Monthly Archives: November 2013


giant_octopus_cake_06Yes, today is the birthday of our own WHH.  It was on this day, November 15th, that WHH was  born at St. Mary the Virgin, the Blackmore End District Church of the Parish of Wethersfield.  Today is his 136th birthday! (And he doesn’t look a day over 130!)

Recent years have seen more attention paid to Hodgson and his works so, if you’re inclined to celebrate his birthday today, I can think of no better gift than reading one of his stories or novels!  Or introducing a friend to Hodgson!

So, Happy Birthday to you, Hope, and may we always remember.



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A Trip to Hodgson’s Borth

borthRecently, Mark Valentine posted this message in one of the Arthur Machen Yahoo groups:

William Hope Hodgson’s last home, before his death in the Great War, was in Borth, on Cardigan Bay in mid-Wales. From March 28-31, 2014, I’ll be organising a weekend visit to the town to follow in Hodgson’s footsteps. This is part of the programme of events run by A Ghostly Company, who arrange visits to places of ghost story interest at least twice a year. As well as walks around Borth, there will be talks, readings and discussions of Hodgson’s work. Accommodation will either be in a centrally arranged venue, or visitors can sort out their own place to stay. If anyone on this group is interested, let me know, and I’ll add you to the mailing list. We’ll probably want final bookings by the end of the year.


Mark has kindly allowed me to repost this message in the chance that any readers would like to join the outing.  Details are still being set but Mark says that accommodations will likely be in Aberystwyth, the Welsh University city, a little further up the coast.  It’s likely to be a small, informal gathering but a great opportunity to see one of the towns where Hodgson lived.

If you’re interested, please contact Mark Valentine at:

I wish I could attend this myself!  Sadly, the cost of a trip from the East Coast of the US to Borth is simply too prohibitive.  A quick check of airline costs is roughly about $1,100 which is too much for my budget.  Although… I could always do a kickstarter to raise funds to send me? 😉

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CARNACKI copyI’m still waiting for confirmation on a couple of items but want to announce the following contents for the upcoming anthology:

William Miekle–“Captain Gault’s Nemesis”

Josh Reynolds–“Monmouth’s Giants”

Jim Beard–“The Haunting of Tranquil House”

P.V. Ross–“A Gaslight Horror”

Robert Pohle–“Carnacki & The President’s Vampire”

Fred Blosser–“The Spar: A Story of Carnacki”

Buck Weiss–“The Magician’s Study”

Amy K. Marshall–“The Ghosts of Kuskulana”

Please note that this is not the final list of contents or even the final order.  Congratulations to all these fine authors and I’ll update with publication information very shortly!

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Shaw & Savill

In 1891, William Hope Hodgson runs away from home to go to sea.  It is not the first time he has tried this.

This time, however, instead of being returned home, William’s uncle (Reverend Thomas Lumsdon Brown) intercedes on his behalf with William’s father, Samual Hodgson.  We do not know the nature of the conversation but the result is clear.  On August 28th, WHH is apprenticed to the firm of Shaw & Savill and joins the Merchant Marine.

WHH would serve as an apprentice for Shaw & Savill for four years.  It was during that time that WHH experienced the worst of his time at sea, suffering sadistic second mates and frequent brutalities.  Eventually this would result in the development of WHH’s interest in body building which would follow him through the rest of his life.

But what of Shaw & Savill?  What is their history?

After a little research, I learned that Shaw & Savill were actually one of the major shipping companies in England for many years.  They began in 1858, when Robert Shaw and Walter Savill left Willis, Gann & Co. to form their own shipbroker company.  Their primary focus at this time appears to have been shipping between the U.K. and New Zealand.  Although beginning with mostly sailing ships, they eventually switched over to steam.  At the time, their largest competitor was another shipping line named Albion also operating out of the U.K.  In 1873, the New Zealand Shipping Company was formed by NZ settlers and provided yet more competition for Shaw & Savill.

Eventually, Shaw & Savill merged with Albion in 1883.  The new company, known as SSA, would survive two World Wars and several mergers until 1985 when it was bought by Hong Kong shipowner C Y Tung as part of the Furness Withy Shipping line.  The reorganization of the assets would finally bring SSA to an end and it ceased to be a separate company.

More information on Shaw & Savill can be found by visiting these excellent websites:




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Call For Papers!

With the first issue of SARGASSO put to rest (kindle version available here), it’s time to start thinking about next year’s issue!  Although, honestly, I think I’m going to have a hard time topping the first issue.  We had a great selection of essays, art and stories that really celebrated William Hope Hodgson’s life and work.  So let’s see if we can do it again!

SARGASSO is a yearly publication billed as “The Journal of William Hope Hodgson Studies”.  Once again I am looking for submissions of essays, art and stories about the life and work of WHH. Essays can be on any aspect of WHH from literary criticism to biographical to bibliographical to anything in-between.  Stories should be of some aspect of WHH.  Think in the same way that writers now write Cthulhu Mythos stories that are more inspired by H. P. Lovecraft than imitative.  And I am always open to art and poetry submissions.

Submissions should be sent to me, Sam Gafford, at: with “Sargasso submission” in the subject line.  Please send text files as either .doc or .rtf format.  Image files should be in .jpg with a minimum of 300 dpi.  The deadline for submission is March 30, 2014, with an expected publication date of November 15, 2014 which is WHH’s birthday.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

It’s time for another trip back to the SARGASSO!

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