Charles de Lint's Newford Wiki

Christy Riddell — a frequent supporting character and sometimes lead or co-lead in the Newford series.

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Human, Author

Books & Stories Appears In[]

Description / Bio[]

Christy's a writer, a collector of odd tales and urban legends, a man who collects without truly believing. He collects stories of strange things and re-writes them in short story collections. He once was the lover of Tallulah, who was the spirit of the city. He now lives with his girlfriend Saskia Madding. ~ Characters One of the Newford art scene


One of the Newford art scene.


Personality / Character[]

  • Head full of sudden fancies
  • He's willing to suspend disbelief until whatever he's considering has been thoroughly debunked to his satisfaction.
  • He loves to talk.
  • Christy is skeptical about the supernatural, but also very curious.
  • Loves writing about Newford (city) and his girlfriend Saskia, knows that neither will ever be anything other than magic. ~ The Very Best of Charles de Lint
  • “Remember your Shakespeare, ‘This fellow’s wise enough to play the fool.’ Did youever think that perhaps their studied eccentricity protects them from sharper ridicule?” ~ Meran about Christy and Bramley


Writer / Author

✥ Riddell made a living of retelling the odd stories that lie just under the skin of any large city.

Theory: Consensual Reality[]

It’s where everything that we see around us only exists because we all agree it does. "Lucid dreaming" is kind of like that. If everyone in the dream agrees that what’s around them is real, then why shouldn’t it be. ~ "The Moon Is Drowning While I Sleep" — Dreams Underfoot

Physical Description[]

Reed-thin Scot, his hair was like an unruly hedgerow nest.


Other Details[]

  • good at dancing
  • "The Man With the Monkey": Christy's story of stolen apple that was withered and moldy in Old City but became solid gold when it was brought above ground. The man who’d stolen itfrom the Skookin was found in little pieces scattered all over Fitzhenry Park.
  • Christy has "lucid dreaming" as he calls it, a kind of serial dreaming— you know you’re dreaming, when you’re dreaming, and have some kind of control over what happens in the dream. ~ "The Moon is Drowning While I Sleep", Dreams Underfoot
  • Invented the name "Skookin" for the goblin-like creatures living underground in Old City—a word he’d stolen from old Scots which meaning variously, ugly, furtive and sullen.
  • Places Christy writes: park bench, the counter of some all-night diner, the stoop of St.Paul’s Cathedral, the doorway of a closed junk shop on Grasso Street

Christy Ridell's Books and Stories the he Authored[]

  • How to Make the Wind Blow:
    • "How to Make the Wind Blow" (title story)
    • "Raw Eggs"
    • "Uncle Dobbin's Parrot Fair"
  • Underhill and Deeper Still: (collection of urban legends of Old City) ("Stone Drum")
    • "The Man With the Monkey"
  • Books and Short Stories:
  • The Red Crow
  • Ordinary Ghosts, Hidden Hauntings
  • Fairy Myths of North America:
    • "Spirits In The Wires"

About Christy's Stories[]

Underhill and Deeper Still, a short story collection by Christy Riddell: urban legends of Old City and other subterranean fancies bands of ill-mannered goblin-like creatures that Riddell called "Skookin"—a word he’d stolen from old Scots which meant, variously, ugly, furtive and sullen.

Albino crocodile subway conductors, schools of dog-sized intelligent goldfish in the sewers, mutant ratdebating societies and the like. ~ "Stone Drum"

History / Background[]

Christy is a short story writer who is brothers with Geordie. They had a third brother, Patrick, who hung himself in prison. ~ Characters

Connections (characters, places)[]

Name What Connection Story About
Bramley Dapple art prof, Butler Univ Good friends most stories if one, there's the other usually offers information and advice; manservant: Goon
Geordie Riddell human, fiddler brother see pg they typically do not get along;
Jilly Coppercorn Human among Jilly's friends see pg
Saskia Madding Avatar girlfriend Spirits in the Wire Christy lives with her; Born in the Wordwood
Tallulah spirit of the city former lover "Tallulah" (DU), "Saskia" (MaV)
Ellen Brady human woman fan of Christy's writing Uncle Dobbin's Parrot Fair; Ellen reads from his book; danced with him once;
Katie Deren believer in odd things former girlfriend; "Tallulah" (DU), got Christy to use notebooks
Market in Lower Crowsea Old world area Christy writes there "Tallulah" (DU), Old World magic
Kickaha River river ran past the Market "Tallulah" (DU) ran by Christy's bench
Fitzhenry Park park took Christy there "Tallulah" (DU) made love here
St.Paul’s Cathedral Cathedral writing spot "Tallulah" (DU) Christy writes on the stoop
The Harp Irish-owned inn
Sophie Etoile half faerie asks about dreaming "The Moon Is Drowning While I Sleep" asks if lucid dreaming real

Events in the Books (spoiler area)[]

✥ "Uncle Dobbin's Parrot Fair" (1987): Ellen Brady reads from Christy's books and recalls the times she's danced with him and the things he's told her. All of these things seem to meld with the current events of her life.

✥ "The Stone Drum" (1989) Christy had written about the Skookins in his book—he made up the name for them. His stories in Underhill and Deeper Still are urban legends written about Old City. One of his stories tells of how the skooking ripped apart a man in Fitzhenry Park for taking a withered apple. Which is a warning to Jilly that she must return the Stone Drum she took. Jilly is reluctant to believe until Pumpkin-headed creatures start following her. Meran Kelledy thinks his name for them is funny, thinking he refers to Bodachs—until she meets them and realizes they are not the same creatures and the name fits well.

Mentions only: "That Explains Poland", "Winter Was Hard", "Tree of Tales", "Conjure Man", "Paperjack":

"The Moon is Drowning While I Sleep"Sophie Etoile goes to Christy's house to ask about lucid dreaming—is it real, the places and the people you meet there. He tells there that it's probably the same like with consensual reality—if everyone in the dream agrees that what’s around them is real, then it should be.

"Tallulah": One night while sitting in his favorite spot on a bench in the Market in Lower Crowsea by the Kickaha River, where he likes to write his stories—a woman strode out of the shadows in leather jacket and jeans and a hard edge to her features. She seemed like a ghost but she wasn't. Christy could not tell what she was and found he didn't care. They'd talk of hours and wander the city by night. One night making love in Fitzhenry Park, another in under the Kelly Street Bridge. Christy has stopped writing during this time. He's also found that he's more open and easygoing with friends than before. He knows that's because of her. It's the same for her as well—her hard edge has softened. Professor Bramley Dapple, one of his closest friends, thinks Christy's in love because he's not bringing him manuscripts. The next meeting Tallulah says she is going away and won't see him anymore because the city is changing. the mean spirit is growing—and she doesn't want him to see how she will change. The next morning he is alone. In the time that follows, he thinks he senses her in the little pieces of the city: in the brick buildings, the cab lights at 3am, a siren in the night, a bag lady shuffling, a dark-eyed cat. She's all around him, but he can't find her. — Dreams Underfoot


✤ "The wise man isn’t half sotrusted as the fool” ~ "How to Make the Wind Blow"
“Christy is a lovely man,” Jilly said, “but sometimes he’s far more concerned with how he says athing, rather than with the story itself.” ~ Jilly Coppercorn — "Conjure Man" — Dreams Underfoot
✤ "...that’s the magic of names, isn’t it? That the complex, contradictory individuals we are can be called up complete and whole in another mind through the simple sorcery of a name. And connected to the complete person we call up in our mind with the alchemy of their name comes all the baggage of memory: times you were together, the music you listened to this morning or that night, conversation and jokes and private moments—all the good and bad times you’ve shared." ~ Christy thinking — "Tallulah" (1991) — Dreams Underfoot
✤ The funny thing is, he’s one of the most pragmatic people I know. For all the enchantment he can call up out of that old Czech fiddle of his, I’m the one with the fey streak in our family. ~ Christy about Geordie — "Tallulah" (1991) Dreams Underfoot
✤ As far as I’m concerned, the only difference between fact and what most people call fiction is about fifteen pages in the dictionary. ~ Christy — "Tallulah" (1991) Dreams Underfoot
✤ I’ve got such an open mind that Geordie says I’ve got a hole in it. ~ Christy — "Tallulah"
✤ I have this fantasy that it’s still not too late; that we can still drive that mean spirit away and keep it atbay. The city would be a better place to live in if we could and I think we owe it to her. I’m doing mypart. I write about her. ~ Christy — "Tallulah"
✤ "Doesn’t that bother you?” she asked.
   “Does what bother me?”
   “That perhaps what you’re putting down on paper doesn’t belong to you.”
    “Does it ever?” I replied. “Isn’t the very act of creation made up of setting a piece of yourself free?”
   “What happens when there’s no more pieces left?”
   “That’s what makes it special—I don’t think you ever run out of the creative spark.    Just doing it, replenishes the well. The more I work, the more ideas come to me. Whether they come from my subconscious or some outside source, isn’t really relevant. What is relevant is what I put into it.”
   “Even when it seems to write itself?”
   “Maybe especially so.” ~ "Tallulah", Dreams Underfoot

See Also[]

External links[]

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