How I fell in love with the Night Land—
It was along process, but it had to be. I am a Dutch writer and illustrator and the Night Land speaks to both of my talents. It is like a extremely beautiful girl who is also a great conversationalist.
I knew William Hope Hodgson at first only as a writer of horror. The translation of "The Voice in the Night" was one of the first ghost stories I ever read, closely followed by Carnacki the Ghostfinder.
It was so long ago that people didn't talk about horror but called such stories ghost-stories.
I must have been about ten then and I decided I wanted to be a writer, too, especially of such strong and eery stuff. With, of course, creeping fungi.
Well, that worked. I've had about twenty horror-novels published.
I also noticed Jones' very strange cover for The Night Land, with the pyramid besieged by a horde of monsters. The picture was quite effective: without reading a single word I got a strong impression of the Night Land. And I wanted to visit there.
The book itself was impossible to find: I only had Sam Moskovitch's description of the book. But even a few sentences were enough: the endless roads with the Silent Ones, the dark sky with the sun no more than a black cinder. But most of all, it was the wideness of the playing ground, all those millions of years, with whole civilizations no more than a footnote.
Later I read "Awake in the Night" and found it quite strange ('strange' is the highest compliment I can give). I liked it but I didn't want to join yet. Perhaps because the Redoubt seemed too dark and stable, too resigned?
Some months ago I made a picture which suddenly reminded me of another book of Hodgson's, The House on the Borderland. Looking for a place to sell it I found the Night Land site. Andy liked the picture but the site was about the Night land, not W. H. Hodgson in general. But if I wanted to paint a picture of the Night Land?
Well, I did. I started with the Redoubt itself, with the thousand cities, each more wondrous than the next.
The House of Silence even crept into my dreams and when I woke, I had to paint it. Only in my versions all windows were dark, while the book tell that all were glowing, making the House a beacon in the night. Why?
Painting and writing are two sides of the same coin for me. While I wrote "Embrace the Night" I painted four more pictures.
I am closer to cyberpunk than the Victorians, so I chose a younger, much more barbaric Redoubt. A Redoubt that still remembers the Road Makers and dreams of ruling the Earth again.
I have always loved the night. The Night Land felt for me like an endless Saturday night, with the world impossible wide and full of wonders. The pulsing Kilns of the Giants and the dancing shadows are like neon on wet cobblestones, the howling of night-hounds the pulse of distant rock music. I wanted to embrace the night. Of course there are monsters: every young man who walks the dark street knows that, but that is part of the joy. It will not be safe and that is glorious.
Your true, eternal, lover is also an integral part of Hodgson's universe, most of all, because you'll meet her again and again and no life is complete without her.
But what if your true love was a soul-eating monster? How could you ever be worthy of her?