This is the first guide to the works of this well-known SF writer. When Roger Zelazny exploded on the science fiction in 1962, it was not with a whimper, but a bang. The fallout was a shower of simile, symbol, and allusion. Images fresh and new burst in fields of variegated color. Rich tapestries full of mythic characters and beasts unfolded in poetic excapes from reality-This is the first guide to the works of this well-known SF writer. When Roger Zelazny exploded on the science fiction in 1962, it was not with a whimper, but a bang. The fallout was a shower of simile, symbol, and allusion. Images fresh and new burst in fields of variegated color. Rich tapestries full of mythic characters and beasts unfolded in poetic excapes from reality-and always with great style. Yoke, a close friend of Zelazny's since they shared a desk in the first grade, here delineates the author's work, from his very first explorations of fantasy through such classics as Lord of Light, Home is the Hangman, and the magestic Amber series....
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Roger Zelazny Reviews
Finally, a truly impressive and decently comprehensive collection of essays discussing Zelazny's best works. (more review coming soon)
http://nhw.livejournal.com/635436.html[return][return]This is easily as good as the other two and a half books I've read about Zelazny (by Theodore Krulik, Jane Lindskold, and a much shorter effort also by Yoke) put together. Unfortunately it was written in 1977, less than halfway through Zelazny's writing career, which was cut short so prematurely. Fortunately, it still covers what are generally considered to be Zelazny's best works. There is a chapter each on "A Rose for Ecclesiastes", This Immortal, "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth", The Dream Master, Lord of Light, "Home is the Hangman" (and the other two stories in that series), and the first five Amber books. Each of these is about ten pages long; I see that Yoke is an associate professor of English at Kent State University, so perhaps that explains why they read a bit like notes for a lecture course.[return][return]I found Yoke's exploration of the layers of myth and meaning behind Zelazny's early great work very enlightening. The most densely packed chapter is the one on The Dream Master and the Arthurian mythos. The most interesting, for me, was the one on "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth", exploring its parallels with the Book of Job. It was also interesting to have flagged up front the recurring symbolism of the rose in "A Rose for Ecclesiastes" and the Amber books, and other uses of dance, water, and rings. And I found his explanation of Zelazny's themes of form vs chaos, maturation and heroism, very convincing.[return][return]Having said that this is the best book I have found about Zelazny, there is surely scope for a better one. The prose is sometimes repetitive, and occasionally mises obvious points - for instance, while I am persuaded that it is important that Render, the name of the hero of The Dream Master, means "to represent or depict", surely it's also important that the word can additionally mean "one who tears apart"? Several chapters rely too heavily on a single authoritative theoretical source (Peters' Rilke, for instance for "A Rose for Ecclesiastes"). And I simply can't agree that Flora and Fiona are difficult to distinguish in the Amber books![return][return]Anyway, food for thought.