A tour through Literature

Remember this one?

Is there anywhere an SFF novel with more literary allusions? I don’t think so.

Here’s a review of this book over at tor.com: Journeying through Literature: Silverlock by John Myers Myers

The story follows a rather unlikeable protagonist shipwrecked on an island whose inhabitants are characters from stories, literature, and legend. If the premise sounds a bit strange at first, it ends up working very well—the book is a delight from beginning to end.

I didn’t love this book — the protagonist is a jerk for a long time — but for anybody familiar with classic literature, it’s something to pick up and at least try. If any of you have read it, what did you think?

Here, this link goes to the edition with the Silverlock Companion included. That’s the version that’s got glossaries and commentary and everything. I’d probably like it a lot better if I looked at the Companion material first and then tried re-reading the actual story.

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7 thoughts on “A tour through Literature”

  1. The Jasper Fforde Thursday Next books maybe? I really liked the first one, but found diminishing returns. Not sure when I quit them (although I did like all of the Nursery Crime spinoff series). He’s an author brimming with ideas, but I’m not sure he always knows what to do with them.

  2. Good suggestion — I read only one of these, but they certainly do provide a unique tour through literature! Intensely clever worldbuilding, but, a lot like Silverlock, not books I find emotionally engaging.

  3. IT read like an update to Pilgrim’s Progress, in all the wrong ways. Not enough story for the lessons., and oddly … textureless ?… besides. Although I did like the Ballad of Bowie Gizzardbane, and some of the other bits.

  4. It didn’t work. Besides the unconvincing character arc, the allusions were more like a crossword puzzle than literary. They never evoked the other work, they provided a clue for you to deduce what was meant.

  5. I’d read a lot of people saying glowing things about Silverlock, but I didn’t much care for it. I finished it, but, well, meh.

  6. I read this when I was maybe 13 or 14? (I read a lot of things inappropriate to my age.) I haven’t revisited it so I don’t know if the main character is a true anti-hero, but I definitely remember realizing that there was a type of protagonist I didn’t like. Strangely I remember getting the Dante references and being puzzled by a lot of others, so I wonder what else I was reading at that time? I did not remember John Myers Myers as the author at all!

  7. Silverlock is an old favorite. I bought the paperback on the basis of the Niven, Pournelle, and Anderson blurbs, later bought the Silverlock Companion as a standalone book, and later still the NESFA Press hardcover. For years after first reading it I was pleased when I ran into literary characters I hadn’t originally recognized and remembered encountering them there.

    It’s been a while since I last reread it, so I don’t know how it holds up. But it was pretty good as a gateway drug for this SF nerd into classic literature.

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