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Literature: Doc Sidhe

A series of novels by Aaron Allston paying homage to Pulp Magazine adventure stories like Doc Savage and The Shadow.

The setting is an otherworld whose people were the inspiration for legends of elves. Unlike many depictions of Faerie, it isn't stuck in Medieval Stasis, but has developed a technology level and society equivalent to our world's in the 1930s. Very equivalent. While it is regarded as an association of sun worshippers, Japan and Germany are getting kinda close. . .

There are two novels in the series:

  • Doc Sidhe (1995)
  • Sidhe Devil (2001)


This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl:
    • Noriko.
    • Ish.
    • Gaby as well, later on.
  • A Lady on Each Arm: In Sidhe Devil, Doc leaves a party with Ish on one arm and Gaby on the other providing support to keep him from falling over due to magical exhaustion.
  • Aliens Speaking English: When Harris Greene first travels to the fair world, one of the reasons it takes him so long to realise he's in another world is that the language spoken by the locals is, by a convenient coincidence, exactly the same as English. It's later established that it isn't just English and Low Cretanis that are the same, but German and Burian, Italian and Isperian, French and Lorian, Spanish and Castilian etc. This is made a plot point, as it turns out to be one of the signs that Doc's world and ours are fundamentally interconnected.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: In Sidhe Devil.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Duncan Blackletter to Doc.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: In Sidhe Devil, Swana Weiss is captured in this fashion while disguised as Teleri Obeldon.
  • Balls of Steel: Knowing of Psycho for Hire Angus Prowie's fondness for the Groin Attack, Harris foils him by wearing a cup with Cold Iron spikes welded to it. When Powrie attempts to knee Harris in the groin, he ends up in a world of pain.
  • Bed Trick: A variant in Sidhe Devil where Doc is captured, chained up and sent erotic dreams of his lover, Ish, for the purpose of acquiring his semen.
  • Cardboard Box Home: One of Blackletter's first victims lives a refrigerator box. A paragraph or so is devoted to how comfortable it is and he considers himself lucky to have secured it.
  • Celibate Hero: Discussed and averted. Harris thinks Doc might swear off relationships until he retires. "Why would anyone punish himself that way?"
  • Cold Iron: The people of the fair world find the touch of iron painful (which makes things interesting for construction workers building 1930s-style steel-framed skyscrapers). In Doc Sidhe, Doc and his colleagues are surprised to learn that the human protagonist, Harris Greene, carries a pocketknife with a steel blade, and even more surprised when he demonstrates that he can touch the blade with no ill effect.
  • Combat Medic: Alastair
  • Deadly Doctor: Alastair explains that his world's equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath only applies to his patients — and the guys he shoots aren't patients until after he shoots them.
  • Diesel Punk
  • Disney Villain Death
  • Driven to Suicide: Doc's wife in the backstory. Queen Maeve in the sequel.
  • Everything's Louder With Bagpipes: in Chapter 15, while in a club, Harris discovers that the equivalent of the blues on the fair world is traditionally played with the singer accompanied by bagpipes.
    Doc: That's the way it's done. What else could sound so soulful?
    Harris: Do you suppose anyone would get mad if I beat both of them to death?
  • Extreme Doormat: Harris Greene starts out as one.
  • Eye Scream: Happens to Duncan Blackletter courtesy of an exploding TV.
  • The Fair Folk: Most inhabitants of the fair world.
  • Fake in the Hole: Jean-Pierre does this in the first novel. When the gunmen invade Doc's office, Jean-Pierre throws a paperweight at one, shouting "Stickbomb!". While the thug is trying to get away from the supposed bomb, Jean-Pierre shoots him.
  • Fantastic Racism: forms the backbone of the plot in Sidhe Devil.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Duncan to his henchmen.
  • Flashed Badge Hijack / Follow That Car: in the novel Doc Sidhe.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: For the 2013 re-release, Allston rewrote Doc Sidhe slightly to more closely match his current prose style.
  • Grew a Spine: This is the main character development arc for Harris Greene. The key Grew A Spine moment is when he holds to doing the right thing even though it will mean losing his fiancée. Fortunately, it turns out to be a Secret Test of Character — she wants him to do the right thing, and if he'd folded to try and keep her, he would really have lost her.
  • Groin Attack: Angus Powrie likes giving these out. Also how Zeb wins his Olympic fight.
    • Common in "All-Out" competition fights in general:
    Blows to the balls are permitted, but biting them is not.
  • Heroic Bastard: Doc is the unacknowledged son of the Prince Consort.
  • Insecurity Camera: Averted. In the final battle in Doc Sidhe, both sides use and abuse talk-boxes - both their own and the other side's - but none of the glitches are ever treated as being due to anything other than deliberate intent.
  • Land of Faerie: The fair world — although, as previously mentioned, not a Medieval Stasis version.
  • Modern Mayincatec Empire: Ish is a princess from a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of a Modern Mayincatec Empire that is still fighting a guerrilla war against the colonial powers.
  • My Own Private "I Do": Harris and Gaby get married in the fair world sometime between Doc Sidhe and Sidhe Devil; Sidhe Devil opens with them having another wedding in the grim world for the sake of their family and friends.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The physical description of the villain in the novel Doc Sidhe bears a striking resemblance to The Shadow.
    • So does Zeb in Sidhe Devil — dressed in black, fedora pulled low, scarf pulled up over his face, and unnerving laughter:
    He rode atop them, cloaked in the night, his training and the pistols in his pockets ... making him more dangerous than any of them.... A laugh bubbled up out of him, and had any of the soldiers aboard the train heard it, they would have been chilled by the mad humor in it.
  • Offing the Offspring: averted. Gaby and Harris go to great lengths to prevent Doc killing Duncan. See Disney Villain Death.
  • Older Than They Look: As a pureblood sidhe, Doc ages very slowly. Harrison's initial estimate of Doc's age is off by several decades.
  • Our Elves Are Different
  • People of Hair Color: Played with. Blonds are considered a separate ethnicity from brunettes, but no distinction is made among darker-skinned characters.
  • Pineapple Surprise: Doc does this while possessed by the spirit of the Warbringer in Doc Sidhe; using magic to cause the grenades Blackletter's men are carrying to detonate while they are still wearing them.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: In Sidhe-Devil, Rudi Bergmonk catches the man most responsible for him being forced to kill his eldest brother. The guy tries to surrender. Rudi, a crook who's working with Doc Sidhe only in order to avenge his brother, replies, "You've mistaken me for one of the good [guys]." Bang.
  • Pun-Based Title: "Sidhe Devil" is pronounced "she-devil".
  • Raised by Orcs: Darig the Changeling was raised by Angus Powrie, who pretty muchly is an orc.
  • Reality Changing Miniature: In Sidhe Devil miniature models of a city are used to cast spells that effect the real city.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: In Sidhe-Devil, Zeb Watson is upset because a mistake he made may have kept him from reducing the death toll in a terrorist attack (even further than he did). And Doc Sidhe tells him:
    "That's why I am still in this business, Zeb. The newspapers talk about the good we do. But when I dream, only the ones I failed to save come to visit me. And I think, 'Maybe next time. Maybe then I'll get everyone out. Maybe then I'll take the killer down in time.' I owe it to the ones I've failed."
  • Save Both Worlds
  • Scary Black Man: Zeb when he has his war face on.
  • Senseless Violins: The thugs who attack Doc's office in the first novel arrive at the building dressed as musicians and carrying instrument cases
  • Starbucks Skin Scale: Ish has 'coffee-with-cream' skin.
  • Stray Shots Strike Nothing: At the summoning circle in Central Park, Harris Greene intentionally shoots at the ground rather than at the oncoming goons because any misses would be raining down on the museum.
  • Technopath: Gaby
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Subverted with Duncan Blackletter's death. Doc feels this way. The others really don't, and go to great lengths to stop him.
  • Two-Fisted Tales
  • Uncoffee: Xioc. (It's unsweetened cocoa.)
  • Up the Real Rabbit Hole: There's a moment in Sidhe Devil when the main viewpoint character, Zeb, apologizes to Doc for having taken the attitude that the fair world was "Less real than where I come from." He's changed his view after failing to completely prevent a terrorist attack; a little girl died of her injuries as he was carrying her to a doctor. Now It's Personal.
  • We Help the Helpless: What the Sidhe Foundation does.
  • Zeppelins from Another World


Raise the Titanic!Adventure LiteratureDoc Savage
Ian McDonaldDiesel PunkDestroyermen
Djinn RummyLiterature of the 1990sDoctor Who Missing Adventures
Djinn RummyFantasy LiteratureDoctrine of Labyrinths

alternative title(s): Doc Sidhe
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