Literary Techniques

De Camp has been writing adventure stories for seventy years, and his is a sure hand at constructing a tale that will capture one's interest and that will entertain. Typically, his stories do not take themselves seriously; they are leavened with humor. In "The Satanic Illusion," Rivers's witty asides, made in his Australian dialect, usually focus on observations of human nature and remind one that the story is meant more to be fun than a serious social commentary.

The structure of the story is that of the quest. A goal is stated early in the story, and then like Odysseus, the characters travel from place to place—in this case time to time—and have adventures related to the exotic locales they discover. This is a comfortable format, familiar to most readers, in which the important aspect of "The Satanic Illusion," the interplay among characters may be emphasized without the plot being a distraction.