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3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  1,225 Ratings  ·  134 Reviews
In this classic of fantasy fiction, John Myers transports readers to a world as limitless as the human imagination, where a shipwrecked American meets up with Robin Hood, Beowulf, Huck Finn, and countless others on the adventure of a lifetime.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 5th 2005 by Ace Trade (first published 1949)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,624)
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Nov 06, 2012 Sonja rated it it was amazing
I have been reading the comments made by other GoodReads members on Silverlock, by John Myers Myers. I am sympathetic with those who feel that a lack of familiarity with classics of literature an culture leave one on the outside. I do not agree, however, with those who claim that the book is pointless and plotless.

To me, after reading this book several times over the last 30 years, the point of this book is simply in praise of "story"; how it defines us and uplifts us, how basic it is to the hum
Apr 17, 2010 TPK rated it it was ok
This book is a classic example of the dangers of overhyping a text. My paperback copy had multiple introductions and at least five pages of rave reviews from numerous sources. No text, no matter how inspired, can be expected to deliver the goods after so much hype.

The book itself never really jelled for me; the characters, although many were familiar from other works, were not written in sympathetic fashion and the conceit of the Commonwealth itself was simply a chance for Myers to run amok with
Sep 09, 2010 Bradley rated it really liked it
Fascinating. This book has three forewords from three prominent authors in their own right going on about this book. Drum roll... they are right. This delectible morsel is crisscrossed with many ancient myths and woven together in extraordinary fashion. Even better is the musical interludes.. more than I have seen from many other authors of any genre. The only ones who come close are Stephen Donaldson or Tolkien. You will have to read it yourself to appreciate it but I recommend this story even ...more
Nov 11, 2015 Chris rated it did not like it
I wanted to love Silverlock and kept holding out that something would suddenly change my mind. Sadly, nothing did. When the premise of this novel, and the unique history, were told to me, I figured this is something I could really enjoy. I have a degree in art history, and minor in classical civilizations. I’ve read many of the works referenced in the books. It seems like most people who enjoy it dismiss those who don’t as not enjoying the references or not wanting to ‘play the game’ of referenc ...more
Aug 27, 2014 Bonnie rated it liked it
I will be the first one to admit it: John Myers Myers is smarter than me. He’s forgotten more about obscure literature than I will ever know.

This book reminds me of nothing more than a small child who has learned an exciting trick. "Look at me! Look at me!" it shouts. And at first you are impressed--hey, that's pretty good! But after a while, when it's just the same trick over and over, the child is still just as excited, but the watcher has started to get tired. "Okay, that's great. Now learn
Olga Godim
Feb 21, 2012 Olga Godim rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-scifi
An odd novel. Published first in 1949, it was one of the first fantasy novels of the 20th century. It came out after The Hobbit but before The Lord of the Rings, and J.R.R. Tolkien wasn’t well known in America yet. So Silverlock doesn’t include any of the Tolkien’s influence that so many later American fantasy novelists displayed. In a way, it is a quintessential American fantasy.
The plot revolves around Shandon, a cynical, educated American, who is shipwrecked and thrust into the land of Common
I want someone to explain to me in great detail why this book isn't a rip off of The Complete Compleat Enchanter.

And that book was funnier.

It's kinda cool combining all the stories and stuff, but honesty, it's been done better.

And it didn't need three introductions.
Feb 28, 2012 Judy rated it it was amazing
One of my faves of all time. I took away a different understanding re-reading it now than when I was in college - what perspective a couple of decades can give you! Love it then for the grand adventure and intellectual fun of figuring everyone out. Love it now with an understanding of his journey.
Aug 07, 2008 M— rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 27, 2016 Imran rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
For me this book is like the literary version of the song "American Pie" by Don Maclean.

It is a fantastic book, I read this the first time in high school and it has stuck with me ever since. I just bought the re-release of the book and look forward to re-reading it. My recollection was that it was a modern version of something Mark Twain would have writte-Like a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
May 24, 2008 Linda rated it really liked it
This was actually re-read. I read this book years ago and recently decided that I liked it enough to read it again. It's a fun and sometimes funny fantasy adventure through all myths and fantasy adventures that have preceeded it. Well, maybe not all, but there are an awful lot of references to.... just about anything.

Ideal for those who know a little about a lot. Or a lot about a lot.
Jeff Miller
Jun 06, 2013 Jeff Miller rated it it was amazing
Another recommendation from Maureen at "Aliens in this world" and at steal at .99 cents on Amazon.

What a great book. Kind of a cross between the voyages of Odysseus and Dante's Inferno. It borrows from various myths and from works of fiction.

The ship-wrecked Silverlock is a bit of a jerk who is just willing to give up, but not yet. While the normal plot development would be that such a self-centered person would be tested and would grow to become a hero, this only hints at that. Instead we have
Theo Logos
Upon first discovering Silverlock in 1982, I was struck with a sense of amazing wonderment which must have filled the discovers of the New World when they first saw a new land totally unlike any they had seen before. A masterwork of fantasy on par with Tolkien in quality, yet truly unique, being derivative of nothing else, Silverlock is a classic that works on several levels. First, it is a bang-up good adventure yarn, following the misadventures of the title character from his ship wreck in unk ...more
Kirk Hellweg
Mar 11, 2014 Kirk Hellweg rated it did not like it
One of the few books I have finished only to have the right to write a review of it. The premise was interesting--a fantasy world populated by the great characters of fiction and legend. But the execution was terrible. I cared not a wit about the protagonist or most of his compatriots. And the famous fictional characters appear and disappear so quickly and randomly that one can't really get interested in most of their involvement either. I say involvement because that's the most that it is. Few ...more
Jul 30, 2010 Ensiform rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is my third reading of Silverlock. Clarence Shandon, a very cynical business exec, survives a shipwreck, to be washed up on the shores of the Commonwealth of Letters. With the help of a bard named Golias (who is also Orpheus and Taliesin), he gets his bearings, is rescued from Circe, fights battles, and so forth. He meets all manner of characters, all from epic, song, myth and story, from ancient to modern.

A rollicking fun novel, though of little literary consequence by itself; as others ha
Feb 09, 2015 Tomislav rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
A shipwrecked A. Clarence Shandon (aka Silverlock) is washed ashore in the mythical land of Commonwealth. He is befriended and guided through this land by a fellow named Golias, who seems to specialize in drinking beers and composing and singing ballads. The main fun of the novel is for the reader to identify the various literary and mythological characters who populate Commonwealth, as Silverlock encounters them. Unfortunately, there is not much of a story arc, other than a sequence of encounte ...more
Craig Becker
Jun 09, 2010 Craig Becker rated it it was ok
This is supposed to be one of the greatest literary romps in history. It was OK. This was written in 1949 so some of the hijinks maybe a bit on the dated side. I think the draw of this book was tracking down all the references to other literary books and characters. Only the main character isn't lifted from another book. I liked it, but it wasn't the greatest thing I have ever read.
Mar 31, 2009 Greg rated it it was amazing
Puts a library inside a book. I can't help but wonder if the creators of Shrek were inspired by this book. Some of the allusions are easy to see but many float above head level. I think this book should be inside many literature classrooms. Classic!
Aug 29, 2011 George rated it it was amazing
It's been a long time ago but I remember this book as a wonderful joy ride of so many characters you'll recognize from history, mythology and books. Rollicking is a word that comes to mind. Definitely want to re-read to see if it (or my joy) holds up.
Diego Monzon
Dec 31, 2014 Diego Monzon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no intentions on choosing this book to read. I was in the thrift store and I saw this book. I was intrigued by the cover of it and it was only 25 cents so I said "hey why not," and purchased this book. I tried reading a summary to get an idea of what this book would be about, but I couldn't find one. I dived into this book with absolutely no idea if I would like it. Well, I don't like it. I really like it. One thing I like about this book is the sheer number of familiar characters that are ...more
Chris Hawks
Nov 29, 2010 Chris Hawks rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
If I were a bit more (okay, a lot more) well-read in the classics, I suppose I might have enjoyed playing "spot the literary allusion" in this otherwise-pointless, plotless book.
Jan 28, 2014 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has sort of an Alice in Wonderland vibe, though strangely I think that's one of the classic books not referenced in it. The story is about a man's journey through a strange land that's populated by literary characters. The ones like Circe, Robin Hood, Don Quixote, Job, and Hester Prynne are easy to spot while others you probably need to be more well versed in classic literature. I kept thinking this guy must be a real dunce not to recognize some of these characters. I mean even if you haven ...more
Joy Schultz

Curiously, the story is too good for its protagonist.
Dec 26, 2013 Kerry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Silverlock is proof positive that fantasy work does not have to be shallow, meaningless factory-created tripe that patronizes the reader with its triteness and predictability. Though it could be argued that most fantasy, in its defense, is written to entertain only, it could also be argued that books cannot be entertaining without challenging the reader, having faith in his or her intelligence, and using the tenets of good writing and a unique voice to keep that reader interested and enthralled. ...more
Feb 28, 2015 Lorelei rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
A wonderful romp.
Jan 10, 2016 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book can be read from multiple perspectives, even more so than most. There is the surface adventure, a shipwrecked man is in a strange country and has many unusual adventures. However, the literary history of the novel is what actually humbled me. This book drives home the fact that there is so much I still don't know about works of literature over the ages. I enjoyed finding references to stories that I was familiar with and amazed at the things that I completely missed over my years of re ...more
In "Silverlock," A. Clarence Shandon, a modern Chicagoan, is shipwrecked on a strange island known as the "Commonwealth," a compilation of various legend, mythology, and works of literature. And while this is the setting for the story, it's really about Shandon, who becomes known as Silverlock, and how he comes to a new understanding of himself, life, and the world around him. More than anything, it's a bite like Dante's Divine Comedy, in which one man in a cynical, middle-aged state of life und ...more
Lee Broderick
This picaresque is an interesting pointer to what might have been for U.S.American fantasy writing if those writers hadn't been in thrall to J.R.R. Tolkien and Dungeons and Dragons throughout the second half of the twentieth century. It is in fact a very USA book with a very USA hero and the plot and prose draws largely on Mark Twain for inspiration.

Perhaps 'plot' is stretching things a little. I've already said this is a picaresque and, more specifically, it's an episodic fantasy that takes in
Carl Stevens
Nov 07, 2014 Carl Stevens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Deeper Silverlock

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing
Drink deep or taste not the Pierian Spring

The trivial pursuit is to identify that as Pope but not to engage the idea. Read so as to be transformed. Gulp and absorb. Do not sip and simper about proud of tasting without being touched to your depths. Get drunk. Lose yourself in the intoxication of literature and, indeed, of all learning.
This tension between depth and surface has been brought to the forefront of my mind today by my re-rea
Jay Johnston
Sep 02, 2014 Jay Johnston rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Joseph Phillips
It took me a long time to finish but I'm glad I stuck with it. This book feels very fresh considering it was written in the late 1940s. I found the author's approach unique, with the MANY allusions to literary classics adding to the experience. I was never distracted and these tips of the hat never felt like novelties. As the story built, I sensed a hero's journey" developing in a manner that would have made Joseph Campbell smile (maybe it did!). I would describe the first 2/3 as classic storyte ...more
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Myers was born and grew up on Long Island, New York. He attended the University of New Mexico briefly, but was expelled for being one of the writers in a rebel newspaper, The Pariah. After extensive travel through Europe and the United States, Myers worked for the New York World and San Antonio Evening News. He was also an advertising copywriter. Myers served a short term in the U.S. Army during W ...more
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“Every man knows he will die; and nobody believes it. On that paradox stand not only a host of religions but the entity of sane being.” 0 likes
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