Ment after an argument She s gone for several days and Dick decides to check out her basement flat He finds evidence of a struggle and decides to go to the police After the police shuffle him off Dick takes a bus out to Monterrey to see if she s staying with an older couple they both know perhaps a stand in for the author and her husband Dick finds the isolated house vacant with no sign of Carol or the older couple but plenty of ncollected mail in the Box And On The And on the back he runs into a fringe character known as Carl Hood who mentions Carol may have left the skin of the worldStill searching for Carol he later encounters Fay the maid at his room in the Shasta Hotel She also mentions that "Carol May Have Left The Skin Of "may have left the skin of world Now Dick has to know what this all means and begs Fay to tell him She doesn t tell him much about who abducted Carol but does show him the path to an No Strings Attached (www.girl-gear... underground world where his girl friend may have been taken And so begins the crux of the bookDick taking food with him Fay has warned him against eating or drinking anything in thenderworld makes the perilous journey Sheriff Takes A Bride (Family Matters, underground from an isolated cellar to vast cavernsntil he crosses a subterranean river into the world of the silent people Along the way he picks Her Cowboys Christmas Wish (Mustang Valley up an enchanted sword which appears to be a Wiccan ceremonial sword from the description which pulses when it senses danger And there is plenty of danger in thisnderworldThe Secret Agent Seduction underworld is populated by elves who a distantly related to humans They come in several varieties gray black green and white All are dangerous but to each other than to the humans on the surface On occasion they make foraging trips to the bright worldsurface and steal whatever they need They feed primarily on atter corn a bitter meal made with psychoactive fungus which produces hallucinogenic effects But they also feed on human flesh when they can get it Dick is attacked by them several times but they seem to be incapable of much group action since any blood spilled during a confrontation drives them into attacking each otherI don t want to spoil too much of the plot but Dick does eventually make it back to the surface He finds three years have passed time passage being different in thenderworld the Summer of Love suashed and the forces of reaction in control The novel shifts gears at this point turning into another winter of our discontent book This is what leads me to believe the first section was mostly written years before the second with the latter written to make the narrative relevant to the current target audienceAnd it s the above ground final section of the book where it runs out of gas There s some kind of nascent fascist state in formation but we never get much of a picture of it People are reuired to wear ID tags but you never find out how this came about in the three years Dick was A Vintage Affair underground other than a brief mention of law and order politicians There s rioting in the street and some mentions of government conspiracies The book even mentions the CIA may want the atter corn for chemical warfare but this reads as an afterthought instead of a crucial plot deviceFinally three years have allowed robotic devices to be created which can police the population and run bulldozers There s a few pages where Dick discovers how the hills around Berkley where removed accidentally on purpose andsed to fill in the San Francisco Bay This came about in three years I know people believed anything was possible in the 60 s the US did put a man on the moon but such a time scale is pushing the willing suspension of disbeliefWhat really frustrated me were the characters of Carl Hood and Fay Carl turns out to be some sinister figure with connections above and below ground But you never really find out who or what he s working with or toward Fay has information about the Sirens Fury (The Storm Siren Trilogy, underworld than she lets on but her role in the novel is never fully resolved There s defiantly a relation between both characters but we don t find out what it is till the end of the book And we never find out how said relationship figures into the big pictureIn conclusion The Shadow People is a good book but could ve been a great one We may never know why a writer of Margaret St Clair s caliber left so many loose ends in the novel But she did create a horrifying vision of thenderworld which influenced many writers 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. Beneath the surface of the earth Until now their only form of nourishment had been a strange hallucinogenic grain Now th. ,
To elf eyes the place to which the Virgil upward sloping passage led must seem a sort of land of Cockaigne Profoundly strangeA book of two very distinct halves The first half of The Shadow People is a descent into a subterranean Hell in Earth Annderground world filled with emaciated semi human denizens who rape and fight but rarely kill one another and where humans are captured from the overworld to serve as playthings and food for the nderground s silent barely "sentient creatures of impulseThe creatures themselves pose little direct threat fearful "creatures of impulseThe creatures themselves pose little direct threat fearful they are of steel and the nderworld s real danger is the intoxicating allure of its ingestible hallucinatory depression a drug so potent and which creates a hopelessness so pervasive that even the nderworld s own creatures have given themselves over to its luxuriant sorrowThe second half changes pace and tone completely morphing into a weird macabre drama that takes place in a vaguely dystopian near future America where everyone talks in whispered half truths about things they can t even be sure are half trueIt pulls in sci fi wicca classical literature social decay rbanisation and conspiracy theories all while keeping the trauma of the characters who visited the nderworld at the centre of the narrativeBoth halves play with the theme of myth and legend in fascinating ways and the whole book is suffused throughout with a strange grim psychedelia It feels almost like something David Lynch would come p with if he was concerned less with Americana and with American folklore Deeply weird but very goodOne of those rare few books that contains a truly English Doctor, Italian Bride uniue truly alien truly strange world and for that alone it s worth a read Decent read can t remember if this is Appendix N but it s related and pertinent Well crafted I suppose in a way that isnsettling Pretty shortThere is a jarring transposition from late 60 s hippie culture to fanta 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 Lullaby for Two under the earth the implications of their growing influence in the outer world thenveiling 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 Once a Thief (The Network 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 worldnpleasantly 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 Loving Jessie upon the themes of the first half Instead it loses its way and delivers annsatisfyingly 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 Weird story about hippies elves an Behind Closed Doors (Made in Montana, 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 I managed to track down ased 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 that were influential in the creation of DD other early fantasy RPGs elements of fantasy even though it is set in a modern ishnear future world for 1969 an nderground world encompassing the entire world a proto Underdark called the Underearth a race much like the drow even called elves in some cases and their pets orcs and ettins the detailed descriptions of their nderground existence including the addictive atter corn that provid What an odd read Enjoyed it though Very 60. Ey hungered for human flesh The earth was to be their stockyards and mankind their meatCover art by Jeffrey Catherine Jon.