Dan Schwent's Reviews > Who Fears the Devil

Who Fears the Devil by Manly Wade Wellman
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's review
Mar 12, 2010

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bookshelves: planet-stories, 2010, cool-covers, i-hate-short-stories, confession-time
Read from May 15 to 21, 2010

Silver John travels the Appalachian mountains, encountering all manner of strangness, with only his silver-stringed guitar for a companion...

I have a confession to make: I think 95% of fantasy stories are derivative and unoriginal. This collection is neither. Who Fears the Devil is the complete collection of Silver John short stories, 30 in number, ranging for three or four paragraphs to fifteen pages. Silver John is a wandering balladeer, modeled after a young Johnny Cash, who wanders from one strange event to the next.

The first thing I noticed about the stories were how skilled Manly Wade Wellman was at rendering Southern dialogue without making the speakers seem stupid. Once I dug in, the book was hard to set aside for too long and I'm not a big fan of short stories by any means.

The best way to describe the stories would be to call them American fantasy. The stories explore different aspects of Southern and mountain folklore, much having to do with witches, ghosts, demons, and other supernatural creatures. The line between fantasy and horror is blurred in some of them while others are pretty humorous. Silver John outwits supernatural beasties, encounters a giant, a house that's acutaly a living organism, and other things too odd to mention, all the while playing songs on his guitar and singing.

If you like fantasy that isn't derived from Tolkien, you could do a lot worse than spending a few evenings with Silver John.
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Reading Progress

05/15/2010 page 1
05/17/2010 page 48
24.37% "Good so far. Reminds me of Northwest of Earth a little."
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) I love Manly Wade Wellman. He writes awesome stories. Have you read anything else by him, Dan?

message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dan Schwent Nope. I never even heard of him until I saw this on the Planet Stories website. I should have it in a week or so.

Randy You'll enjoy these stories, Dan. I have three separate editions of the Silver John tales. They are set in the mountains of western North Carolina, my home state.

There are also five novels with the character. Not bad, but I like the shorts better.

Marvin I love the Silver John stories. Unfortunately I lost my collection of them years ago. I'll need to hunt this ook down.

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