Spectral Shadows is a life long project of author Perri Rhoades. Originally conceived in the 1970's as a series of rock operas, it was later worked on as a novel series and is currently being serialized on LiveJournal.
The project reflects the author's love of multiple unrelated genres which are freely mixed in ways previously thought impossible to be combined. It also reflects the author's interest in Funny Animals and serious allegorical animal literature in the traditions of Watership Down and Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
Perri defies convention by combining allegorical animals stories with science fiction, Gothic literature, detective stories, and pop culture references, among many other things. The author prides the project on it's ability to easily adapt itself to any genre of fiction, as well as to address any socially relevant issue.
The story starts out in deceptively familiar territory, following the early lives of a pair of wild deer in what seems an ordinary forest, until it is gradually revealed that this forest is on another planet, in a completely different universe, which has certain similarities to the universe we know, but is not necessarily bound by the same laws or expectations.
Several alternating plots then start to unwind that take the reader into territories as far ranged as Watership Down, Dark Shadows, Doctor Who and Star Wars, demonstrating that the common deer fawns the story began with are not common at all, but the heirs of a scientific and spiritual legacy that enables them to travel through time, alter their forms, and confront the deities of their universe face to face.
Throughout the series, the main protagonists journey to many varied times, planets and dimensions of reality, each providing an opportunity for some controversial idea or concept to be explored, each character in his or her own way striving for their own particular concept of a happy ending, but having no guarantee that their desires will be fulfilled before the end of the series.
The extended concept of Spectral Shadows is that it was the plot of an Old Time Radio serial produced by the character Perry Rhoades during the 1940's and 50's, which was sponsored by Holdsworth Department Stores. The radio show ended a year before the department store chain folded, after which the transcriptions of the radio show held by the Holdsworth company were lost, and only a few odd episodes of the series were available to Old Time Radio collectors. From time to time episodes are found from other sources, and the LiveJournal site reflects the episodes which have been found and made available to the public.
See the complete article on the Old Time Radio concept in Perri Rhoades' personal journal here.
The current status of the site shows Serial 1 incomplete, but followable without the missing episodes. A handful of episodes available from Serial 2 & Serial 4. And nearly 200 episodes available from Serial 11, with a series of collected fragments from Serial 10 having been promised by a private collector, but not yet delivered.
See the index page of the Spectral Shadows web site for a complete list of available episodes here.
- The series title is a parody of the gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows. The word "Spectral" alludes to the album Spectral Mornings by Steve Hackett. The two together are meant to suggest an early 1970's soap opera with a Progressive Rock soundtrack.
- Part of the idea for making Spectral Shadows an Old Time Radio concept was inspired by George Lucas' use of old time movie serials in the formatting of Star Wars.
- The serial contains innumerable references to anything the author has been a fan of, form Anime to Progressive Rock. These references range from Serial and Episode titles to character names to even lines of dialogue at times.