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Ey hungered for human flesh The earth was to be their stockyards and mankind their meatCover art by Jeffrey Catherine Jon. Decent read can t remember if this is Appendix N but it s related and pertinent Well crafted I suppose in a way that is unsettling Pretty shortThere is a jarring transposition from late 60 s hippie culture to fantasy underworld to gonzo robot police state which some have suggested is a mental health trope but I don t see it Maybe a metaphor for addiction and the rise of computer controlled fascism may be apt YMMV of course I liked it because it hints at much deeper things but doesn t really pause except for one part right near the end to give any serious explanation The tidied ends actually detract from the story some to my mindThe character of Carol is grating but I suppose maybe as a symbolic maiden or something she fits the bill Worth a read if you have a spare couple of hours

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The Shadow People

Beneath the surface of the earth Until now their only form of nourishment had been a strange hallucinogenic grain Now th. Ad copy lie THE INVASION OF THE HALLUCINOGENIC PEOPLE FROM UNDEREARTH They had existed from time immemorial hidden in a space warp far beneath the surface of the earth Until now their only form of nourishment had been a strange hallucinogenic grain Now they hungered for human flesh The earth was to be their stockyards and mankind their meat Of this the entire back cover copy only the second sentence is not a lie either outright or by implication The front cover says They came from the Underearth to take over the world This too is a lie by implication The fact is this isn t a story about invasion unless a story about a serial killer is a story about war What it is in all probability is one of the strangest stories you will ever read It s about the search for protection safety and security in a world out of control Two worlds actually each representing a side in St Clair s perception of the world or the US in 1969 the hippies where else underground and the Man oppressive government on the surface Others have said that the story falters in the second half the half spent above ground Certainly it does if all St Clair is interested in is the strangeness of Underearth and the creatures who populate it But she s after something else something And to her credit she goes for it blasting both sides with eual venom I mention this only because I think it s worthwhile to stick with the book to the end and because it s easy not to What sells the book to the genre fan and this story contains elements of fantasy horror the occult and even science fiction is Underearth Fortunately this all by itself makes the book worthwhile Yes it s that weird But if that s all you re in for then you ll be left unsatisfied Although in a shadowy dystopian sort of way the first half is really a story unto itself about a guy who s life suddenly spins out of control gets worse before it gets better then ultimately spins out of control again Art lie The cover art has nothing whatsoever to do with the story Yes a sword figures in the plot and yes it is called Merlin s sword But any resemblance to the kind of sword and sorcery conjured up by the artwork is just that superficial Clearly given the fact that almost nothing on the covers of this book is true the publishers Dell had little faith in it selling on its own merits Make of that what you will but I think it s a shame For those who enjoy dark fantasy and the occult I think reading The Shadow People is time well spent

Margaret St. Clair æ 8 REVIEW

THE INVASION OF THE HALLUCINOGENIC PEOPLE FROM UNDEREARTHThey had existed from time immemorial hidden in a space warp far. I had associated this book as drawing from or referencing the Shaver Mystery mythos a statement that on reflection is exaggerated at best There are similarities evil subhumans living in the secret places under the earth the implications of their growing influence in the outer world the unveiling of the secret knowledge to the everyday characters and a sort of dreamlike paranoia and sense of persecution But this work seems drawn from Celtic or Northern European mythology of the traditional view of elves in an evil gremlin sense combined with the mythological aspects of a visit to the underworld with all the travails and conditions for entry and departureAt least for the book s first half It s not clear what St Clair had in mind for the remainder Dick Aldridge emerges from Underearth some years later to find a world unpleasantly changed and bearing some of the miasma and despair that pervades the subsurface While it is suggested that the influence of Underearth is somehow responsible and there are indications of machinations of at least one green elf St Clair fails to make the connection explicit and meaningful and to expand upon the themes of the first half Instead it loses its way and delivers an unsatisfyingly abrupt endingHonestly an injection of Shaver Mystery would have done the story some good Are the green elves manipulating society to make the outer world like their homeland Is Dick seeing the world through eyes poisoned by Underearth or perhaps by mental illness Can we as reader really trust his narration


10 thoughts on “The Shadow People

  1. says:

    I had associated this book as drawing from or referencing the Shaver Mystery mythos a statement that on reflection is exaggerated at best There are similarities evil subhumans living in the secret places under the earth the implications of their growing influence in the outer world the unveiling of the secret knowledge to the everyday characters and a sort of dreamlike paranoia and sense of persecution But thi

  2. says:

    Margaret Sinclair turned to writing books in the 1960's I don't know why her short story output declines after 1960 but I think it may have had to do with monetary reasons Science Fiction and Fantasy became big sellers in the Age of Auarius Authors are often forced to write to pay the bills Although the genesis of this novel may have been in the back of her mind for years the second part seems to have been c

  3. says:

    Weird fiction indeed Published in 1969 this novel from Margaret St Clair one of the few well known female SF writers from the last century con

  4. says:

    Weird story about hippies elves an underworld and a distopian society I've not read any of Margaret St Clair's stories before so I didn't really know what to expect going in to this novel It was written in 1969 and parts of it were good while other parts seemed to slip and go nowhere It's of a 25 star read and of interest to fans of fantasy books from the 60s and 70s

  5. says:

    ''The stink of flesh was mingled with the atter corn There must be an abundance of both for the smell to come to me so strongly Plenty of meat and plenty of intoxicant meal—to elf eyes the place to which the upward sloping passage led must seem a sort of land of Cockaigne''Profoundly strangeA book of two very distinct halves The

  6. says:

    Ad copy lie THE INVASION OF THE HALLUCINOGENIC PEOPLE FROM UNDEREARTH They had existed from time immemorial hidden in a space warp far beneath

  7. says:

    I managed to track down a used copy of this book mentioned in Gygax's infamous Appendix N of inspirational reading I an eminently readable prose style and a story that easily kept my attention and interest I find many of the elements that were influential in the creation of DD and other early fantasy RPGs elements of fantasy even t

  8. says:

    Decent read can't remember if this is Appendix N but it's related and pertinent Well crafted I suppose in a way that is unsettling Pretty shortThere is a jarring transposition from late 60's hippie culture to fantasy underworld to gonzo robot police state which some have suggested is a mental health trope but I don't see it Maybe a metaphor for addiction and the rise of computer controlled fascism may be apt YMMV of course I like

  9. says:

    Very definitely a creature of 1969 Berkeley CA written by one of the elder stateswomen of SF writing at the time this is a tightly written urban horror fantasy novel Kind of a cross between the films “Labyrinth” “The Descent” and “Strange Days” although it preceded all three There are other reviews that go int

  10. says:

    What an odd read Enjoyed it though Very 60s

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