The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The story of The House on the Borderland is cast in the form of a manuscript written by an unnamed man, later referred to as the recluse, who lives in a large, ancient house with his sister and his dog. He writes the manuscript to document the strange events that he experiences, consisting of a mixture of visionary cosmic journeys and attacks by very real monsters.

The first such experience begins when the narrator sees a green glow at one end of his study and soon develops into a bizarre journey in which he floats over a vast “plain of silence” and into a mountain-ringed amphitheater in which sits a house identical to his own except that apparently it is made of green jade. The surrounding mountains are inhabited by strange and horrible monsters, many of whom are identified as the models for some of the gods and demons of human history. He watches as a swinelike creature attacks the green house, as though seeking a way in. He then is drawn into space, with a view of the solar system, before being returned to his study.

The next episode recounts a harrowing attack on the narrators home by swine-faced creatures that emerge from a cave in a nearby gorge. After several days of siege the narrator manages to drive them off. When the swine-things do not remount their attack, a peaceful period ensues during which the recluse explores the cave from which the monsters came. He finds that it leads to an enormous underground pit directly...

(The entire section is 545 words.)