Well, this one represents a bit of a milestone. The brunt of the final third of the work on this series is done. I have four posts queued up… and four more to go after that to complete a 42 installment Appendix N survey.
This chain of posts… connecting and developing ideas from The Dying Earth to Three Hearts and Three Lions to The King of Elfland’s Daughter to The Broken Sword to The Shadow People… I think they really add up to something. I’m pretty excited about it. I was really hoping that something would turn up in this last pile of books to sort of top off what I’d started digging into. Margaret St. Clair is exactly what I wanted. If you want to change the way you think about fantasy… those are really the five books from the Appendix N list that I’d recommend.
New Appendix N post for you! Yeah, this book blew my mind in a way that only about one-in-ten Appendix N books do. Check it out!
RETROSPECTIVE: The Shadow People by Margaret St. Clair
Grognardia — “Whatever its shortcomings as a novel, it’s one that (I think) gives some insight into the origin of everyone’s favorite dark elves, the drow. The Shadow People is about human beings stumbling upon the dark fairy world that exist just behind the walls of certain places in the world, where twisted, emaciated elves lay in wait, plotting the downfall of the world above. Addicted to hallucinogenic fungi, their plots often go awry thanks to their penchant for treachery against their own kind, a trait that has probably saved humanity far more than outright heroics against the dark elves.”
Tor.com — “In The Shadow People, we aren’t just dealing with an unreliable narrator, we’re dealing with an unreliable reality. That’s a classic D&D sensibility if I ever saw one. Though, in this case, it’s wrapped in the literary equivalent of Volkswagen busses and tie-dye slacks.”
Figbar Tobar — “St.Clair’s unassuming, simply-written style, which at first seems blah blah blah I might add, is overtaken by an infectious storyline within a chapter or two. Once the third or fourth chapters rolled by, this reviewer — that would be me, Figbar Tobar — was hooked by the author’s detailed description of not only elfen life in the underworld, but also the physical details of the underworld itself, and what it does to its denizens. I was compelled to keep turning the pages, thanks to St. Clair’s ability to weave a good yarn, and my own desire to ferret out similarities to Shaver’s own vision of the underworld.”
Black Gate — “I’d like to offer my usual critique of Tim and Mordicai’s analysis, but they’ve ventured well outside my realm of expertise with Margaret St. Clair. I’ve never read any of her novels, and it I read any of her short fiction, I don’t remember it.”