‘ahems and ahahs’

Literature, & Etc.

Charles De Lint

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Charles De Lint is a Canadian Science-Fiction/Fantasy author, Urban Fantasy is his primary genre to be more specific. I’ve been aware of his work for a number of years and I know many people that enjoy his work. Recently I picked up a few of his short story collections. De Lint sets the majority of his works in a ficionalized city that mirrors Ottawa, similiar street names, places, etc.

It’s hard to explain what his stories are like, but imagine if your fairy tale books started to step outside of their stories and enter our own world.

“The Newford Stories” an anthology of three of his short story collections all set in Newford. (Dreams Underfoot, The Ivory and the Horn, & Moonlight and Vines) has already become an instant fantasy favorite of mine and I’ve only read the first two stories in the collection.

Let me share a bit of trippiness with you, my devoted blog readers. The first story centers around a young woman named Ellen Brady who has some anxiousness with her ability to see beings and things of another (faery, nether-esque) world. She refers to a short story collection that discusses the possibility of some people having the power of seeing into other realms and other beings from those places. The following takes place between a young girl and a wizard. (Keep in mind that these are characters in a short story that the Ellen references).

(Bramley Dapple, a Wizard/Professor talking to Jilly Coppercorn, former student and friend, about the existance of his servant, a beastly goblin named Goon who just happens to be serving them both tea.)

“So…anything we can imagine can exist?” she asked finally.

Bramley shook his head. “It’s not imagining. It’s knowing that it exists–without one smidgen of doubt.”

“Yes, but someone had to think him up for  him to….” She hesitated as Goon’s scowl deepened.” That is…”

Bramley continued to shake his head. “There is some semblence of order to things,” he admitted, “For if the world was simply everyone’s different conceptual universe mixed up together, we’d have nothing but chaos. It all relies on will, you see–to observe the changes, at any rate. Or the differences. The anomalies. Like Goon–oh, do stop scowling,” he added to the goblin.

“The world as we have it,” he went on to Jilly,”is here mostly because of habit. We’ve all agreed that certain tings exist–we’re taught as impressionable infants that this is a table and this is what it looks like, that’ a tree out the window there, a dog looks and sounds just so.At the same time we’re informed that Goon and his like don’t exist, so we don’t–or can’t–see them.”

“They’re not made up?” Jilly asked.

This was too much for Goon. He set the tray down and gave her leg a pinch. Jilly jumped away from him, trying to back deeper into the chair as the goblin grinned, revealing two roows of decidedly nasty-looking teeth.

“Rather impolite,” Bramley said, “but I suppose you do get the point?”

Jilly nodded quickly. Still grinning, Goon set about pouring their teas.

“So,” Jilly asked, “how can someone..how can I see things as they really are?”

“Well, it’s not that simple,” the wizard told her. “first you have to know what it is, that you’re looking for–before you can find it, you see.”

– Uncle Dobbin’s Parrot FairS – Dreams Underfoot – Charles De Lint

Ok, so this is in a book that Ellen Brady, (the main character of “Uncle Dobbin’s Parrot FairS”, the first short story in De Lint’s collection) is reading, entitled How to Make the wind Blow by Christy Riddell.

The second story in De Lint’s collection is centered around Goon, Jilly, & Bramley and Bramley at various points refers to Riddell’s short story collection. So how trippy is that.

De Lint crafts a story in which his character refers to a book and characters within that book which in turn become the characters of his second short story who refer to the author of the book that they’re supposedly set inside of as a real person. Stories within stories referring to other stories. All kinds of meta-fun.

Worth checking out if you have some cash or a library card.

Written by thebeliever07

October 17, 2008 at 12:54 pm

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