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As well as four classic fantasy novels and a series of "occult detective" stories, William Hope Hodgson (1877-1918) produced a large number of sea-faring tales, many of them steeped in elements of supernatural terror.Hodgson's vividly drawn descriptions of revulsive oceanic entities often pre-echo Lovecraft in their evocation of squamous, deep-six deliria, while the latter also acknowledged Hodgson's masterful evocations of elemental disquiet and disorder.HORRORS FROM HAUNTED SEAS not only collects all of Hodgson's acclaimed "Sargasso Sea" tales - From The Tideless Sea, The Mystery Of The Derelict, The Thing In The Weeds, The Finding Of The Graiken, and The Voice In The Dawn - but also presents a further 15 stories and episodes of nautical mystery and horror, including A Tropical Horror, The Voice In The Night, Out Of The Storm, The Stone Ship, Demons Of The Sea, The Albatross, and numerous others. The stories are reproduced in chronological order according to year of publication, making this perhaps the definitive edition of William Hope Hodgson's weird oceanic tales.The Voice In The Night was famously filmed in 1963 by Japanese director Ishirô Honda, under the title Matango (aka Attack Of The Mushroom People).
A Tropical HorrorWe are a hundred and thirty days out from Melbourne, and for three weeks we have lain in this sweltering calm. It is midnight, and our watch on deck until four a.m. I go out and sit on the hatch. A minute later, Joky, our youngest 'prentice, joins me for a chatter. Many are the hours we have sat thus and talked in the night watches; though, to be sure, it is Joky who does the talking. I am content to smoke and listen, giving an occasional grunt at seasons to show that I am attentive. Joky has been silent for some time, his head bent in meditation. Suddenly he looks up, evidently with the intention of making some remark. As he does so, I see his face stiffen with a nameless horror. He crouches back, his eyes staring past me at some unseen fear. Then his mouth opens. He gives forth a strangulated cry and topples backward off the hatch, striking his head against the deck. Fearing I know not what, I turn to look. Great Heavens! Rising above the bulwarks, seen plainly in the bright moonlight, is a vast slobbering mouth a fathom across. From the huge dripping lips hang great tentacles. As I look the Thing comes further over the rail. It is rising, rising, higher and higher. There are no eyes visible; only that fearful slobbering mouth set on the tremendous trunk-like neck; which, even as I watch, is curling inboard with the stealthy celerity of an enormous eel. Over it comes in vast heaving folds. Will it never end? The ship gives a slow, sullen roll to starboard as she feels the weight. Then the tail, a broad, flat-shaped mass, slips over the teak rail and falls with a loud slump on to the deck. For a few seconds the hideous creature lies heaped in writhing, slimy coils. Then, with quick, darting movements, the monstrous head travels along the deck. Close by the mainmast stand the harness casks, and alongside of these a freshly opened cask of salt beef with the top loosely replaced. The smell of the meat seems to attract the monster, and I can hear it sniffing with a vast indrawing breath. Then those lips open, displaying four huge fangs; there is a quick forward motion of the head, a sudden crashing, crunching sound, and beef and barrel have disappeared. The noise brings one of the ordinary seamen out of the fo'cas'le. Coming into the night, he can see nothing for a moment. Then, as he gets further aft, he sees, and with horrified cries rushes forward. Too late! From the mouth of the Thing there flashes forth a long, broad blade of .....