Saturday, 2 May 2015

Colin Wilson's Spider World : The Magician (1992) and Shadowland (2002) volumes 3 and 4


Continued from an earlier review of volumes 1 & 2:


I have now finished the final two instalments of Colin Wilson's four volume Spider World fantasy novel and am pleased to report that I found the quartet to be extremely good, both edifying and enjoyable.

I was especially impressed by the last volume - Shadowland - which had that rarest of things in a long book: a satisfying ending to round-out the whole thing!

En route, the book was a really gripping study of different types of consciousness (as exemplified by the various races inhabiting this world) -  these are mainly novels of psychology, and in particular exploratory of the highest or furthest or strangest kinds of consciousness (ecstatic, concentrated, sensitive, animistic etc.).

The Spider World books are, in my opinion, among the very best of Colin Wilson's books; and among the best fantasy books I have read.

They definitely deserve to be far better known - and indeed, in the first instance, Shadowland needs to be republished, since it is current (seemingly) available only in very expensive second-hand versions, or in Russian!


360 Decrees said...

I haven't read these yet, but I wonder if he was inspired to create a world of humans enslaved to arachnids by the Doctor Who story Planet of the Spiders (1974).

Jables said...

Or by John Wyndham's Web.

Bruce Charlton said...

The main thing about the stories is the development/ evolution of the hero as he gradually understands how the sentient spiders, beetles and various other races think - as well as other humans - the very different ways they perceive the world.

Anonymous said...

What do you think of Wilson's idea of a "Peace Machine"? (p.318 in my ed of 'The Tower') How plausible is such a machine?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Anon - I'm afraid I don't recall that bit - so I suppose it mustn't have made much of an impact on me.