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Quicksilver & Shadow, Volume 2: Collected Early Stories: Contemporary, Dark Fantasy, and Science Fiction Stories

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Quicksilver & Shadow is the second volume (of a projected three) of Charles de Lint's Collected Early Stories. At nearly 150,000 words it's even larger than volume one, A Handful of Coppers, and includes the very obscure 20,000 word novella, "Berlin," and its over 30,000 word counterpart "Death Leaves an Echo." Quicksilver & Shadow is the second volume (of a projected three) of Charles de Lint's Collected Early Stories. At nearly 150,000 words it's even larger than volume one, A Handful of Coppers, and includes the very obscure 20,000 word novella, "Berlin," and its over 30,000 word counterpart "Death Leaves an Echo."


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Quicksilver & Shadow is the second volume (of a projected three) of Charles de Lint's Collected Early Stories. At nearly 150,000 words it's even larger than volume one, A Handful of Coppers, and includes the very obscure 20,000 word novella, "Berlin," and its over 30,000 word counterpart "Death Leaves an Echo." Quicksilver & Shadow is the second volume (of a projected three) of Charles de Lint's Collected Early Stories. At nearly 150,000 words it's even larger than volume one, A Handful of Coppers, and includes the very obscure 20,000 word novella, "Berlin," and its over 30,000 word counterpart "Death Leaves an Echo."

30 review for Quicksilver & Shadow, Volume 2: Collected Early Stories: Contemporary, Dark Fantasy, and Science Fiction Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    As the Goodreads description notes, this volume was one of a projected three that were to gather up all of de Lint's early short fiction. I read it soon after reading the companion volume, A Handful of Coppers: Collected Early Stories, Vol. 1: Heroic Fantasy, which I really liked (my review of that one is here: www.goodreads.com/review/show/18351729 ); I don't know if the projected third one was ever published. Although the individual stories aren't dated here, they would come from the same time As the Goodreads description notes, this volume was one of a projected three that were to gather up all of de Lint's early short fiction. I read it soon after reading the companion volume, A Handful of Coppers: Collected Early Stories, Vol. 1: Heroic Fantasy, which I really liked (my review of that one is here: www.goodreads.com/review/show/18351729 ); I don't know if the projected third one was ever published. Although the individual stories aren't dated here, they would come from the same time period as those in the earlier book, roughly 1979-1986; the two collections are differentiated from each other by story type, not by publication or writing dates. (And like the earlier volume, this one includes a few that de Lint wrote with a co-author.) The author himself provides a short introduction (about five pages), leavened with becoming modesty, in which he briefly discusses the stories and their influences. Since his subsequent writing has moved away from the "sword-and-sorcery" settings of the first volume and more towards contemporary and urban fantasy settings like these, he likes the selections in this collection better. My own reaction was the opposite; I think A Handful of Coppers is the stronger of the two collections. That volume, IMO, doesn't have any "clunkers;" by de Lint's own admission, this one does. (He and I sometimes agree in identifying them, as with one that was never published until now; I concur with his assessment: "There's a reason no one bought 'From a 24" Screen".... Let's face it, this story misses the mark on all the things that make...any story work.") The writing quality here is not as high overall; there are also more stories here that have bad language, including the f-word, in a way that often comes off as gratuitous. (Though, in fairness to de Lint, there's less of it here than I've encountered in some other works.) However, there are several selections here that are fully up to his standard for quality! The 17 stories are divided into three sections: "Contemporary and Dark Fantasy," "Bordertown" (which has its own short introduction) and "Science Fiction." My personal favorite of the three was the middle one, containing the three stories de Lint contributed to the shared-world Bordertown anthologies created by Terri Windling. Her premise (which she then invited some other authors to explore) was that some 50 years into the then future, an inter-dimensional link was somehow opened in a major North American city, allowing our world and Elfland to interact. At the link, the concentration of Elven magic rendered most high technology inoperable; and the intermixture and sometimes intermarriage of immigrating elves and a cultural salad of humans created a unique environment. (Not always a nice environment --like humans, individual elves could be good or evil; the latter sort adapted to the ways of evil humans with great facility, and in many neighborhoods law and order was limited or nonexistent. Despite some bad language, I liked all three of these stories ("Berlin" in particular has a good anti-drug message). As de Lint himself indicates, his own invented setting of Newford later supplanted Bordertown in his interest; but I'm still quite intrigued by Windling's world, and would love to read some of the anthologies! Some writers write science fiction and fantasy with equal facility; but I don't think de Lint is one of them, and on the whole I wouldn't say the former is his forte. Six stories (two of them co-written with Roger Camm) are classified here as SF, though in one case the label strikes me as dubious. None of these were memorably bad, but none were outstanding. Of the other stories, I recall that "His City" (co-written with Robert Tzopa) and "Death Leaves an Echo" didn't impress me at all. But five of the tales in the first section (all of which I would classify as supernatural fiction) are quite well-done, with good characterization and effective prose, emotional power, and often serious underlying messages. The occasional profane use of Divine names can be off-putting, but the stories are still rewarding. It's hard to pick favorites among these, and sometimes hard to describe the stories without spoilers. I will say that on the whole, I don't get into stories premised on the idea of vampires having taken over the world; but "We Are Dead Together" is an exception to that rule. That tale is enriched by de Lint's knowledge of Rom (Gypsy) culture; several others in the book as a whole draw on Native American mythology and folklore. ("Raven Sings a medicine Way, Coyote Steals the Pollen," for instance, is a retelling of a traditional Blackfoot Trickster story.) All in all, possibly not de Lint's best work, but worth a read; and several of the stories have improved in my estimation over time. (If I could give half stars, my rating would be three and a half; and I might have given four, but for wanting to give the earlier book a higher rating.) Note: I didn't write the review entirely from memory; I got a copy by interlibrary loan to skim and refer to, so as to supplement my recollection!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    The Soft Whisper of Midnight Snow RE-read 7/8/2015 Scars RE-read 7/8/2015 We Are Dead Together RE-read 7/8/2015 Death Leaves an Echo The Face in the Flames L'Esprit de la Belle Mariette ♦His City (with Robert Tzopa) re-read 6/16/2015 From a 24" Screen ♦Stick re-rad 6/23/2015 Berlin RE-read 7/10/2015 May This Be Your Last Sorrow A Tattoo on Her Heart ♦Raven Sings a Medicine Way, Coyote Steals the Pollen RE-read 6/23/2015 The Lantern Is the Moon Songwalking the Hunter's Road The Dralan (with Roger Camm) The Cost The Soft Whisper of Midnight Snow RE-read 7/8/2015 Scars RE-read 7/8/2015 We Are Dead Together RE-read 7/8/2015 Death Leaves an Echo The Face in the Flames L'Esprit de la Belle Mariette ♦His City (with Robert Tzopa) re-read 6/16/2015 From a 24" Screen ♦Stick re-rad 6/23/2015 Berlin RE-read 7/10/2015 May This Be Your Last Sorrow A Tattoo on Her Heart ♦Raven Sings a Medicine Way, Coyote Steals the Pollen RE-read 6/23/2015 The Lantern Is the Moon Songwalking the Hunter's Road The Dralan (with Roger Camm) The Cost of Shadows (with Roger Camm)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mitchell

    As with most short story collections, this is a mixed bag. However this one is both from one of my favorite writers as well as some his earliest works - which by his admission are not as good as his later works. Some horror. Some bad sf. Some great Borderlands stories. Definitely the flavor of what became Newford is here as well. 3.5 of 5.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jaimie

    A lot of the stories in this collection are not de Lint's strongest (as he readily admits in the introduction), but it was still a good read. Having read the first collection of de Lint's early short stories I can definitely see his evolution and improvement as a writer, as we get a handful more of his published stories (Borderlands mostly, which are always a charm) but it's still very clear that he hasn't quite found his voice yet. I skipped over most of the science fiction stories at the end ( A lot of the stories in this collection are not de Lint's strongest (as he readily admits in the introduction), but it was still a good read. Having read the first collection of de Lint's early short stories I can definitely see his evolution and improvement as a writer, as we get a handful more of his published stories (Borderlands mostly, which are always a charm) but it's still very clear that he hasn't quite found his voice yet. I skipped over most of the science fiction stories at the end (not because they were weak, but because sic-fi isn't really my jam), but many of the urban fantasy and "real" world-based stories were starting to sound like the Charles de Lint that I know and love. There's one final volume of the early short sotries that I have yet to read, and I'm quite looking forward to seeing the final bridge between the developing and more mature author.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    This is a second in a series of early stories from Charles de Lint. The first section is based on horror stories, the second section based on a world called 'Bordertown', which is a cyber-punk setting, and the third and last setting is science fiction stories. It's quite a mix of oddities for de Lint, and it was interesting to read stories, that were not his usual Celtic or Native American type sorcery mixed in an urban setting. This was a fairly large collection of stories, and I breezed right This is a second in a series of early stories from Charles de Lint. The first section is based on horror stories, the second section based on a world called 'Bordertown', which is a cyber-punk setting, and the third and last setting is science fiction stories. It's quite a mix of oddities for de Lint, and it was interesting to read stories, that were not his usual Celtic or Native American type sorcery mixed in an urban setting. This was a fairly large collection of stories, and I breezed right through them, as it was an enjoyable read. I liked the setting of 'Bordertown' the best, but in reality they were all good.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Georgie

    This is the second collection of shorts from his earlier days. It is hard for me to find authors who write short stories I actually enjoy... (which is odd since I write them). I enjoy this collection for the borderland stories. If you are familiar with Charles de Lint outside of his Newford tales, I would recommend adding this to your collection. It will be a cherished favorite of mine for years to come.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Nordstrom

    This is a collection of some of Charles De Lint's early work, specifically his short stories. I enjoyed this book for the most part. It is mostly dark fantasy and science fiction. And I can say that de Lint has improved a great deal as a writer over the years. Overall, a few disapointments, but overall well worth the reading. This is a collection of some of Charles De Lint's early work, specifically his short stories. I enjoyed this book for the most part. It is mostly dark fantasy and science fiction. And I can say that de Lint has improved a great deal as a writer over the years. Overall, a few disapointments, but overall well worth the reading.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    Not a bad collection, some of the stories were hit and miss, but overall it kept my attention and many of the stories were very imaginative. Sometimes overly descriptive, though, I found myself scanning over descriptions that weren't vital to the story. Not a bad collection, some of the stories were hit and miss, but overall it kept my attention and many of the stories were very imaginative. Sometimes overly descriptive, though, I found myself scanning over descriptions that weren't vital to the story.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sid

    Short stories, including some of Charles de Lint's early sci-fi and some Bordertown ones. Short stories, including some of Charles de Lint's early sci-fi and some Bordertown ones.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tami Wright

  11. 5 out of 5

    Onewooga

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

  13. 4 out of 5

    Caryn

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jan

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hal

  16. 5 out of 5

    AJ LeBlanc

  17. 4 out of 5

    John Sparks

  18. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sara Light-Waller

  20. 4 out of 5

    Darren Mckeever

  21. 4 out of 5

    Blue

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle-Simone Lagueux

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mindy Duncan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Karen Baldwin

  25. 5 out of 5

    Roxie

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sharona

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jillian

  28. 5 out of 5

    Daria

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen Temby

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dana

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