- The Siege of Humanity
William Hope Hodgson’s writing reflects his dissatisfaction with the modern world that was emerging around him. When THE NIGHT LAND was published in 1912, the countryside he loved was giving way to teeming cities shrouded in coal smoke. Trains cut through the landscape, and people were becoming slaves to the very machines they had invented to make their lives easier. Hodgson looked at what his world was becoming and took it to its logical conclusion. He wrote of humans living in steel-encased artificial cities, hiding from a blasted and dead landscape.
In 1912 this was not yet a popular view of the future. Most people were still thrilled with the rapid pace of technological and industrial progress. It wasn’t until the First World War ravaged the cities of Europe, killing millions, that the world woke up to the dangers of mankind’s technological power. Hodgson himself saw the similarities of the Western Front and his vision. Because of this, THE NIGHT LAND can be seen as a prophetic novel, all the more so because the author perished in that war.