Awake in the Night Land by John C. Wright
This is a book that simultaneously makes you want to give up on your own writing (because you know that you’ll never, ever be this good) but also write even more (because you feel that inspired by what Wright pulls off). Any fan of H.P. Lovecraft or Gene Wolfe will devour this work, and then read it again and savor it. The line-by-line writing is gorgeous, and the novellas themselves are epic nightmares that somehow manage to stay grounded in very flawed, very believable human characters. “Tour de force” doesn’t even begin to cover this book.
My only complaint is the large jump in time between the third and fourth novellas. I wanted to see what Wright would do with a certain period in the Night Land the earlier novellas had foreshadowed. Even so, this is still the best book I’ve read in years, and one that I’ll be re-reading many times in the years to come.
Awake in the Night Land is an epic collection of four of John C. Wright’s brilliant forays into the dark fantasy world of William Hope Hodgson’s 1912 novel, The Night Land. Part novel, part anthology, the book consists of four related novellas, “Awake in the Night,” “The Cry of the Night-Hound,” “Silence of the Night,” and “The Last of All Suns,” which collectively tell the haunting tale of the Last Redoubt of Man and the end of the human race. Widely considered to be the finest tribute to Hodgson ever written, the first novella, “Awake in the Night”, was previously published in 2004 in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-First Annual Collection. Awake in the Night Land marks the first time all four novellas have been gathered into a single volume. DRM-free.
John C. Wright has been described by reviewers as one of the most important and audacious authors in science fiction today. In a recent poll of more than 1,000 science fiction readers, he was chosen as the sixth-greatest living science fiction writer.