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Roger Zelazny

 
 
Reply Wed 22 Oct, 2003 07:12 am
He wrote a few really brilliant stories, and quite a few good ones. He died much too young. Some of his best works are:

1. The Amber Series
There are an infinitude of alternate universes, but they aren't all equal. Amber is the real one, and all of the others, including our own, are some kind of minor side effect. Only a select few people have the power to move among them.

2. Lord of Light
When you start this book, at first it appears that you are in ancient India, except that the whole world is like ancient India, and the Gods of the Hindu pantheon are frighteningly demonstrable. You soon realize that it is set in the distant future on an interstellar colony that barely remembers that they came from Earth, and that a group of people are using technology to make themselves appear to be Gods.

3. Doorways in the Sand
Prior to the start of the story, mankind has met a federation of alien species in deep space. We have received two artifacts of great cultural value on an exchange program with the aliens. Now, one of them, a jewel, has been stolen, and a college student finds himself in the middle of some very strange interstellar political intrigue.

Has anyone read Zelazny? Share your thoughts.
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Turner 727
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Oct, 2003 09:29 am
I didn't know he died. . . haven't read him in a long time. i know I've read a lot of his stuff, but the only titles I can recall are the Amber series. . . brilliantly written. Or so I thought as a high school student many years ago.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Oct, 2003 09:45 am
I read one of his books decades ago, and I believe it was "Lord of Light". My impression at the time was that it was somewhat hard to follow, and never tried another. If I were to read it now, I might change my mind.
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 May, 2004 12:43 pm
He wrote a less well known novel called "Roadmarks". Excellent and easy to read. Smile

Inside Flap Copy
ALA BOOKLIST
"The Road runs from the unimaginable past to the far future, and those who travel it have access to the turnoffs leading to all times and places--even to the alternate time-streams of histories that never happened. Why the Dragons of Bel'kwinith made the Road--or who they are--no one knows. But the Road has always been there and for those who know how to find it, it always will be!"
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Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Thu 24 Jun, 2004 11:57 pm
Re: Roger Zelazny
Brandon9000 wrote:
He wrote a few really brilliant stories, and quite a few good ones. He died much too young. Some of his best works are:

1. The Amber Series
There are an infinitude of alternate universes, but they aren't all equal. Amber is the real one, and all of the others, including our own, are some kind of minor side effect. Only a select few people have the power to move among them.

2. Lord of Light
When you start this book, at first it appears that you are in ancient India, except that the whole world is like ancient India, and the Gods of the Hindu pantheon are frighteningly demonstrable. You soon realize that it is set in the distant future on an interstellar colony that barely remembers that they came from Earth, and that a group of people are using technology to make themselves appear to be Gods.

3. Doorways in the Sand
Prior to the start of the story, mankind has met a federation of alien species in deep space. We have received two artifacts of great cultural value on an exchange program with the aliens. Now, one of them, a jewel, has been stolen, and a college student finds himself in the middle of some very strange interstellar political intrigue.

Has anyone read Zelazny? Share your thoughts.


Love him. Lyrical and yet anchored by a potboiler sense of narrative.

Lord of Light, my favorite.

The Amber series faded over time.

I think that his best was behind him when he died.
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Brandon9000
 
  0  
Reply Fri 25 Jun, 2004 08:30 am
Yes, the books of his later years, while still very good by the standards of most writers, seemed to be somewhat less personal, as though he had lost interest. He produced some real classics, though. In addition to the ones I mentioned in my original post, "Jack of Shadows" was quite interesting, and I loved his short story, "For a Breath I Tarry."
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Jun, 2004 09:04 am
I first came across Zelazny 40 years ago, through "A Rose for Ecclesates", a short story which appeared in one of the SF pulps. He followed that up with a novellette, "The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth", a longer piece which was serialized. I don't remember which pulp it was, but I remember being impatient each month to see the next installment. "Lord of Light" kept me imterested too, but ... and I know this may strike the Zelazny fans as heresey ... the "Anber" series disappointed me and lost my interest. I pretty much agree his better work was his earlier stuff. I think he, as so many, changed from storyteller to Author; he became, to my mind, far more concerned with the craft than the art. Asimov, for instance, or Bradbury, always retained the wonder of the storyteller, I think. None of that is to say Zelazny was not a giant, and a shaper ... just that I think he peaked long before his untimely demise.

Sorta wish I'd kept all those old pulps ... the cover art was amazing, and some damned good stories; lots of "first efforts" from folks who went on to become icons of the genre, and other great stories that were unfortunately "one-offs" from folks who never went anywhere thereafter.
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Brandon9000
 
  0  
Reply Fri 25 Jun, 2004 09:16 am
timberlandko wrote:
I first came across Zelazny 40 years ago, through "A Rose for Ecclesates", a short story which appeared in one of the SF pulps. He followed that up with a novellette, "The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth", a longer piece which was serialized. I don't remember which pulp it was, but I remember being impatient each month to see the next installment. "Lord of Light" kept me imterested too, but ... and I know this may strike the Zelazny fans as heresey ... the "Anber" series disappointed me and lost my interest. I pretty much agree his better work was his earlier stuff. I think he, as so many, changed from storyteller to Author; he became, to my mind, far more concerned with the craft than the art. Asimov, for instance, or Bradbury, always retained the wonder of the storyteller, I think. None of that is to say Zelazny was not a giant, and a shaper ... just that I think he peaked long before his untimely demise.

Sorta wish I'd kept all those old pulps ... the cover art was amazing, and some damned good stories; lots of "first efforts" from folks who went on to become icons of the genre, and other great stories that were unfortunately "one-offs" from folks who never went anywhere thereafter.

A fascinating post. My only area of disagreement is that I loved the first four of the Amber novels, although I agree that they went downhill from there. Still, I think he had more raw talent then I've ever seen in anyone else, or close to it.
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Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Sat 26 Jun, 2004 02:07 pm
timberlandko wrote:
I think he, as so many, changed from storyteller to Author; he became, to my mind, far more concerned with the craft than the art. Asimov, for instance, or Bradbury, always retained the wonder of the storyteller, I think. None of that is to say Zelazny was not a giant, and a shaper ... just that I think he peaked long before his untimely demise.


I know what you mean, but I'm not sure it's entirely true. Take "Creatures of Light and Darkness" for example. It was first published in 1969 which places it in a particular period of experimentation in American literature that produced works by Thomas Pynchon, Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut.

I don't mean to be condescending, but many readers of more traditional sci-fi have had difficulty with "Creatures of Light and Darkness," and rate it low on the list Zelazny works.

It is a difficult book to follow due to the experimental style Zelazny employs but it has, I think, all of the other merits of his more accessible books.

It seems to me that Zelazny was always quite interested in the craft of writing, I just think that he lost, in later years, whatever the spark was that made his earlier works so special. Maybe his imagination ran low, or his personal life became too content.

With Amber, its pretty clear (at least to me) that he had embarked upon a journey with very little knowledge of the destination or the places he might visit along the way. Many authors claim this is the case for them when they begin a book and that it works out just fine, but I'm not sure such is the case when the work is a long series of books (particularly if the series becomes a relied upon source of consistent revenue). In any case, only a Zelazny fanatic would rate the latter Amber novels as highly as the first few, and the first turned out to be the best of them all.

I don't know that I ever read a Zelazny book (and I believe I've read them all) that I didn't enjoy, but there have been a lot that I found disappointing if only because they didn't match the earlier works.

"Isle of The Dead" was another one I enjoyed quite a bit, as was "Jack of Shadows" mentioned by Brandon, and also a bit more experimental than most of the others - with the exception of "Creatures of Light And Darkness."
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Brandon9000
 
  0  
Reply Sat 26 Jun, 2004 03:24 pm
Finn d'Abuzz wrote:
Take "Creatures of Light and Darkness" for example. It was first published in 1969 which places it in a particular period of experimentation in American literature that produced works by Thomas Pynchon, Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut....

I am not sure whether you know this, but "Creatures of Light and Darkness" was never intended to be published. It was intended only as warm-up exercise for "Lord of Light," but Zelazny finally used the manuscript to appease a begging publisher.
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Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Sat 26 Jun, 2004 08:21 pm
Brandon9000 wrote:

I am not sure whether you know this, but "Creatures of Light and Darkness" was never intended to be published. It was intended only as warm-up exercise for "Lord of Light," but Zelazny finally used the manuscript to appease a begging publisher.


I didn't, although I don't know that it now causes me to rethink anything I wrote.
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Moishe3rd
 
  2  
Reply Sat 10 Jul, 2004 10:55 pm
Lord of Light is one of the great classics of science fiction that does not get the recognition it deserves.
Agreed that Amber was great in the beginning and then, well who cares what Dworkin's Great Aunt's Third Cousin's Ghost did to Brandon's reincarnated Goldfish while in an alternate reality to the alternate reality?
I actually enjoyed Creatures of Light and Darkness. A lot. More than most of the rest of his writings, none of which stayed with me the way that these three works did.
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Brandon9000
 
  0  
Reply Sun 22 Aug, 2004 03:23 am
Moishe3rd wrote:
Lord of Light is one of the great classics of science fiction that does not get the recognition it deserves.
Agreed that Amber was great in the beginning and then, well who cares what Dworkin's Great Aunt's Third Cousin's Ghost did to Brandon's reincarnated Goldfish while in an alternate reality to the alternate reality?
I actually enjoyed Creatures of Light and Darkness. A lot. More than most of the rest of his writings, none of which stayed with me the way that these three works did.

"Doorways in the Sand," and "My Name is Legion" were good. "Jack of Shadows" was dark, but good. He had a few good short stories, such as, "For a Breath I Tarry."
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Brandon9000
 
  0  
Reply Sun 19 Sep, 2004 11:48 am
Zelazny's narrative and dialogue were very clever. From "Sign of the Unicorn," a fragment of Fiona's explanation of why she rules out everyone but her brother Julian for a crime. This is her explanation of why none of the sisters could be guilty:

"....Of us more delicate sorts, Flora hasn't the brains, Deirdre lacks the guts, Llewella hasn't the motivations, as she is happy elsewhere but never here, and I, of course, am innocent of all but malice."
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twistedcloud
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2004 09:01 am
Zelazny.
Hi all, I'm a bit new to this game having bought the great book of amber only last week, though I'm now onto the second book in the second series and I think it's absolutely fantastic.
I only found out about the guy as he was recommended to me by another author, Catherine Webb who wrote Mirror Dreams, Mirror Wakes, Waywalkers and Timekeepers. They're all very much worth the read and you can see some of Zelazny's influences running through them.

Very Happy
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sublime1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Sep, 2004 08:22 pm
Thanks for the insight into Zelazny, I have had Doorways in the Sand for a while. Picked it up in a bulk buy at a street fest. Never got around to reading it but am going to start it tonight.

Welcome to A2K twisted Smile
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Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jan, 2017 05:37 am
After reading them in the late 1970s, I have never been able to get the Amber series or "Lord of Light" out of my mind. Personally, I think that "Lord of Light" is one of the greatest books ever written. File under the category of books that changed me permanently.
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izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Jan, 2017 06:16 am
I read the Amber books when I was a teenager, along with some short stories. I quite liked them, but I wouldn't say they were in anyway a deal changer in terms of literature. There are far better SF writers out there, Aldiss, Moorcock, Dick, and of course William Burroughs.
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