t have a whole lot of money and couldn’t afford many of the prices such books were demanding even back then and the libraries had a depressingly low amount of these authors available.
In 1982, I attended the World Fantasy Convention in New Haven, CT, where (for the first time) I found Hodgson books. Sphere had just reprinted all four novels and the Carnacki collection and one of the dealers happened to have multiple copies of each. Naturally, I got them all and quickly devoured them.
What I found amazed me. Here was an incredible author that I had very little knowledge of and his works just knocked me off my feet. I read each one of those Sphere paperbacks several times and that began my interest in Hodgson.
Although my primary fiction idol was Lovecraft, I found much in Hodgson to admire. The power of his ideas, the enormity of his imagination and the sense of man helpless against the cosmos spoke to me. I made it a point to find everything by Hodgson possible which wasn’t much back then because so much of his work was either out of print or simply forgotten. Not to sound like an cranky old man but “when I was young I had to walk uphill 20 miles both ways to read Hodgson”
I began to develop an interest in reading about Hodgson as well but there was very little out there. This surprised me because I was so used to the scholarly interest in Lovecraft that I couldn’t understand why Hodgson wasn’t getting any of that attention. So I began to do some research and write some of my own and, together with S. T. Joshi, find ‘forgotten’ and ‘uncollected’ stories and articles by WHH that no one had read since their first appearance nearly 70 years earlier. This led to my republishing much of those items through my small press, Hobgoblin Press, in the early 1990’s as well as editing three collections of material for Necronomicon Press.
So when someone asks me “Why?”, the answer is largely because I believe that Hodgson is worthy of so much more attention and acclaim than he currently receives. He does not deserve to be a “Forgotten Author”. So this blog is my way of not only trying to bring him to a larger audience but also to try and bring all of the Hodgson community together in a single place. More than anything, I want more people to actually read Hodgson!
But, in the end, the real answer to that question is simply, “Because I like him.”