Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Sensible Man

A recurring character type who (often as viewpoint character) comfortingly embodies rationality and common sense – but may therefore attract some irony when uncommon sense rules. Watson in the Sherlock Holmes sequence is a determined SM, steadfast but unable to follow Holmes's leaps of genius. The SM hero of Hope Mirrlees's Lud-in-the-Mist (1926) is guyed and disgraced by anarchic forces of Faerie, but wins through by doggedly insisting on what is right, even to the brink of death. In Duo sequences like Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, the SM role can alternate as one partner balances the other's feyness or excess; Club-Story narrators like Lord Dunsany's Jorkens affect a stolid SM persona as ballast for their outrageous Tall Tales. The eponymous SM in Joanna Russ's "The Man Who Could Not See Devils" (1970) has no Perception of and thus no vulnerability to omnipresent Demons and Ghosts – a harbinger of Thinning. Stephen Donaldson's Covenant in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever is a kind of Parody of the SM, forced by the rules of his own existence into a shocking rejection of the Secondary World's very reality. [DRL]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.