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Silverlock Paperback – April 5, 2005

90 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Silverlock needs no introduction, though this reprint bears three; skip them. A. Clarence Shandon, not a very pleasant person, falls into a postmodern whirlwind tour of folklore and literature, with a bard as his Virgil. Shandon gradually absorbs better qualities from the people he encounters. The plot is great fun; the true entertainment for many readers comes from playing spot-the-reference, for Myers packed every page with scraps and tags of blended allusions to other works. Don't worry -- the story is wonderful even if you're not well-versed, but you may find yourself suddenly interested in the Odyssey, ballads, Izaak Walton, Don Quixote or Apuleius. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Trade (April 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441012477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441012473
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,352,405 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By James D. DeWitt VINE VOICE on January 3, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is half Pilgrim's Progress, half Divine Comedy, half outright allegory and complete fun. A. Clarence Shandon, the Silverlock of the title, is not a very nice person as the story opens. Shipwrecked, he is saved by Widsith Amerigin Demodocus Taliesin Golias, who is more than a bard, he is a Maker. And from the moment he meets Golias, Silverlock falls into stories, one after another. He lands on the great island of the Commonwealth, which at one level is the Commonwealth of letters, literature, stories. And on another is simply a grand romp through the great stories of our culture.
For Silverlock, who is as ignorant of literature as a fish, it's initially simply something that happens to him. He is, in Golias's kind phrase, "Not well informed." Nor are we. Whether it's hanging out with Robin Hood, wandering into the scenes of Shakespeare's "Midsummer's Night Dream, or quaffing mead with Beowulf, or even his own quests; it's initially all the same. But gradually the stories he lives and the stories he hears, and Golias's own example, transform him into a better person.
I could tell you that "Silverlock" is an allegory, that Myers is telling you that literature has the power to transform, and make a person better, and that life without literature is not worth living. But that's like saying "Hamlet" is a story about a depressed prince. Saying this book is an allegory is implying its cod liver oil. It's not. This book is masterful as pure, sweet entertainment; the encounter with Izaak Walton and a dozen others is amusing even if you have never heard of any of them.
Sure, what makes the book even more fun is trying to recognize the characters and situations Silverlock encounters.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Theo Logos on June 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
Upon reading 'Silverlock' for the first time, expect to experience the sense of awe and wonder that explorers feel when first discovering strange and wonderful new lands. 'Silverlock is a hidden classic, on par with Tolkien in quality, yet utterly unique. For readers who enjoy fantasy but have become weary of the genre's cliches and vast quantity of derivitive material, 'Silverlock' is Eldorado.
'Silverlock' is a masterpiece that works on several levels. It is a first rate adventure yarn, following the misadventures of the title character from his ship wreck in unknown waters through many close scrapes, battles, drinking bouts, and wenchings in the enchanted realm of the Commonwealth of Letters. It is also a clever allegory, following the development of Silverlock as he changes from a cold cynic with no knowledge or respect for the world of literature, to an enthusiastic aspirant maker of tales. And finally, it is an incredible literary game. Every person, place, and thing in Silverlock, outside of the protagonist is lifted from the vast range of literature and myth, from Gilgamesh to Mark Twain, and the challenge to identify these tantalizing references proves irresistable to most readers.
These literary references and the way Silverlock interacts with them create the book's unique magic. A typical series of scenes finds Silverlock emerging from the forest where the night before he has been the guest of Robin Hood and his merry band; stopping at a tavern and lunching with the Mad Hatter and his party, and pushing on for an evening feast at Heorot Hall, where the revelers are celebrating the death of Grendel by recounting the tale of the Alamo in Norse verse. All this and more in but one chapter.

'Silverlock' is a book you will come back to many times.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Addison Phillips on July 14, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Okay, this book has 30-odd reviews, all of the with five stars, and some with titles like "the best book ever written". What's up with that? Well... if you are one of the people unlucky enough not to know A. Clarence Shandon, aka Silverlock, then scroll back up and add this book to your cart now. I can tell you all about this book (as anyone's review will do), but it'll just come off as hyperbole. I mean: reference hunting? What's fun about that? Pilgrim's Progress? Wasn't that one of those tedious books you read in high school (and hated)?
Okay, it sounds boring or tedious or somehow suspect, but this book will make your cheek muscles hurt from the silly grin you'll wear while reading it. The plot exists in part to hang all of these delightful songs (yes, songs), characters, rimshots, and, well, yes, references off of. But it never slows down or gets tedious at all. You'll find yourself merrily zipping along right through it.
It is hard to find because it comes and goes from print--this book's the size of a Michener novel--and most people get this white-knuckled grip on their second or third copy (the first ones always having been loaned out and NEVER returned). This book is LOVED, and if you don't know about it you should (again) scroll up and purchase it now... because... the Hippocrene spring at the end of the book, I can tell you all about it, but you'll never *really* understand until you've sipped from its waters.
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84 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Paul Brooks VINE VOICE on December 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
The fantasy-adventure novel "Silverlock", first published in 1949, by John Myers Myers (1906-1988) had a minor cult following among some elements of the professional science-fiction community.

Based upon the glowing recommendations published in the Ace paperback I read this book much to my disappointment. At 516 pages I was anticipating an all-stops-pulled-out fantasy epic. Instead I was served up a convoluted and not very interesting tale full of literary references many of which were unfamiliar to me. Sometimes I felt like the author was making up "classics literature trivia quizzes" in lieu of a stronger narrative. If the author had included footnotes, a glossary or an appendix I might have found the book of more interest. I have subsequently noticed that the NESFA has published an annontated edition - I regret I did not a have that edition when I read the book, althought it is OOP and not inexpensive.

If you like to decode literary puzzles by all means read this book. If you are a Literature major or enjoy deciphering arcane references to myths, legends and classics this is the book you have been pineing for. Otherwise I would recommend you pass this one up. The last paperback edition of this title was published in 1996 by Ace.

Just an observation: since I posted this review - and rated it one star - I have received no "helpful" responses. I notice that the 4 and five star rated reviews show mostly "helpful" responses. I have well over 300 reviews on Amazon and notice the same trend - my 4 and 5 star reviews, in general, garner substantially more postive responses than my 2 and 1 star reviews. Just an observation.

revised 1/3/2012 & 7/14/2012
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