Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Back & Silvered

Yes, perhaps it was hypocritical of me to criticize The Steampunk Librarian for not updating, and then disappear for three months. Rest assured, however, that I have not been idle during my absence.

In addition to dealing with that nagging thing called real life, I recently came across the most interesting book. Its title is Silverlock, and it was written by John Myers Myers in 1949.

The story concerns a man named Shandon, or Silverlock (after a stripe of prematurely aged hair), who is shipwrecked and washes up upon an island, which is called the Commonwealth of Letters - a name that originates in a French play from the 1660's - and seems to be the home of every fictional or legendary character ever invented.

After washing up onshore, Silverlock sets off on a threestage journey through this literary wonderland, sometimes accompanied by a character who seems to be the personification of the Storyteller - he goes by the name of Golias - and, eventually, arrives at the Hippocrene fountain; where he takes two of the three necessary drinks for poetic inspiration. Along the way, he meets Beowulf, Robin Hood, and Don Quixote, tours hell with the slippery "Faustopheles", takes tea with the Mad Hatter and his two friends in rodent suits, and even hears "The Ballad of Bowie Gizzardbane" - The tale of the Battle of the Alamo set to an Anglo-Saxon epic meter - and scores of other literary characters famous, obscure, and amalgamated.

In addition to the delightful game of identifying the literary allusions, the main thrust of the book is Shandon's transformation from a literarily ignorant cynic to one more appreciative of the stories and songs the Commonwealth is made up of - even if he never quite recognizes any of them.

The book is a fun read, especially if you can get an edition that includes the Silverlock Companion, a Nevinsesque attempt to trace every literary allusion in the book. Unfortunately, it's a bit hard to find, but well worth it.

(The Media Connoisseur will return in 2007 with, "Bonds Have More Fun.")

1 comment:

stratigos said...

Hmm,a collision of time and places. Makes me want to read it.-Aaron