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The Old Gods Waken Mass Market Paperback – May 5, 1955
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''The dean of fantasy writers.'' --Karl Edward Wagner, Locus Award-winning author, praise for the author
''Wellman's stories are not only first-rate fantasies and marvelously entertaining, they have a truly unique warmth to them.'' --Realms of Fantasy, praise for the author --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
About the Author
Manly Wade Wellman (1903-1986) was an American writer best known for his fantasy and horror stories, but he wrote in a wide variety of genres including science fiction, historical fiction, detective fiction, western fiction, juvenile fiction, and nonfiction. Born in Angola, he graduated from Wichita Municipal University (now Wichita State University) in Kansas and received a bachelor of laws degree from Columbia University. He has been the recipient of many awards, including the World Fantasy Award and Edgar Allan Poe Award. He was a long-time resident of North Carolina.
--This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
Top customer reviews
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I love Wellman’s use of language and his folksy approach . . . and I’m at a loss to explain how varied this is. It’s the people and their inner goodness. John’s warm and comforting reassurances. The Chief’s snarky sense of humor about “white man” expectations, lol, even as he steps up when it’s evil come a’calllin’. There’s also Holly’s blend of college education and warm-hearted acceptance of a less scholarly angle.
For such a short story, 186 pages, you can’t help but be impressed with the level of background detail and the wealth of Wellman’s imagery. Wellman shows you how it’s done *grin*.
If you love history, culture, self-sufficiency, and the underdog winning out, you can’t help but love Wellman’s The Old Gods Waken.
It’s lucky for the Forshays that Luke befriended Silver John at that festival, for he knows how to deal with the deadly magic that flows down the mountain.
Even luckier that Rueben Manco is willing to root out that evil and endure the seven tests.
Silver John is a balladeer who wanders the mountains collecting folk songs and battling evil. Evadare is John’s fiancée. Holly Christopher is a friend of John’s and a scholar of folklore with university learning and an appreciation for what she can discover outside a university.
Creed Forshay owns a farm up in the Appalachian mountains. Luke is his son, who helps him work the land and has degrees in English and history.
Rueben Manco is Cherokee, a medicine man, and a graduate of Dartmouth, for all that he likes to fool around with people’s expectations.
Brummitt and Hooper Voth are brothers who inherited the old Gibb place up on the mountain top. Jonathan Gibb was the last of his line and a complete loner. John Gibb was the ancestor who first settled this homestead.
The Cover & Title
The cover is fantastical with a an old hermit carrying a long-handled sickle as he wanders an alien landscape with mountains in the background and a full moon hovering while lightning crackles in the sky above.
The title is the aim of the Voth brothers, to see to it that The Old Gods Waken.
John is a footloose musician who wanders Appalachia, playing and collecting the "old-timey" songs he plays on his silver-stringed guitar. Hosted by good men with an ear for music, John stops at a farm whose neighbors have begun a strange blood feud. Stubborn courage alone cannot save the farmer and his family from an evil rooted in Appalachian folklore; they need the true spirit and hard-won wisdom of John.
Wellman had an amazing ability to convey local dialect effectively in print, and a real feel for the landscape in which he sets the action. If you like this story, check out short-story collections of the same character, "Who Fears the Devil" or "Owls Hoot in the Daytime."
I had nair trouble air time he used "air," meaning "every," or "any." This seems authentic Appalachian dialect, although it did nair appear in the short stories written in the 1950's,
which just seemed altogether "fresher" and more alive than the novels written in the late 1970's and early 1980's. I kept wondering whatever had happened to Evadare,
John's true love who was ready to go anywhere with him when they left Hosea's Hollow. She is mentioned, but does not appear.
I have known and remembered John since I was fourteen, and I am now sixty. John is our own mythic hero, our personal and our national Robin Hood, Knight Errant, and Aragorn.
Somewhere he is still wandering alone through the Mountains of Magic, forever young, forever true of heart, forever simple, mysterious, and forever American.
Sometimes I almost hear his songs, and sometimes he tells new stories to me, just as he did for Mr. Wellman.
A superb story teller, Wellman has a large vocabulary coupled with an ability to use it.