Subterranean Press continues to reveal the early writings of Charles de Lint in this, the publisher's second collection of short stories from the early days of the writer's career. And, while the stories contained in Quicksilver & Shadow are nowhere as detailed or deep as his later works, de Lint shows remarkable growth from the style (and, let's face it, genre choices) exhibited in the previous collection, A Handful of Coppers.
This volume, containing 17 brief tales, focuses on contemporary and dark fantasy, science fiction and children's stories. The best-known among them are doubtlessly the three from Terri Windling's much-lamented Bordertown anthologies: "Stick," "Berlin" and "May This Be Your Last Sorrow." Like many of de Lint's fiction, these tales dig deeply into social issues such as drug use, gang violence and prejudice while retaining a touching personal relationship with the characters involved -- and, at the same time, providing plenty of gripping suspense among spurts of fast-paced action.
Once again, de Lint has opened his past to those of us who weren't lucky enough to be along for the ride from the start. While he has certainly exceeded this level of writing many times over with more recent works, it's fascinating to get a closer look at this chapter in his development in the craft. De Lint fans will want this collection without question; newcomers to his work would enjoy some stories, certainly, but would be wise to begin exploring his worlds elsewhere.