It’s a bit tricky to describe The Final Folly of Captain Dancy without sounding like I’m damning it with faint praise, so maybe I should say up front that I definitely enjoyed this enough to read more. Watt-Evan’s stories have a bit of an old-school vibe; it’s easy for me to imagine him as a contemporary of Fritz Leiber, Lester del Rey, or Eric Frank Russell. The stories tend to unfold in a linear and largely unsurprising fashion; in a couple of cases I wasn’t quite sure if I’d read them when they were originally published and mostly forgotten them since, or if they just felt familiar because they hewed close to genre tropes. In general, in the genre-fiction scale from familiarity to novelty, this delivers less novelty than I prefer. But the pleasures here are in the details, with a good ear for dialogue foremost, and and a careful prose style that’s at once spare and evocative second.
needs more demons? not really.