The House of Doors

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The House of Doors by Brian Lumley.

This science-fictional horror novel was fast-paced, with 48 short chapters often shifting their focus among various characters. The story was made decidedly less mysterious and less horrific by supplying the villain’s-eye view on a regular basis.

The basic premise is that an interstellar civilization has sent an “invigilator” to ensure that no civilized species would be disrupted by their plan to seize and remodel the Earth. This agent has at his disposal a “synthesizer” which can simulate environments in which to test subject species, and this machine/setting is the title’s House of Doors.

The human protagonist Spencer Gill is a sort of technopath, capable of intuiting the working of machines. It is obvious from early on that his talent is to be the salvation of the six humans picked up by the House, as well as possibly that of the whole human race. A romantic subplot comes off as, well, mechanical.

I picked up this book solely on the virtue of Lumley’s authorship, but it was something of a disappointment. While he did make the alien technology sufficiently exotic to pass muster, the narrative and characterizations failed to hold my attention. Towards the end, I was mostly looking forward to being done with it. [via]