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My primary purpose in writing this was to set a view of the world that respected the "feel" of Hodgson's creation, yet allowed adventures into the unexplored areas nearby without making such forays a complete departure from the dark dystopic vision of the original author.

I would suggest by way of compromise that the essay represents the flawed insight of someone conjecturing how the world described might have come to pass, without benefit of Hodgson's mind-set or that of Victorian scientific thought. The world I attempted to "re-create" is relatively consistent with the "feel" and "intent" of The Night Land and at the same time considerate of Louis Alvarez' continental drift theory, modern knowledge of climatology and planetary geology, weather, etc. I did not wish to destroy the feeling of TRUE NIGHT, but in a world where both radiative (insolation) and convective (magmatic movement) sources of heat have all but disappeared, it was difficult to "warm" even the depths of the Great Valley with vulcanism alone, as was the case with a handful of other facts. As you pointed out in your essay entitled "Sharks of the Ether", Hodgson himself was not satisfied with pure fantasy but attempted to lay a veneer of "scientific-ness" (my word) on the drab, hopeless and utterly alien landscape of his imagination. This essay was my attempt at a similar venture, and because the science has changed since Hodgson's time, must needs differ from his.

You may visit Don Muchow's own retro-SF web magazine at :

Would That It Were

[Would That It Were is, alas, gone. The link now leads to an entry about it in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. — KC]