Alright ladies, put your tongues back in your mouths. This handsome gentleman with the great hair is William Hope Hodgson, 1877-1918. He was an English sci-fi, horror, and fantasy writer who started his career as a sailor, wrote some in the middle, and ended as a soldier, killed at the age of 40 in WWI.
Author, sailor, soldier…body-builder? Oh yeah, because there’s also this:
Hey baby, can you read this manuscript I wrote while I go pump some iron?
Apparently, Mr. Hodgson was pretty short – 5’6″ to be exact – and this got him bullied and beat up quite a bit throughout his youth. As a result, Hodgson took matters into his own hands and started pumping up. In fact, he opened a gym and physical training center back in England, and starting writing about “physical culture” and the importance of strength training. That turned out to be not-so-popular for some reason (they didn’t have any Oldies to sweat to yet), so he switched to fiction and started writing fantasy and horror stories. A little strange? Yeah, maybe, but also kind of fascinating! He reminds me a lot of my absolute favorite hottie author of all time, Jack London. Let’s listen to Mr. Hodgson discuss his considerable strength in his own words.
“From your remark, I gather that the gods have given you a length of seventy two inches, while they have given this child something under sixty six. With such length I refused to be content, so make it up in breadth and muscularity.
<Katherine’s aside: When I first read this line about his “length,” I have to say, I was not thinking about height.>
“Sometime, if you would really care to have one, I must send you a decent photograph of myself, showing developement. In the meanwhile I have snipped you out a couple of weeny ones from some old postcards of mine. They may interest you.
<Katherine’s Aside: Oh, they interest me. They interest me very much. Keep talking…>
“Of course, I’m nothing like as strong as I used to be before the flue bowled me over last year, and left my heart a wee bitte weak. Also, I think that writing has taken off a lot of muscle — confound it! But I suppose one musn’t be greedy.
<Katherine’s aside: Hmm, maybe stop using the words “wee” and “weeny” please? Ruining my mental image.>
“Before I was ill, I could take two fifty-six pound weights in one hand, and put them at arm’s length over my head, and, in fact, lift a good deal more than that with more convenient weights.
<Katherine’s aside: !!!!>
Now, I very much doubt if I could lift more than eighty or ninety pounds over my head with one hand. Another thing, I could lift considerably more than a quarter of a ton off the ground, using my bare hands — no straps around hand and wrist. And that takes a bit of doing. And now — well, if I go easy I daresay I shall come back to my old form in time — let but the editors smile on me a bit.
–Letter to Coulson Kernahan, 1905
Alright, this dude is the man. Jack London, you better watch out.