The Boats of the "Glen Carrig"

The Boats of the "Glen Carrig"The Boats of the Glen Carrig is a creepy travelogue set in 1757, following a diminishing group of men through alien waters after the foundering of the title ship hey, do you want some giant sea squid, terrifying sounds in the night including some heavy breathing and light shrieking, trees that ooze blood and display tormented human faces, horrible slug like weed men , squirmy flappy tentacled stinging biting things etc you got it you want a survival story that has a nuts n bolts approach to dealing with clean water, food, repairing a boat, making a fire, all those basic details of an adventure tale you got that too hey, do you want a brave kind loyal stronger smarter than anyone around him type supporting character as your blue collar The Real Hero with this novella, you get a grade A specimen of the type, free of charge oh noble unnamed bo sun, you rock the house William Hope Hodgson is one of the senior members of the classic Weird Fiction crew, and yet he gets less love than melodramatic Lovecraft or the arch ironic Clark Ashton Smith unlike Lovecraft, he knows how to restrain himself his style is wonderfully archaic but he rarely goes over the top and is able to capably conjure up an atmosphere of creeping dread without getting all hysterical about it he s no Lovecraftian drama queen don t get me wrong, i love Lovecraft and unlike CAS, he doesn t seem interested in being witty or using sardonic drollness to create a kind of ironic distance from his horrorscapes don t get me wrong, i love CAS the most of the Weird writers Hodgson is rather dry, very sincere, practically humorless, and despite the palpable horrors of Boats, there is a kind of naturalist slash spiritual side to him that makes this tale particularly convincing of all the Weird writers, i would say that his closest brother would be Algernon Blackwood.4 stars for the first two thirds, which is expertly written and wonderfully dark and atmospheric unfortunately, 2 stars for the last third, where a very annoying second boat is found, full of annoying people, and worst of all, The Tender Brave Romantic Interest that last third brings out the worst in both Hodgson and the narrator on the one hand, we have endless descriptions of ropes kites repairing ships oh yawn i m falling asleep again on the other hand, we have a narrator who suddenly embodies the most cloying aspects of Victorian culture although, to be precise, the narrative actually takes place in the Georgian era and who plunges into a particularly labored and trite romantic affair it s like being forced to sit in Great Aunt Hortensia s stuffy, musty, doily shrouded parlour and listening to her endless and microscopic descriptions of the Victorian Mating Ritual especially irritating when i came over to visit Grandfather Jedediah and listen to some of his eerie ghost stories get away Aunt Hortensia, your stories make me a little nauseous and your tea is too sickly sweet.this was my first audiobook and i have to say that i didn t enjoy the experience i have a couple on my ipod so i will try again hopefully this will turn out to be an anomaly the narrator was as monotone as they come and the sinister, atonal sound effects music although suitably unnerving at first eventually became wearying although they did add a delightfully macabre quality to the saccharine romance but worst of all was my inability to go back, reread, and so further enjoy all the glorious WORDS ON THE PAGE it was frustrating and it made the experience so much less immersive. Starts out great and weird It s an unusual book that gets you thinking about Dante s Inferno, Roger Corman s Attack of the Crab Monsters, Poe s Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, and Lovecraft of course All of that said, I wish Hodgson had cast this as a long short story About the midway point I lost interest Hodgson knew what it was to be a seaman, and he piles on the seafaring details in a way that recalls Conrad and Melville These details add to the authenticity of the story by acting as concrete counterpoints to all the strangeness This works up to a point, but about the time a giant bow is constructed pages and pages , the recording of minute details really starts to drag the story down, and you start to become aware that this is a comfortable return point for Hodgson, a device, but one that he s relying too much on Still, I m glad I read it, and can see how influential this story must have been. Though the writing is a bit rusty and crusted with sea salt at times, Hodgson s first novel is a sustained work of unrelenting terror that is a direct ancestor of Tim Curran s DEAD SEA This is an excursion into the big unknown, filled with unimaginable horrors that the suthor never slows down to explain He simply relates his tale of lifeboats lost somewhere off the nautical charts, letting the reader become one of the shipwrecked survivors, facing incomprehensible monstrosities borne from the depths of a nightmare sea.Highly recommended Hodgson is one of my favourite British horror authors, his efforts coming in that golden period of fantastic fiction written at the turn of the 20th century The Boats of the Glen Carrig is as creepy an effort as you could wish for, an outstanding cross between the kind of creepy sea chills that Hodgson based on personal experience of being a seaman he also wrote many similarly themed short stories and the kind of thrilling, giant monster adventure that reminded me of Jules Verne All right, The Boats of the Glen Carrig may not be particularly original or unique Hodgson saved that for The House on the Borderland and The Night Pirates but it s nonetheless a riveting story of adventures in the Sargasso sea, as our shipful of heroes no mutineers here find themselves facing creatures as diverse as giant crabs, huge devil fish or octopi and, most memorable, a range of weed men , strange amphibian humanoids with a penchant for human flesh I don t know if Lovecraft read this before he sat down to write his Cthulhu stories but I d guess he must have, as this reminded me a lot of sleeping Cthulhu and the sea dwelling inhabitants of The Shadow over Innsmouth.Hodgson s anecdotal style is one I could immediately settle into and the resulting story is one which I didn t want to end It s episodic in nature, heavily reliant on atmosphere very effective with bursts of action punctuating the narrative The story always kept me guessing as to what was going to happen next and, while there s no supernatural stuff going down here, it s frequently eerie if not in your face frightening I loved this, my first exposure to the author at novel length, and I can t wait to try the rest of his oeuvre. BEYOND THE UNKNOWN SEAS THE BOATS OF THE GLEN CARRIG Is An Edwardian Voyage Of Mystery And Imagination As Bizarre As Conan Doyle S Lost World, As Sinister And Darkly Shadowed As The Most Fevered And Haunting Creations Of Edgar Allan Poe Few Can Equal Hodgson In GLEN CARRIG There Is Vast Power In The Suggestion Of Lurking Worlds And Beings Behind The Ordinary Surface Of Life HP Lovecraft One of the weirdest books I ve ever read In the mid 18th century a ship, The Glen Carrig has ventured into strange and unknown seas and has been wrecked Some of the crew survive and take to the lifeboats They initially reach an island that is nothing but mud, with strange and rather disgusting vegetation They find the wreck of another ship, and encounter strange noises and are attacked by nameless faceless horrors The horror is very Lovecraftian What Hodgson seemed to be aiming for in this novel is what I call A Sense of Wrongness these are beings that should not be allowed to exist, but they do exist, things that exist in defiance of Nature s laws There s the same sense that you get in much of Lovecraft s work of unhealthiness and corruption, and physical degeneracy Hodgson is very effective in conveying a morbid atmosphere, an atmosphere of dread If you like very off beat weird fiction then Hodgson may well be just the writer you ve been looking for. 2,5 ,. The conventional words of wisdom for any aspiring new author have long been write what you know, a bit of advice that English author William Hope Hodgson seemingly took to heart with his first published novel, The Boats of the Glen Carrig Before embarking on his writing career, Hodgson had spent eight years at sea, first as an apprentice for four years and then, after a two year break, as a third mate for another long stretch And those hard years spent at sea were put to good use not only in Boats, but in his third novel, The Ghost Pirates, and in many of his short stories and poems as well According to August Derleth, No other writer not Conrad nor Melville nor any other has so consistently dealt with the eternal mystery of the sea, a sentiment very closely echoed by Lin Carter in his excellent introduction to Boats in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy edition pictured above Boats is in many ways a remarkable book It takes the form of a saga of survival narrated by John Winterstraw to his son in the year 1757, and tells of what happened to the two remaining lifeboats after the sudden sinking of the Glen Carrig The survivors had drifted for many days before coming upon a desolate swampland referred to by Winterstraw as the Land of Lonesomeness , replete with strange wailing noises and some decidedly nasty arboreal life After fleeing this inhospitable land and surviving a horrible storm, one of the boats had fetched upon a small island in the middle of a gigantic area of entangling seaweed Their adventures on this unusual island make up the bulk of Winterstraw s narration, and what a strange tale it is Indeed, this island almost makes the one featured on the hit TV series Lost seem normal, surrounded and infested as it is with giant crab monsters could Roger Corman be a fan of this book , humongous octopi think 1955 s It Came From Beneath the Sea and, most memorably WARNING possible spoiler ahead , the weed men pale, slimy, vampiric, bipedal slug creatures that swarm in the hundreds and attack both on land and at sea Between fending off attacks from the nasty animal life on the island, seeking food and water, and attempting the rescue of an old, manned sailing vessel that had been trapped for years in the seaweed morass, the Glen Carrig survivors surely do have their hands full.But a capsule description of this novel cannot possibly succeed in conveying the eeriness of the book, or its outre sense of mood and otherworldliness Hodgson has his Winterstraw narrator speak in a seemingly pseudo archaic language that may intially put some readers off, but that for me, anyhow lends to an unusual veracity nevertheless, as well as strangeness A single sentence can easily run on for 2 3 of a page in this novel, with six or seven semicoloned sections The grammar and syntax used are quite bizarro, an expedient that Hodgson also used in his 1912 epic novel The Night Land In that later novel, this invented form of English was meant to convey the language of some billions of years hence here, it stands in for an 18th century English that probably never was Hodgson also uses many nautical terms that may send modern day readers scurrying for their dictionaries, but most of those readers will not mind, being than content with this short novel s rapid pacing, creepy atmosphere and, above all, truly frightening monsters Not for nothing was this book chosen for inclusion in Newman Jones excellent overview volume Horror Another 100 Best Books Though the only characters we really get to know with any degree of depth are our narrator and the remarkably intrepid bo sun leader of the men, the book is as memorable as can be, and concludes most satisfactorily On a side note, sharp eyed readers may have noticed that in my first sentence above, I refer to Boats as Hodgson s first published novel rather than his first novel, and that is because there seems to be some confusion on this point In his scholarly Internet essay Writing Backwards The Novels of William Hope Hodgson, Sam Gafford makes a convincing case for Boats being Hodgson s LAST novel, and The Night Land his firstin direct opposition to the order long believed to have been the case Using internal evidence from a batch of recently unearthed Hodgson letters, Gafford really does press his point home. I really liked this book, and felt that it kept up a good amount of tension I think I only rated it a 3 because there is something about a story in first person chronological narrative that just always adds a little monotony.It s also a little frustrating that there was never anything else learned about wth these monsters werebut the escape from them was enough to make the read enjoyable.

William Hope Hodgson was an English author He produced a large body of work, consisting of essays, short fiction, and novels, spanning several overlapping genres including horror, fantastic fiction, and science fiction Early in his writing career he dedicated effort to poetry, although few of his poems were published during his lifetime He also attracted some notice as a photographer and achiev

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  • 176 pages
  • The Boats of the "Glen Carrig"
  • William Hope Hodgson
  • English
  • 06 May 2019
  • 9780722147948

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