(Note: the following will make little sense if you haven’t read the book. I found this stuff I’d written a few years back, and thought I might share. Shared a couple before, but what the hey.)
Yes, if you’ve read William Hope Hodgson’s epic masterpiece, The Night Land (flawed, for sure, but epic nonetheless), you will have noticed an equally epic lack of humor. Night Land makes the Book of Job read like stand-up comedy. This could be remedied.
The second half of the book consists of about 100,000 words covering the relationship of the Hero with Naania, the damsel in extreme distress whom he is rescuing. They have plenty of time, it seems, for intricate interactions that look a little like flirting engaged in by a couple of people whose hinges are a bit off-plumb – while trying not to get eaten by giant slugs and ape-men and other unpleasant creatures. After the first novella’s worth of words devoted to these odd interactions, teasing, weirdly soft porn level ‘discipline’ and overall moments of WHAT THE HELL? STOP THAT! GET OUT OF THERE! RUN! RUUUUN!, it gets a LITTLE OLD.
The story is told first person from the hero’s side. Let’s just say I doubt his objectivity. From his perspective, this story is pure Homeric epic, with him risking all and defying the dark gods to save his beloved. One must wonder how the story would look from the point of view of Naania, she who has called telepathically for a savior, gotten a response, but had her fortress city surrounded and then overrun by nightmare creatures who devour body, mind and soul while she waits for rescue, is forced to hide, defenseless amidst a dark landscape of utter horror while the few survivors are hunted down and dismembered for fun before her eyes, hoping, then despairing of rescue. Then one guy shows up – it’s the two of them against the mustered forces of Eeeevil! Might it have seemed a little different? I think it might have.
Fragments of the Diary of the Lady Naania of the Lesser Redoubt
As the Earth Current fails, it seems I have a gift few in the Lesser Redoubt possess – I am not an idiot.
There’s got to be some way to make it out of this alive. I’ve been broadcasting a distress signal for months, and some guy in the Great Redoubt answered. What do I need to do to get him to send a heavily armed team to get me the hell out of here? Let’s lay on the girlish charm.
Galahad seems to think I’m some long-lost lover of his – hey, whatever works. Now rescue this maiden in distress, you manly-man, whoever you are.
So, this herd of squirrels I’m stuck with opened the damn doors! WTF?! Now I’m huddled in a ditch hiding from the Deity-Who-Oddly-Must Never-Be-Named damned monsters that infest this area. This isn’t going well.
The records show that, at one time, the millions in the Great Redoubt had some serious firepower, and could lay waste to these monsters from miles away. They had flying machines, for crying out loud! So Galahad here shows up alone, on foot, armed with a circular saw on a stick? Holy hell.
If I have to play coy again to get this lunk to keep moving, I’m going to puke up both of these freaking tablets.
The snuggles, the kisses and the ‘inadvertent’ glimpses of the goods have got Galahad completely under control. Now, get me the hell out of here!