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1. The Dead Man's Brother
2. The Great Book of Amber: The Complete
3. Lord of Light
4. Manna From Heaven
5. Power & Light - Volume 2:
6. This Immortal
7. Sign of Chaos (Amber Series)
8. Threshold - Volume 1: The Collected
9. A Dark Traveling
10. The Man Who Loved the Faioli
11. Roger Zelazny's Shadows of Amber
12. Last Exit to Babylon - Volume
13. Auto-da-Fé
14. The Doors of His Face, the Lamps
15. This Immortal (Ace, No. 80691)
16. Changeling
17. Doorways in the Sand
18. Creatures of Light and Darkness
19. Knight of Shadows
20. Jack of Shadows

1. The Dead Man's Brother
by Roger Zelazny
Mass Market Paperback: 256 Pages (2009-01-27)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$6.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0843961155
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (12)

2-0 out of 5 stars Disapointing crime effort by SF talent
An undiscovered Zelazny novel!If you're an SF enthusiast, you long ago discovered Roger Zelazny's amazing talent.You've read Lord of Light, the Amber books, everything you could find.(check out Threshold - Volume 1: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny) So, when you run across something new, your heart races, your pulse pounds, you immediately click and order.Sure, international crime rings are not exactly the Zelazny you know and love, but the man was a genius - he could WRITE!

Sadly, The Dead Man's Brother is also not the Zelazny you know and love.While it's fun to see Zelazny in a new genre, if this book were by anyone else, you'd give up after 50 pages.It's just a bad book - awkward characters, weak plot, and none of the fluid, near-poetic prose that characterizes his other work.

Unless you're a true Zelazny completist, don't buy this book.It will only tarnish your memory of one of SF's truly phenomenal talents.Instead, re-read Isle of the Dead and go to bed happy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fine Book; A Blast from the Past for Zelazny Fans!
This is an exciting and fast 'read'; while Mr. Zelazny is well-known and honored for his Science Fiction and Fantasy works, this fast-paced 'mystery' should satisfy any Zelazny fan. A great addition to the library of any Zelazny fan, and a fine stand-alone 'read' for those not familiar with this great writer. Enjoy!

3-0 out of 5 stars Zelazny turns to crime
So, is this recently discovered thriller (written in the early 70's) by the legendary Science Fiction writer as good as his SF of the period?

Well... It shares a number of characteristics in common. There are the unmistakable attention-grabbing chapter openings and the well constructed sentences. There are the extremely, if occasional, long paragraphs such as a main character delivering plot exposition for a page and half without a break. There's the not always sympathetic character who (like the author at the time) smokes a lot -so many I was surprised he wasn't dying of lung cancer by the end of the book. There's the casual erudition and display of knowledge which is relevant to the plot -in this case Paintings (with a capital P for Art). And the purveying air of cynicism by the protagonist.

Otherwise... It's a moderately efficient thriller which wouldn't have been harmed by about 10,000 words of pruning. There's a twist which I'm sure Zelazny was neither the first nor the last to use and which I spotted early on. The story develops into something more and morally higher than it first appeared which you will have to find out for yourself as I'm not doing any spoilers here.

I had to make a little effort to keep reading early in the book but by the end was racing through it. However, the answer to the question mooted above is: no. Whatever this novel's virtues and it does possess them, Zelazny does not bring the magic apparent in his Science Fiction and I speak as someone who has just ordered the first four volumes of his complete short stories and whose favourite novel is Lord of Light. I also speak as someone who enjoys crime novels a great deal.

You aren't wasting your time buying this, and it is a nice pulp-pastiche edition from Hard Case Crime, but you aren't getting the real Roger Zelazny.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great read, especially for Zelazny fans
The late Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) wrote some of my favorite books and stories, but I must confess I'm not a fan of his later work especially his novels from the late 1980s on.

Since this book was apparently written in the early 1970s (when Zelazny was in his prime), I bought this book despite some of the so-so reviews below.It turned out to be money well spent- first of all, it's beautifully written and a page-turner (finished it in a few days).No, it's not his best novel but I enjoyed it very much, and so will you.

4-0 out of 5 stars Smartly written.
Though the plotting is a bit far fetched, The Dead Man's Brother by Roger Zelazny is an excellent example of fiction that successfully combines mystery with action-adventure.This smoothly written novel posesses style and substance that consistently acknowledge the intelligence of the reader.
Ovid Wiley is a New York art dealer with a shady past.Early on in the narrative, he's shanghaied by the CIA for the purpose of finding out what has happened to a rogue priest who has absconded with millions in Vatican money.(The CIA's interest in the Vatican's misfortune is revealed much later.)
Wiley's unwanted assignment takes him to Rome and subsequently to Brazil.Along the way, there are multiple murders and some deliciously engaging plot twists.
Hard Case Crime deserves great praise for bringing this previously unpublished gem of a novel to our attention.Highly recommended. ... Read more

2. The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10 (Chronicles of Amber)
by Roger Zelazny
Paperback: 1264 Pages (1999-12-01)
list price: US$23.99 -- used & new: US$6.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380809060
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
All ten of Roger Zelzany's classic Amber fantasy novels in one book! Join Corwin, Merlin and the others in wild adventures in the lands of Amber, Earth, and the Courts of Chaos, where the powers of Amber and Chaos constantly battle for supremacy through intrigue and adventure. Revisit Amber, the land of mystery, adventure and romance. Amber, the one true world. All other worlds, including our Earth, are merely Shadows.Amazon.com Review
Roger Zelazny's books have three things in common: a flawed hero who sometimes fails, endlessly surprising plot twists, and a blend of lyricism, literary allusions, and sly puns that makes the pages fly.The Great Book of Amber, collecting all 10 Amber novels, is vintage Zelazny.Despite some irritating typographical errors, it's invaluable for anyone who wants to read or reread the tales of Corwin and his son, Merlin.

Corwin is a prince of Amber, the "immortal city from which every other city has taken its shape." All other worlds, including Earth, are shadows of that reality. Corwin has spent centuries on Earth as an amnesiac.But when someone in the family tries to kill him there, Corwin begins a search for his past. He quickly learns that his family has some very unusual powers. They can travel between Amber, its shadows, and Chaos by manipulating reality; use magical playing cards to communicate and travel instantaneously; and are able to walk the Pattern that created Amber. Corwin regains his memory, solves the mystery ofhis father Oberon's disappearance, and fulfills his destiny--only to disappear into Chaos.

Merlin searches for Corwin and his destiny as a son of both Amber and the Courts of Chaos.His story parallels Corwin's, answering many questions about Amber, Chaos, and the next generation in the family.

Many readers have complained that the series goes on too long and the ending is disappointing.None, however, would deny that it's filled with fascinating ideas, complex characters, and action-adventure.Don't miss a chance to make up your own mind. --Nona Vero ... Read more

Customer Reviews (227)

3-0 out of 5 stars Can be heavy going
First, my positives:the ideas are very creative, the voice is interesting, and the plot can be suspenseful.

That said, I usually read about a thousand pages a week, and this edition of about 1200 pages has taken weeks.This read often becomes like trying to penetrate the "Third Veil".Zelazny relates the tales from the first person perspective of two characters (Corwin in books 1-5, and Merlin in 6-10). This can explain the thinness of the portrayal of the other characters but doesn't really excuse it.Some of the writing devices are downright tedious.You may also note numerous editing failures throughout.

Nevertheless, this is a classic (albeit dated) and would read better piecemeal, one novella of about one hundred pages followed by another author and work, returning later for the next installment.

5-0 out of 5 stars good collection
It's great to have the entire series gathered under one cover, but be warned--the book itself is huge!You'll want to prop it up on something to read it.And you probably won't be reading it in the tub.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unparalleled Imagination
No other books or series I've read are anywhere comparable to this one, in terms of creativity and orginality. I like a book that creates a new world- not the typical sci-fi future, not the world as we know it, and not a world of elves and dwarves that was original when Tolkein made it but has since been overdone. I enjoy exploring an original world- an imaginative journey that will spark my own imagination.

If you feel similarly, then The Amber Chronicles can't be beat. But if you want a grounded journey with a straightforward plot and clear explanation of events, you may be a little unsatisfied. I think the exciting journey through countless original worlds more than makes up for all the loose ends, and Zelazney's intention was probably for the reader to use their OWN imagination a little.

Unlike most reviewers, I liked the second five books with Merlin even better than the first five with Corwin. Lots of interesting characters crop up in the second half, and some of their interactions are such a delight to read. I'm dying to list some here, but it would ruin the surprise. Zelazny's characters have some of the most memorable and amusing conversations in unexpected situations. I had to stop and write down lines of dialogue sometimes because they were just so classic.

The story, worlds, and imagination are timeless and have yet to be surpassed or even lived up to. The only thing that seems dated about the series is that almost all the important characters in the first half are men, and the women are literally written off as weak and stupid, with a few exceptions that don't get much airtime. However, the second half is chock full of interesting and complicated men, women, and, well, beings (you'll see).

If you want an exciting and stimulating ride through the world of one of the greatest imaginations in fantasy writing, this is the series for you. If you like a large cast of original and intriguing characters, you won't be disappointed. And if you enjoy reading about places you've never seen and never will, but can explore thanks to Zelazny's writing, then you too will love The Amber Chronicles.

5-0 out of 5 stars Memories of Amber
I first read the Amber series over thirty years ago, as a teenager, and my tastes have changed significantly since. I did wonder whether it would seem wooden or simplistic now. Quite the reverse though, I find I can't put it down and the plot twists still hold me spellbound - fortunately I can't remember them all. A rattling good read, each book just the right length and neat breaks between them to move the overall plot along. And a good volume to put them all in, although a bit cumbersome for reading in the bath!

3-0 out of 5 stars Gradually getting worse...
I liked the first 4 books (Nine Princes of Amber, The Guns of Avalon, Sign of the Unicorn and THe Hand of Oberon), although the descriptions of the travels through Shadow are utterly boring.
But from then on books 5 thru 10 (The Courts of Chaos, Trumps of Doom, Blood of Amber, Sign of Chaos, Knight of Shadows and Prince of Chaos) the story becomes less and less credible (even for SciFi terms) and chaotic (probably because more and more Chaos persons appear) and sometimes completely boring. ... Read more

3. Lord of Light
by Roger Zelazny
Paperback: 304 Pages (2004-05-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$3.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060567236
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Earth is long since dead. On a colony planet, a band of men has gained control of technology, made themselves immortal, and now rules their world as the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Only one dares oppose them: he who was once Siddhartha and is now Mahasamatman. Binder of Demons. Lord of Light.

Amazon.com Review
In the 1960s, Roger Zelazny dazzled the SF world with what seemed to be inexhaustible talent and inventiveness. Lord of Light, his third novel, is his finest book: a science fantasy in which the intricate, colorful mechanisms of Hindu religion, capricious gods, and repeated reincarnations are wittily underpinned by technology. "For six days he had offered many kilowatts of prayer, but the static kept him from being heard On High." The gods are a starship crew who subdued a colony world; developed godlike--though often machine-enhanced--powers during successive lifetimes of mind transfer to new, cloned bodies; and now lord it over descendants of the ship's mere passengers. Their tyranny is opposed by retired god Sam, who mocks the Celestial City, introduces Buddhism to subvert Hindu dogma, allies himself with the planet's native "demons" against Heaven, fights pyrotechnic battles with bizarre troops and weapons, plays dirty with politics and poison, and dies horribly but won't stay dead. It's a huge, lumbering, magical story, told largely in flashback, full of wonderfully ornate language (and one unforgivable pun) that builds up the luminous myth of trickster Sam, Lord of Light. Essential SF reading. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

Customer Reviews (156)

3-0 out of 5 stars Loved the Amber series, this one is to complex for me.
This review is kind of hard for me to write due to the many hours I've spent on swallowing Zelazny's Amber series. I still tend to tag the Amber series as a strong contender for the best fantasy/science-fiction books that I've ever read. Anyway, as my "formal" education in the genre is fairly limited, I recently stumbled upon the "Lord of Light" at a friend's house and quickly got a lecture about this being Zelazny's best work, won many prizes and you *must* read it. So I did, I borrowed it and put it straight on top of my queue.

With great expectations come great disappointments.Following the read I found myself starting to rationalize why I didn't enjoy it. At first I thought that book is so complex and I should give him another try to see if I missed anything. Then I thought that maybe I've changed, I mean I did read the Amber books about 10-15 years ago (but I can still even enjoy Harry Potter kind of books). It might also be the case that one might need formal training in literature to appreciate what I just read.

But, in the end of the day, I just think the book is not a very good read. It does have some interesting ideas, the plot is original and appealing as it spans around Hindu gods who are basically depriving human beings from accessing or developing technology in order to keep their beneficiary life for eternity. These "gods" control and decide which body one gets when his "current" body died from natural or other causes.

However, it's really hard to keep track of what is going on, who are the characters (as there are many gods with different names that relates to them) and what moves them. The book is composed of several "sub-plots" on very large time scales that seems very disconnected from one another. Some of the stories are interesting, but as soon as one finishes you find yourself reading a chapter or two that simply does not really connects to anything else.

Its about two month since I've finished the book, and the best test is that it seems that I can remember very little of what I read, as oppose to Zelazny's "nine princes in Amber" which I pretty much remember the entire plot about 15 years after the last read.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful read!
Over the years, beginning in the late 60s I have read this book many times.It never fails to entertain me.I won't go into a critique of the work.Just read it yourself and make up your own mind.I've invited some friends to read the work and can judge their types of personalities from their comments.Try it yourself and see what you decide.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very different
A good read.Believable world set in the future with a very different premise.

5-0 out of 5 stars Zelazny's Citizen Kane
I've owned at least a half-dozen copies of "Lord of Light" since I first read it as a tenth-grader in '71. I lend them out and then I have to buy a new one when I want to read it again. The blending of science fiction and Hindu lore, stirred with Zelazny's imagery and sense of humor (not counting that pun) was a heady concoction for my young mind.I'm not going to waste your time describing the plot - you can read about it right underneath the prices - I'm just going to say it is a milestone in the science fiction canon and has a permanent place in my "desert island" book list. If you've never read it, I envy you your new discovery.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great work from a wonderful author
Originally published in 1967, Lord of Light was one of the earliest and best loved novels by author Roger Zelazny.Based on a world long colonized by humans from "long lost Urath", the main theme of the book is the struggle between the denizens of Heaven, who have named themselves Brahma, Shiva, Krishna...etc. after the Hindu Pantheon, and the common man.While the struggle between man and his Gods is a well worn literary plot, here it is approached by a different angle.In Lord of Light, Heaven is located high in the mountains, much like Mount Olympus, and its residents are men descended from the crew of the Star of India, the spaceship that colonized the planet.They possess fantastic levels of technology, even allowing for their reincarnation into new and enhanced bodies.Through this power they rule the rest of the worlds as Gods, suppressing their technological levels to keep themselves in power.There are some who have spurned the power of Heaven, or been cast out, and they seek to advance man upon the world to level they feel more appropriate.The central character of the book, called by many names but best referred to as Sam, founds Buddhism as a counter movement to Hinduism and leads many forces against the gods to break their hold over the planet and accelerate man out of the dark ages.

The Author goes to great lengths to give the story the feel of myth.The book is broken down into seven chapters, each telling a different part of this saga.These chapters have brief headers that give some context to what is about to occur, as well as a quote from various Hindu/Buddhist texts.These are necessary as the chapters do not follow events in a linear fashion, which can be hard to grasp upon first read, but give better feel to the number of years that pass during the course of the novel as well as imparting that ambiguous feel that tend to travel with older texts about the gods and their dealings.

As an author, Zelazny often skirted the edge between Science Fiction and Fantasy. Known for his poetic style and engaging characters, he was considered a leading part of the New Wave of Science Fiction writers in the 1960's.Awarded many Hugo and Nebula awards for his work, he was a prolific publisher of short stories and novels up to his untimely death in 1995 at the age of 58.

As this novel is not the easiest read, I would recommend it to someone of high school age and up that also is possessed of an active and open imagination.Should you enjoy this book, as I hope you will, and seek other titles both Paingod and Other Delusions by Harlan Ellison and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick are quality titles by other New Wave Science Fiction writers.

... Read more

4. Manna From Heaven
by Roger Zelazny
Hardcover: 192 Pages (2003-11)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$23.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1592241999
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This new collection includes all five previously uncollected "Amber" stories, plus the prologue from the rare limited edition of Trumps of Doom, and 16 other fantasy and science fiction stories (including a collaboration with Harlan Ellison). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars I heart Roger Zelazny
Loved this book as I have loved many of RZ's works. Enjoyed the Amber stories greatly, and others in the book were compelling as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bits and pieces, variable... but it's *Zelazny*!
The title of this collection of short stories is very apt for those of us who long ago devoured all Roger Zelazny's novels and better-known shorts, and began looking around (in growing desperation) for our next fix. Copyright 2003, "Manna from Heaven" runs to about 240 pages and includes five (very) short stories from the Amber series, plus another 17 miscellaneous shorts ranging in length from one page to 37. There is also the brief prologue from the original edition of "Trumps of Doom" (one of the Amber series), which was previously available only in a limited edition of that book.

"Blue Horse, Dancing Mountains" briefly shows us Corwin some time after the cosmic showdown depicted in "The Courts of Chaos", when he declined the throne of Amber, engaged in an epic hellride on a sentient horse (reminiscent of Dilvish the Damned's Black). "Hall of Mirrors" carries this storyline forward a long way, with Corwin and Luke meeting in Castle Amber, only to find themselves under an enchantment and forced to duel to the death. "The Salesman's Tale" focuses on Luke, while he waits for Corwin's return and their fated clash. "The Shroudling and the Guisel" describes Merlin's unexpected meeting with an old flame (the shroudling of the title) and a virtually indestructible monster (the guisel) which has been sent to kill him. Last but not least, "Coming to a Cord" is told from the point of view of Frakir, Merlin's sentient strangling-cord, and takes up the story when Merlin's own guisel, homing in on the sorcerer who tried to assassinate him, oozes out through a mirror in Castle Amber itself. This story ends with a characteristic Zelazny aside, which serves very well to sum up the whole Amber series. "What do you think is going on, anyway?" Some horrible Wagnerian thing, I told him, full of blood, thunder, and death for us all. "Oh, the usual," Luke said. Exactly, I replied.

The other 17 stories are a mixed bag, covering a full three decades from the mid-1960s right up to Zelazny's death in 1995. The ones that impressed me most were "Come Back to the Killing Ground, Alice My Love", "Mana from Heaven", "Godson", and to some extent "The Furies" and "Kalifriki of the Thread" - although I have a feeling that I had read them all previously (with the possible exception of "Godson"). All five of those are good, solid tales written with genuine Zelazny ingenuity and flair, but for my money "Come Back to the Killing Ground..." is easily the best. A sequel to "Kalifriki of the Thread", it features a professional killer and troubleshooter who has domesticated a cosmic string. Very few writers other than Zelazny - perhaps none at all - could seamlessly combine the genres of serial murder, fantasy, detection, and science fiction so convincingly in a mere 37 pages. Those who read and appreciated "The Dream Master" may see a development of its themes in "Come Back to the Killing Ground..." "Mana from Heaven" (not a misspelling, rather a pun) is another fascinating adventure, about an undercover sorcerer who suddenly finds, when confronted by a pillar of fire, that his cover has been blown. But he doesn't know which of his colleagues wants him dead - and asking around could prove instantly fatal.

The remaining dozen stories are less satisfying, although some of them have the ring of genuine Zelazny. Others seem more like more or less tentative experiments. However, if you like Zelazny - or science fantasy and SF - you will find this book worth the investment of time and money.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just what I needed.
Hadn't read any Zelazny in years. Picked this up based on reviews, and ended up reading the first story in the book on a stool in my kitchen, as soon as I unpacked it. The foreword... I should have known what quote he was going to pull for Roger's eulogy but it still got me. You shouldn't get teary from book forewords. I think it's the law or something.

3-0 out of 5 stars Hard to give a rating
In my mind I seperate this book into two sections.

The 6 Amber stories at the end of the book, I rate five stars.Any fan of the the first AND second Amber series will want to know what Zelazny had in mind following the last book of the second series.You can see his plans to possibly write a third series and where it would have headed.

The other stories, I rate two stars.I enjoyed the first two stories "Godson" and "Manna From Heaven", but after that I found the most of remaining stories very weak and unenjoyable.But your milage may vary.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection
This is an amazing collection.If you're an Amber fan, it's a must-see for the collected short stories, finally in one place.If you've ever enjoyed anything R.Z. wrote, such as Night in the Lonesome October, there's plenty more for you to enjoy here. ... Read more

5. Power & Light - Volume 2: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny
by Roger Zelazny
Hardcover: 576 Pages (2009-02-14)
list price: US$29.00 -- used & new: US$27.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1886778779
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
The second in a six-volume series, Volume 2: Power & Light covers the mid 1960s, Zelazny's most prolific period, where he continued to incorporate mainstream literary qualities and added a wealth of mythological elements into powerful stories such as "The Furies," "For a Breath I Tarry," "This Moment of the Storm," "Comes Now the Power," "Auto-Da-Fé," and the Hugo-winning novel ...And Call Me Conrad. The stories in this series are enriched by editors' notes and Zelazny's own words, taken from his many essays, describing why he wrote the stories and what he thought about them in retrospect. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The genius of Zelazny
Volume 2 of a planned 6-volume set and Zelazny is getting into his stride. This volume contains a feast of brilliant Zelazny fiction. Of particular note is the shorter magazine version of This Immortal as And Call Me Conrad, a self-contained extract from his masterpiece Lord Of Light, and other wonderful stories like The Furies, For A Breath I Tarry, the first four Dilvish stories and many more, all presented in order of publication.

Following the pattern of volume 1 are essays by his peers, Zelazny's own comments on the stories plus notes, poems, autobiographical pieces and non-fiction writings.

This beautifully and meticulously produced series is an essential purchase for any fan of Science Fiction.

5-0 out of 5 stars A 'must' for any serious, definitive science fiction library
Any definitive science fiction library needs the 4-volume series of collected stories by Roger Zelazny. These include every short story and poem written by Zelazny, including all of his award-winning nominations and stories. Volume 1, THRESHOLD covers early years through the mid-1960s with such works as 'The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth'. Volume 2, POWER & LIGHT covers the mid-1960s, his most fruitful period, and includes 'The Moment of the Storm' and his novel 'And Call Me Conrad'. Volume 3 runs from the late 1960s to the early 70s with stories such as 'Damnation Alley' and 'This Mortal Mountain'. Volume 4, LAST EXIT TO BABYLON covers the late 1970s and early 80s with works such as 'Unicorn Variations' and 'Home is the Hangman'. Edited by David C. Grubbs, Christopher Kovacs, and Ann Crimmins, these are a 'must' for any serious, definitive science fiction library charting the course of the early master authors. ... Read more

6. This Immortal
by Roger Zelazny
Paperback: 176 Pages (2008-01-25)
list price: US$11.95
Isbn: 1596870745
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Conrad Nomikos has a long, rich personal history that he'd rather not talk about and a job he'd rather not do. Escorting an alien grandee on a tour around a shattered post-nuclear war Earth is not something he relishes, especially when he becomes central to an intrigue determining Earth's future. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (33)

3-0 out of 5 stars Slings at Dawn
This isn't Zelazny's best and it still surprises me, on rereading, that it gained the Hugo Award for best novel. What this book does, however, is break the ground for his better work which was yet to come. Here we see his early efforts at a mix of SF, fantasy, and real and imaginary mythology that was to become a hallmark of much of his oeuvre. This Immortal is a slight book but it's worth reading as part of an overview of Zelazny's development as a writer.

3-0 out of 5 stars This Immortal Intersects Genres
From ISawLightningFall.com

So you're cruising Genreville, looking for something unique. You dismiss Best Seller Highway, Bodice Ripper Boulevard and Thriller Trail out of hand as too commercial. You pull through SF Junction and Western Way, Fantasy Circle and Horror Lane, but don't find anything to your liking. You drive and drive and drive until you find yourself in a section of town you aren't familiar with. The asphalt is full of potholes, the surrounding blocks underdeveloped. You stop and consult your map. Ahead is the intersection of Post Apocalyptic Drive, Space Opera Street and Mythic Parkway. You look up, and there, turning cartwheels on the corner, is Roger Zelazny's This Immortal.

You can tell Zelazny's first novel is going to be something different as soon as you're introduced to its protagonist, Conrad Nomikos. Conrad is Commissioner of the Department of Arts, Monuments and Archives for a future Earth still reeling from the ravages of nuclear war. Not only does he catalogue the planet's few remaining wonders, such as the pyramids and the Sphinx, he also gives tours of them. But he's picked up a client he'd rather not have, an extraterrestrial of the galaxy-spanning Vegan race named Cort Myshtigo. After Earth immolated itself, the Vegans took over, treating it as a vacation destination for the planet-hopping set, part day spa, part radioactive Outward Bound adventure. Myshtigo wants to pen a memoir of his travels, but a band of resistance fighters think he's up to no good and want him dead. Conrad, though, won't let a client perish, even one he doesn't like. He's had plenty of time to practice bodyguarding, having been alive for hundreds of years due to a freak mutation. In fact, he may be more than merely human.

This Immortal has the all elements of a genre gem, but its disparate parts never quite come together. One page has you reading about interplanetary travel, the next about the consequences of nuclear devastation and the next about satyrs listening to Conrad play a shepherd's pipe. The chatty dialogue proves equally disconcerting. Tossing out one-liners about a bestial mob's preferred method of cooking human flesh spoils the mood. Ditto for quips about chewing gum and chipmunks during a voodoo ceremony or discussions of cultural anthropology before a duel. You can't fault Zelazny for his breadth of vision, though, or for his fight scenes, which are cracking good. Still, readers who think this Genreville locale sounds enticing might find Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination a more satisfying read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Super Reader
Art to planetary protection.

On the butt-end that is left of Earth a man with a mutation that gives him heightened physical abilities and a lack of aging gets involved in a sneaky plot to do bad things.

Amusing, short and entertaining book with assassin teamups and confrontations, albino vampire fighters and really big smart dogs.

A rather nifty little Zelazny work, this one.

2-0 out of 5 stars Obscure Story
I didn't like this book very much. Nor did I feel any sympathy for the protagonists. An artificial alien presence, an unclear and indefinite purpose, a contrived plot. That novel seems to have been hastily written indeed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gods and demi-gods
One of Zelazny's finest, this tale continues the author's fascination with mythology and merges it with his Mike Hammer toughness and New Age Haiku style of writing. ... Read more

7. Sign of Chaos (Amber Series)
by Roger Zelazny
Paperback: 217 Pages (1991-01)
list price: US$4.99 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380896370
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Trapped beyond the Looking Glass where he is virtually unprotected, Merlin of Amber meets a host of colorful characters including the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat, and he confronts his ultimate enemy, a girlfriend returned from the grave. Reissue. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Book Eight Brings More Questions and Not Many Answers...
This book held interesting turns! There are still many questions left unanswered, but slowly more and more pieces are fitting together as being solved. Another cliffhanger of an ending, and it is hard to believe that there are only two books left!

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Merlin is trapped in a crazy version of Wonderland, which is actually, of course, just a Shadow.Some complex sorcerous shenanigans by various members of his family, ensue, as well as contact with Fiona, and stunts similar to Brand's, in the first series.

4-0 out of 5 stars Cast Of Thousands
Sign of Chaos is the critical moment when the story line (of which this is the eighth) blurs out for a while.It's not a bad book by any means, but Merlin's story is one of an ever-increasing number of people who want to either kill him or run his life for him.This book is that critical mass when there are so many characters to keep track of that small minds like this reviewer's tend to shut down.

Fittingly enough, the book starts out with Merlin and Luke trapped in the Mad Hatter's Tea Party Bar, where the previous volume left them off.A psychedelic Mickey has turned Luke into a hallucination machine and it takes both ingenuity and chemistry for Merlin to take his leave.He makes it back to Amber only to discover that he has a new, and beautiful aunt.Who just as promptly disappears, leaving Merlin once again in the clutches of an old friend.

Along the way Merlin picks up Mandor, his older brother on the Chaos side, and Jasra, who is now a 'friendly' enemy instead of a coat rack.This is about where characters and plot get so intricate that you may wish you had been keeping score from the beginning.Zelazny is merciless, captivating his readers at the same time he is confusing them.

By way of personal history, I took a several year break from the series at this point, picking up the last two volumes when the appeared in paperback.You may feel like doing the same thing, but there are only two more quick volumes to go and you will be a member of the I Love Amber club, a very exclusive group of folks.

4-0 out of 5 stars Chaos is an apt title
This book, like many in series SF, can not be read independently of the rest in the series.Its main fault is that it is frequently chaotic and can be difficult to follow, especially if it has been awhile since you read the previous stories.The protagonist, Merlin, continues his sparring with Luke, Jasra,and the Mask, and his girlfriend, Julia is back in the story, unknown to Merlin at first.Merlin's brother, Jurt, also is involved, along with multiple other extended family members.

Zelazny fans will like this, but the Amber premise is noticably tiring in this story. ... Read more

8. Threshold - Volume 1: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny
by Roger Zelazny
Hardcover: 576 Pages (2009-02-14)
list price: US$29.00 -- used & new: US$18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 188677871X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The first in a six-volume series, Volume 1: Threshold contains all of Zelazny's short works from his early years through the mid 1960s--a period of experimentation and growth that flowered into gems such as "A Rose for Ecclesiastes," "The Graveyard Heart," "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth," and "He Who Shapes." The stories in this series are enriched by editors' notes and Zelazny's own words, taken from his many essays, describing why he wrote the stories and what he thought about them in retrospect. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Rose for Ecclesiastes, And A Raspberry For The Editors
I have been a fan of Zelazny for many years, and have read perhaps half of his published short fiction, so I was thrilled at the prospect of these volumes. I own all extant volumes of The Complete Short Works of Theodore Sturgeon as well and the superb quality of the notes following those pieces are a joy that enhance the works immeasurably. Hence, I was champing at the bit awaiting my first Zelazny volume. The stories and poems, both read and new to me, were as good as I could have hoped, but the editorial notes were so puerile and insulting I had to clip that fifth star from this review. Zelazny's work is laced with allusion and refences throughout, and whereas It was nice to have the more obscure ones explained, and the many foreign language expressions he uses translated, the editors then proceed to define the simplest references as if teaching a kindergarten class. Seriously, does anyone need the word 'mausoleum' explained? Anyone who needs that level of clarification is going to be reading comic books, not classic science fiction. Almost every word of the notes that is not a definition is culled directly from the biography 'And Call Me Roger' written by one of the editors, and is CONTAINED IN THE BOOK! The result is pages upon pages of redundancy and padding. To quote Zelazny when he reviewed his early rejected work to figure what he was doing wrong:

"I was being a little too explicit, almost patronizing, in the way I explained every little detail...I decided to eliminate everything i considered condescending in my writing and to speak to the reader just as if he were a person with me in the room, who seemed to be nodding when I was saying something to him."

This line seems to have passed the editors right by without a glance, which is sad on the face of it, but the deeper truth is even worse because.... wait for it.... They have it in the book twice.

In closing, the book is a joyous journey with a brilliant writer taking his first steps into a long and diverse career, interspersed with his poetry and other essays and oddments, and absolutely worth buying despite the attempted spotlight-grabbing of the editors, who should, respectfully, stick to choosing fonts and spell-checking.

4-0 out of 5 stars Uneven mix from an SF legend
This review applies to the first 3 volumes of the set (haven't read the others yet)

Roger Zelazny deserves every bit of his status as a legendary SF&F author.At his best (which he often was - see Lord of Light), his prose verged on poetry without ever losing its readability.His short fiction (gathered in several partial collections over the years) was as good, if not better.So, running across a complete collection of his short works is as exciting to an SF fan as finding that a (more) affordable version of the [Jack] Vance Integral Edition is being published.Zelazny and Vance were not only among the top SF writers, but were two of the absolute best for those who love good writing for its own sake.

Which is why the editorial policy behind this collection (published by NESFA) is so puzzling.Curious decisions include:
- stories are not in chronological order, nor in series groups, nor in topical order.Yes, there's a general chronological sequence here, but stories are often presented out of order, for no evident reason.
- Zelazny aspired to be a poet, and there's a lot of his poetry here.Ironically, for a writer whose prose was so beautifully poetic, his actual poetry is pretty poor.The poems are scattered throughout the volumes of the collection - often topically linked with the following story.It's a little hard to argue with the editors on this - several hundred pages of poetry in one place would have seriously weakened one of the volumes in the set.And if the poetry had just been left out entirely, you'd wonder about it, and how good it must have been.
- Several excerpts from novels.Frankly, I just resent this.I HAVE the novels - they're mostly available for purchase.I bought this set for the short stories.
- One little quibble.One the inside back jacket, Michael Whelan gets as much space as Zelazny himself.Yes, he's a famous (if overrated) artist, but hey, he just did the one cover, not the six volumes of content.

Strange sequencing, etc. aside, the collection is well done.There is excellent information on publication dates and how the stories fit the various series.There are many previously unpublished (or underpublished) pieces.There are carefully collated comments from Zelazny about each story, and there are (over-) copious interpretive notes about the allusions in each story.Also, there's a nicely written biographical piece included in each volume.While they're all respectful of Zelazny's talent, they're not sycophantic in tone.There are also introductions by guest notables for each volume - some good, some that lead you to question why the editors selected people who clearly did not know Zelazny well.

Finally - the stories themselves.If you're a Zelazny fan, this collection is well worth your time.Otherwise, it's not your best introduction.Some of the underpublished (e.g. in a fanzine) stuff just isn't that good.And the strange sequencing ends up undercutting the effect of the really great stories that are also here.I'm a long time, committed Zelazny enthusiast, and by Volume 3 of the collection, I'm confident that this is NOT the collection I'd give my spouse in order to share my burning enthusiasm for Zelazny's work.If you're already a fan, though, this will satisfy your completist desires, and give you access to a lot of new work, uneven though it may be.

5-0 out of 5 stars These six volumes deserve six stars
"Threshold" is the first volume in the six-volume set of "The Collected Stories of Roger Zanny" which pulls together all of Zelazny's short works together with commentaries from friends and colleagues and biographical material tracing Zelazny's life and career.

Roger Zelazny was unquestionably one of the finest American science fiction writers of the last half of the 20th century.Delete the words "science fiction" and the statement is still true.Although widely praised are such such novels as "Lord of Light", many readers felt that his genius shone brightest in short stories, novellas, and novelettes.All of those published (and some unpublished) stories -- every one of them -- the well-known and the obscure -- are contained in this magnificent collection, with comments (often from the author) placing each work in context.The stories are arranged in approximate chronological order, with stories from the early Sixties in the first volume, "Threshold".Even at that early stage, Zelazny demonstrated an amazing mastery of his craft, his tales illuminated by language of great poetry.

While the contents themselves would be more than enough to make this collection a "must have", the physical quality of the books is an additional inducement.Each volume contains over 500 pages of superbly legible text printed on hiqh quality acid-free paper.The six volumes are linked together into a single continuity by their dust jackets which together form a single image capturing many of the themes pouring out of Zelazny's words.The set makes an extraordinary handsome addition for any bookshelf.

3-0 out of 5 stars Well written but dull
I have only heard of Zelazny's works prior to reading this collection, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect.I did have somewhat high hopes as Zelazny's works have many, many vociferous fans, thus I was quite disappointed to discover a rather pedestrian collection of stories.

His sci-fi isn't nearly as good as Asimov's, his fantasy doesn't even come close to that of Bradbury's...If the rest of what he has written is even close to what was in this collection, I suspect that I will give up on the 'Amber' collection before finishing it.

To be fair, Zelazny is a good writer, and the works do get better as he had practiced his craft.However, the best of writers need some sort of inspiration to be entertaining, and a lot of Zelazny's inspiration just didn't strike me as being particularly original...or thought provoking...or even really worth a second read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful publication
If you are going to produce a complete collection of the short stories of one of Science Fiction's greatest writers then this is the way to do it. This is the first of four volumes of a 6-book series, with the final two due to be published next year. They are printed on high quality acid-free paper with a cover by Michael Whelan with each volume progressively revealing more of one long painting packed with allusions to Zelazny's work. The spines also match up to appear as one single image which looks great on the bookshelf.

Apart from the stories, there are introductions by other writers, notes by Zelazny on each story (and poem, for they are there too), notes on the stories by the editors explaining various references, essays by Zelazny, plus a variety of other material `-curiosities'-, unclassifiable bit of Zelany writing- original publication details, biographical and autobiographical pieces. It would be churlish to criticise this book for putting too much in, though not everything will be of interest, though that point should be noticed. Although I like the poetry of Zelazny's prose, poetry itself is not something I have much interest in.

The stories.

They appear in order of publication which is not synonymous with the order in which they were written. I was amazed to learn that the story he wrote first was A Rose for Ecclesiastes but which he held back from submitting due to his being insecure about science already making the story implausible. As if that mattered! Some of the stories have never been collected before but that doesn't mean they are bad stories, rather they are minor ones in the Zelazny canon though this is not synonymous with `without interest'. A few stories in the later volumes are collaborations.

I tend to think that Zelazny works best at novelette or novella length and there are many examples of this including the original magazine versions of The Dream Master as He Who Shapes, and This Immortal as And Call Me Conrad, plus the stories which make up the My Name Is Legion sequence, and many more.
Some authors improve as they get older. Sadly, this wasn't the case with Roger Zelazny. He exploded into action in the 60's and, I'm afraid, never bettered, or even matched, his initial splendid outpourings. He maintained a high standard, of that there's no doubt, and it's arguable but plausible that his later short fiction did reach a higher level than that of his later novels which were, by the standard of his earlier works, a touch pedestrian. No matter, these stories were, are, and will remain a high watermark of Science Fiction.

This is simply an amazing work. NESFA have done the late author very proud indeed and provided a service to his many fans. The editors -David G. Grubbs, Christopher S. Kovacs, and Anne Crimmins- surely deserve some kind of recognition at the 2010 Worldcon for this labour of love.
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. ... Read more

9. A Dark Traveling
by Roger Zelazny, Lebbeus Woods
Paperback: Pages (1989-04)
list price: US$3.50 -- used & new: US$49.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0380705672
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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When a scientist learns that aliens in a parallel world are waging a secret war against the Earth, he disappears into that world and his children set out to find him. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent Light vs. Dark story
The worst thing about this story is the fact that the late author never wrote a sequal. A Dark Travelling involves a boy who gets extra-hairy during full moons, his adopted sister who is a witch, his brother who livesin a castle and the exchange student who lives with them, having beenraised as a trained assasin. They are part of a group of families whichtogether controlls the secret interdimensional commerce between parallelworlds, and who support a revolution on a Darkband... an alternate realitywhere forces of Dark have taken over. This was a fascinating novel forZelazny's younger fans, with visible influences from A Wrinkle in Time andthe Dark is Rising sequence ... Read more

10. The Man Who Loved the Faioli
by roger Zelazny
 Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-05-19)
list price: US$1.99
Asin: B003N9ARVC
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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seated on a rock, her wings of light flickering, flickering, flickering and then gone, until it appeared that a human girl was sitting there, dressed all in white and weeping, with long black tresses coiled about her waist ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great story, lousy price
This story is a moving one. Zelazny is a great writer and he captures deep feeling in this short short story.

Buy it elsewhere or read it free online by googling it. Two dollars for a story is grift. ... Read more

11. Roger Zelazny's Shadows of Amber
by John Gregory Betancourt
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2005-11-01)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$15.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1596871180
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Oberon, newly-crowned King of Amber, finds himself in the middle of deadly political machinations, as his father tries to turn him into a puppet ruler. Meanwhile, rumors abound of a "Shadow Amber" in the sea, where a distorted version of Oberon sits on an onyx throne. To make matters worse,Oberon's sister is trying to marry him off to a grasping would-be queen, at least two siblings are out for his blood, and the entire Shadow-universe is starting to unravel. What's a new king to do? Seek help from an unlikely new ally! ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars This book is a shadow of its namesake.
This book is very formulaic as another reviewer mentioned. I am a big enough fan of Amber to want even these books; but everything just seems subtly wrong.Having to get to where Book one of the original series begins must have stretched the author's skill set.And as another reveiwer mentioned there is some contradictions to the original series; this book is a shadow of its namesake.


5-0 out of 5 stars The Cosmic Soap Opera continues
I always liked the Zelazny Amber books, and I like Betancourt's books as well.One of the problems with the Zelazny books was that he failed to develop a couple of key characters.We saw plenty of Oberon in one of the Zelazny books without really finding out much about him.That's just one more reason that I enjoy the Betancourt books, where we find out quite a bit more about Oberon.

I think Betancourt came up with a good story line to explain how Oberon became King of Amber in the first place.And this book keeps our attention as we see Oberon make more of a name for himself.

As I've said before, we're all waiting for the next book!

2-0 out of 5 stars Roger Zelazny's Shadows of Amber (Amber)
This is the first book in the second trilogy (I'm assuming it will be a trilogy) written by Betancourt, set in Roger Zelazny's Amber universe.Both sets of Betancourt books are prequels to the series authored by the now-deceased Zelazny.

There are essentially four main characters that carryover from the first prequel trilogy: Oberon and his father Dworkin (who are the only characters of the Amber bloodline who graduate to the actual Zelazny series), and Oberon's siblings Freda and Connor.

I'm not an overly critical person, but this book was flat and lifeless, and fairly formulaic.Each of the three books from the first prequel trilogy beats it hands down.There are not a lot of words in this book, it's an extremely fast read.Quality of the story aside, you won't feel like you got your money's worth simply based on quantity or length of read-time.

This book picks up where the last set of books left off.The first triolgy set the stage for the creation of Amber.This series will witness the development of Castle Amber and its Kingdom under Oberon.

Presumably we will be introduced to some of the characters that Zelazny actually wrote about, and if you read his books you'll realize that means that Oberon better start having kids.I hope so, because that is the main reason people will read these books, in order to taste Zelazny's brilliance again.I don't think Betancourt can pull that off by himself, he needs some old familiar faces created by Zelazny to give his story a little bit of soul, to make the reader care about what happens.

I wasn't thrilled by the resurection of a clearly killed off character from the last book.It's too much like daytime Soap Opera plotlines.Somewhere during this series he'lll either have to kill off, or exile Oberon's remaining borthers and sisters because they are not in Zelazny's books.I'll keep reading to see what happens to them, and to learn the origins of Oberon's progeny, but I hope the next couple books are more enjoyable.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
John has held relatively true to Zelazny's Amber, while carving out his own twists and turns to the series.It is true that he has made some changes that hardcore fans dislike, however this was to be expected.The first 3 novels have kept the the feeling of "RETURNING" to the high adventure and mystery of the Amber Realm.In this fourth novel, I get the feeling that John is more comfortable in his new home.Relaxing a bit and flexing his muscles to see what the readers will and will not accept.I see an author who is only getting better with each new book. ... Read more

12. Last Exit to Babylon - Volume 4: The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny
by Roger Zelazny
Hardcover: 576 Pages (2009-07-01)
list price: US$29.00 -- used & new: US$18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1886778795
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The fourth in a six-volume series, Volume 4: Last Exit to Babylon contains Zelazny's short works from the late 1970s and early 1980s when Zelazny's popularity opened new markets for his work. He continued to produce highly-crafted stories, such as the popular "The Last Defender of Camelot," the Hugo-winning "Unicorn Variation," and the Hugo and Nebula-winning "Home is the Hangman." The stories in this series are enriched by editors' notes and Zelazny's own words, taken from his many essays, describing why he wrote the stories and what he thought about them in retrospect. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
An excellent read. If you love Zelazny's writing, this is a must-have. While much of the book is stuff I've read before, the explanations of how the stories came to be written, what Zelazny was thinking & all were just fantastic. At the end, there is a section that gave me surprise as it went through book after book with a lot of background I'd never read anywhere before about some favorite books like "Jack of Shadows" & "Changeling".

The two introductory pieces, one by Brust & the other by Joe Haldeman, were fantastic. Short, to the point & gave even more depth to Zelazny, the man.

You can certainly read this or any of the books out of order, unless you're a serious scholar of his work. I'm not, but have read them in order since that's the way I got them.

5-0 out of 5 stars How good can Science Fiction short stories get? This series has the answer and it's Roger Zelazny.
Volume 4 of the complete Roger Zelazny and we're now up to 1969 in order of publication. This time we have the My Name Is Legion sequence of stories taking up about a third of the collection with four more Dilvish stories taking up a further 80 pages. Other highlights include The Last Defender of Camelot and Unicorn Variation.

As usual for this series we have masses of extras about and by Zelazny on his life and writings with more poems and articles.

It is impossible to overstate just how good this impeccably designed and edited series of books is. At the time of writing, the final two in the series are still to be published and I'll be first in line when they are.

5-0 out of 5 stars A 'must' for any serious, definitive science fiction library
Any definitive science fiction library needs the 4-volume series of collected stories by Roger Zelazny. These include every short story and poem written by Zelazny, including all of his award-winning nominations and stories. Volume 1, THRESHOLD covers early years through the mid-1960s with such works as 'The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth'. Volume 2, POWER & LIGHT covers the mid-1960s, his most fruitful period, and includes 'The Moment of the Storm' and his novel 'And Call Me Conrad'. Volume 3 runs from the late 1960s to the early 70s with stories such as 'Damnation Alley' and 'This Mortal Mountain'. Volume 4, LAST EXIT TO BABYLON covers the late 1970s and early 80s with works such as 'Unicorn Variations' and 'Home is the Hangman'. Edited by David C. Grubbs, Christopher Kovacs, and Ann Crimmins, these are a 'must' for any serious, definitive science fiction library charting the course of the early master authors.

5-0 out of 5 stars Astonishing and delightful...
Wow...who knew Roger was so prolific? I'm in the camp of "prejudiced reader", since I've got a huge liking for good science fiction, and Roger Zelazny surpassed anything that was written during his time, both in quality of writing and genre-bending. His ability to render a character that was indelible in one's mind, and seemed to take on a life of it's own was simply thrilling. I remember attending an early science-fiction convention where Roger was a guest and he quietly, tersely read apassage from his 'new' book, concerning a planet where myth had become reality, and a death match between the true Buddha and the God of Death took place...you could have heard a pin drop. True literature, not just good science fiction. This collected volume has many gems, some quite hard to come by, and is terrific way to enjoy Roger and his many creations in small bites. I highly recommend it, as both an avid reader of science fiction, and a lover of good literature. And screw the definitions, maybe someone will benefit from them, so why not? Roger was a lover of all things arcane, including fencing (he nearly punctured my sternum once), The Cthulu Mythos (we did try to raise a demon in Baltimore, but it turned out to be just Jack Chalker, bringing snacks in from the kitchen), and I still miss him to this day.

4-0 out of 5 stars Zelazny with vocabulary lists?!
Roger Zelazny is one of my heroes.He had astonishing range and depth, and it is good to see this series being published.I chose this particular volume based on wanting to read these stories again, from this period of his work.Highly recommended.

I was astonished, though, by the pabulum lists at the end of each story explaining common words and concepts.Have we really become such an uneducated nation that the editors felt these 7th-grade-textbook-addenda were necessary to sell the books?For me, they break the mood the stories create.I doubt I will buy more of the series. ... Read more

13. Auto-da-Fé
by roger Zelazny
 Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-05-21)
list price: US$1.99
Asin: B003NHRDQQ
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Still do I remember that day, that day with its sun in the middle of the sky and the sign of Aries, burning in the blooming of the year. I recall the mincing steps of the pumpers, heads thrown back, arms waving, the white dazzles of their teeth framed with smiling lips ... Read more

14. The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth and Other Stories
by Roger Zelazny
Mass Market Paperback: 252 Pages (1974)

Asin: B0042D8F9O
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This Avon Books paperback enjoyed 5 printings through 1987. Here are strange, beautiful stories covering the full spectrum of the late Roger Zelazny's remarkable talents. Zelazny's rare ability to mix the dream-like, disturbing imagery of fantasy with the real-life hardware of science fiction is on full display. His vivid imagination and fine prose made him one of the most highly acclaimed writers in his field. Stories include: The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth (1965); The Keys to December (1966); Devil Car [Sam Murdock] (1965); A Rose for Ecclesiastes (1963);The Monster and the Maiden (1964); Collector's Fever (1964); This Mortal Mountain (1967); This Moment of the Storm (1966); The Great Slow Kings (1963); A Museum Piece (1963); Divine Madness (1966); Corrida (1968); Love is an Imaginary Number (1966); The Man Who Loved the Faioli (1967); Lucifer (1964). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Collection of Short Stories
Having finished Asimov's Foundation series recently, I was looking for a short story collection.
Check out other reviews for more in-depth comments, but you will not be disappointed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Zelazny's surreal imagery and fanciful ideas shine throughout!
At a time when there were a lot of authors with new ideas, Zelazny stood out from the crowd. It is easy to see where how some of his later ideas developed, and it's clear in some of these stories that he was writing from the heart without being the least bit sentimental. And sure, there are any number of fanciful ideas here, but it is clear that Zelazny thinks them through, and often turns them on their head as he tells his stories.

Some of the 17 stories on these pages are dated. But even after 40 years, most of them hold up remarkably well. A must read for anyone who wants to become familiar with Zelazny's early work or who simply wants to read stories that seamlessly blend science and fantasy to create beautiful little stories.

4-0 out of 5 stars Some really great short stories
I bought this book because I remembered liking the short stories in this collection when I first read them many years ago. Some are still terrific. Some are not. Still, it is Zelazny, and the good stories more than make up for the ho-hum ones.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
A lengthy as far as collections go book, including some of his famous stories. This collection has wide range from short fantasy jokes to long adventure novellas, and pretty sure to please those that like any particular aspect of Zelazny, in general, although more the fans of his SF work than fantasy I would think, as that is definitely the genre of the majority of stories here.

Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : The Doors of His Face the Lamps of His Mouth - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : The Keys to December - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : Devil Car - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : A Rose for Ecclesiastes - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : The Monster and the Maiden - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : Collector's Fever - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : This Mortal Mountain - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : This Moment of the Storm - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : The Great Slow Kings - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : A Museum Piece - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : Divine Madness - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : Corrida - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : Love Is an Imaginary Number - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : The Man Who Loved the Faioli - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : Lucifer - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : The Furies - Roger Zelazny
Door of His Face Lamps of His Mouth : The Graveyard Heart - Roger Zelazny

Big fish, or cut bait bloke.

3.5 out of 5

Cold place defense.

3 out of 5

Autokill relations decision

3.5 out of 5

Martian miscegenation mission.

4 out of 5

Sacrificial reversal.

3.5 out of 5

Pet rock?

3 out of 5

40 mile high cryocure supernatural sham defense surprise.

4 out of 5

Weather watcher's sweetheart shooting.

4 out of 5

Population expansion longevity problem.

3 out of 5

Statuary life display.

3 out of 5

Definitely sorry.

2.5 out of 5

Matador meat game.

3.5 out of 5

Change power.

3.5 out of 5

A certain type of alien likes to be with men just before they die. One man survives the experience.

3 out of 5

Lighting futility surrender.

3.5 out of 5

Pirate traitor hunter troika.

3.5 out of 5

In-crowd desire slowdown slaying.

3.5 out of 5

3.5 out of 5

4-0 out of 5 stars Ideas Galore
The story that stays with me is "Love Is An Imaginary Number." It is only 5 or 6 pages long, but it spawned at least a dozen novels!

The germ of the idea for the whole "Amber" series is here, that of the person who suddenly comes to realize his true abilities and "shifts" at will, shaping reality as he goes. The ending encapsulates "Lord Of Light" about the man who wants to give technology to the masses -- Prometheus.

"Lord of Light" has been one of my top-ten SF novels forever. ("Many kilowatts of prayer had he offered, but static kept him from being heard on high.") Yet I never saw Sam as Prometheus until now, probably because the setting is so un-Greek.

I can see it, a 600-level humanities course. "Your assignment this weekend is to read 'Nine Princes in Amber' and 'Lord of Light.'" Then on Monday, give them a 3-page handout of "Love Is An Imaginary Number" and have them compose an essay tracing the similarities and differences.

... Read more

15. This Immortal (Ace, No. 80691)
by Roger Zelazny
Paperback: 174 Pages (1966)

Asin: B000VB6DVS
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16. Changeling
by Roger Zelazny
Hardcover: 252 Pages (1980-07-01)
-- used & new: US$11.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0012WPOOC
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
A good wizard, a bad wizard, and a child, and a castle of power to be inherited.A climactic battleinvolving the former pair leads to the child being taken to Earth to survive.He grows up there, and eventually comes back and ends up battling for his heritage.

The son, Pol, approaches this from a technological background, so there is a clash of magic and technology.

4-0 out of 5 stars Read me before buying!
Before I go ahead, a caveat: This is NOT a compilation of both Changeling and Madwand. It is only Changeling. That said, you'll probably be better served buying the two from a used-book store (the good Mr. Zelazny is passed away, so I don't much care about enriching whomever owns the copyrights at this point). It's unfortunate iBooks has decided to start milking the great man's work for every dollar by no longer offering compilations of at least two novels.

This is perhaps the most fun for any fan of Zelazny to read; it lacks the density and breakneck pace of Creatures of Light and Darkness and Lord of Light or the tiresome rehashing of his later Amber books. The blend of science and technology is never done better. Hand this to a kid who thinks there's nothing in wizardry beyond Harry Potter.

3-0 out of 5 stars Zelazny lets a potential masterpiece slip away
This is a modest fantasy/adventure featuring a burgeoning sorcerer and an overachieving master of technology who have been switched at birth.Pol Det is the inheritor of Randoval, the lordly castle of a magical kingdom in another dimension, and Mark Marakson is the genius of engineering and technology.Old Mor, a wizard from the magical realm, switches these two as babies, hoping to avert a recurrence of the cataclysm that has so often ravaged his world.In the technological realm, Pol is a guitarist, a detached dreamer who never seems to fit in.In the magical world, Mark's mechanical inventions frighten and anger a community that associates science with destruction.Only the beautiful Nora seems to understand Mark's passion, skill, and frustration.Will these two young men ever discover the secret of their linked destinies?If so, will they become fast friends or mortal enemies?And what role will be played by the mysterious thief who has purloined some valuable figurines, and the hidden caverns full of sleeping dragons?

Overall, this is a modest entertainment with a fascinating setup that too-quickly deteriorates into just another tale of spells and dragons and talismans and so on.Zelazny's fiction is notable for its experiments in form as well as substance, and this book shows every promise of being much more than it finally turns out to be.He effectively defines the process used to work magic spells, he creates characters with a little more than just one flat dimension, he pits his magician against technological forces that go well past swords and catapults, and manages to surprise us more than once, but still doesn't quite deliver the kind of masterpiece we feel the story merited.We expect more from Zelazny, and we almost think we are going to get it, but around page 80 or so, he abandons subtleties like character study and opts instead for the more prosaic quest-for-powerful-weapons-to-defeat-the-bad-guy material.From that point
on this book is pretty average, almost as though the author tired of struggling to keep his story innovative and original and just went ahead with standard dragons-and-sorcerers fare.This is not to say that fantasy fans won't enjoy it; this reader's disappointment rather stems from the recognition of just how close Zelazny came to revolutionizing the whole form, before frittering the opportunity away.

3-0 out of 5 stars Zelazny in a fugue?
This mass market 'youth' novel is Zelazney writing for the kids who ride to school in the short bus. This book is so bad it is a veritable "Planet Nine From Outer Space" in print.

I don't have the adjectives to convey its insipid characters, tediously dull plot, politically correct dialog and lack of both romance and adventure. Hero and villain are not only changelings they are interchangable, even in the ennui deadened eyes of the heroine. The obligatory firebreathing dragon is a sissy!

Despite its flaws it is worth reading if for no other reason than to see what the first draft outline of a novel must look like. The outline is laid out naked without very much padding so it is very easy to see the bones and even easier to imagine what should have been done to make a story.

This book would be greatly encouraging to young writers who are themselves struggling with the muse. Zelazny must have been a very brave man to have published this and reading it would bring renewed hope to the soul of anyone who has ever received a publisher's rejection letter.

4-0 out of 5 stars A great read from a Master!
If you don't have this book find it. It's great! Everything you love about Zelazny can be found in this book. The characters and the two worlds they come from are fleshed out with amazing clarity. The only problem I had withthis book is, it's a real quick read but that really doesn't detract fromthe overall wonderousness of the story. ... Read more

17. Doorways in the Sand
by Roger Zelazny
Mass Market Paperback: 240 Pages (1991-09)
list price: US$4.50 -- used & new: US$125.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006100328X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars I'm not alone!
I've been reading these reviews, and I'm happy to see that I'm not the only one who finds enough delight in this novel to read it again.Since others have already summarized the novel so well, I won't waste words on plot, etc.I'm going to buy another copy to read and give away.I'm looking forward to an even more appreciative reading in light of other reviewers' comments.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Fun Read. Not More
Zelazny has written an intriguing Sci-Fi/detective story.
But dont expect too much. It will not blow your mind off.
The characters are flat and quite indistinguishable.
The plot itself is thin.
The "In medias res" technique is annoying after a few chapters.
The bottom line - Read it and forget it.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
The protagonist is a perpetual student, basically trying to take as many courses, and learn as many things as he can, without being forced to graduate, or get kicked out of uni.This includes basket weaving, and advanced basket weaving.

An alien artifact discovery later, and he is on the run, having adventures, not kicking back in the library or cafeteria.

4-0 out of 5 stars A lot of fun
Fred Cassidy is a university student in his 13th year. His trust fund will expire as soon as he graduates, so Cassidy periodically changes his major, so as to be enrolled full-time, but never gaining all the needed courses to graduate. His routine is interupted when several people including two aliens disguised as kangaroos come looking for a copy of an alien artifact. At least Fred thought it was a copy. Unfortunately he can't find it and the situation could escalate into an interplanetary incident.

With 'Doorways in the Sand', Roger Zelazny has written a fun and enjoyable story, full of humour and absurd situations. 3.5 stars (rounded up for Amazon)

5-0 out of 5 stars Third Gargoyle From The End
If you haven't read any Roger Zelazny it's about time you got started.He was one of the best science fiction writers of the late 20th Century, and arguably one of the great ones of any time.His scope and output are immense, and he is one of the most consistent of writers, always trying out new ideas and making them work.Doorways in the Sand was written in the same era as Lord of Light and the early Amber books and while it is not well known, it is brilliant in its own right.

Fred Cassidy has a gimmick - the terms of his scholarship guarantee that it will continue until he completes a degree.And so, for the past thirteen years Fred has managed to stay a full time student and carefully evade the conditions for graduation.Suddenly, though, his carefree lifestyle has become more complicated at a recent party a copy of the Star Stone - an interplanetary relic that has been gifted to earth as part of a diplomatic exchange -- disappears.Only it turns out that the copy isn't a copy, but the real thing.Now no one knows where it is, but it's gone, and everyone from organleggers to policemen dressed in wombat suits are chasing after Fred.

Worse, Fred keeps getting subliminal messages that may or may not be well intentioned.With the galactic future of the Earth at stake, Fred's only resource is his ability to climb anything with more than one story.Fortunately this stands him in good stead, since he must spend a good deal of his time escaping.Just ask yourself how you would feel in the grasp of a giant, telepathic slime mold.

It was a real treat to reread Doorways in the Sand after all this time.This was an era where an author could stop long enough for his characters to have a philosophical discussion and a glass of iso-whiskey.Zelazny's books are usually intelligent, and Fred's circumstances are such that only his mind and his skill at leaping tall buildings will get him out of the mess.Having delayed my graduation as long as I could as well, I find Fred highly sympathetic.And if you have ever wished that life could be one long string of research projects and beer parties you will find him a kindred soul as well. ... Read more

18. Creatures of Light and Darkness
by Roger Zelazny
Paperback: 208 Pages (2010-04-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$7.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061936456
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Two gods, two houses, one quest, and the eternal war between life and death

To save his kingdom, Anubis, Lord of the Dead, sends forth his servant on a mission of vengeance. At the same time, from The House of Life, Osiris sends forth his son, Horus, on the same mission to destroy utterly and forever The Prince Who Was a Thousand.

But neither of these superhuman warriors is prepared for the strange and harrowing world of mortal life, and The Thing That Cries in the Night may well destroy not only their worlds, but all mankind.

As Zelazny did with the Hindu pantheon in the legendary, groundbreaking classic Lord of Light, the master storyteller here breathes new life into the Egyptian gods with another dazzling tale of mythology and imagination.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

2-0 out of 5 stars I should have just gotten it from the library.
It feels a little harsh to give this book just two stars, but three stars indicates that I liked the book, and I only really liked parts of it. It's mostly the feel of the writing... kind of a prose/poetry hybrid that just doesn't work for me. It has mostly five-star reviews (at least at the time of this writing), so I'm obviously in the minority.
I'll probably donate it to either my school library, or the puplic library.

1-0 out of 5 stars Cosmic Battles Fought by Prepubescent Teenage Boys
"Creatures of Light and Darkness" starts with a wonderful first chapter that explores the metaphysical dynamics of the afterlife, chiefly: What does it mean to be alive or dead once one is no longer organic matter?

But things quickly go downhill from here as Zelazny (or his narrator) refuses to give any rhyme or reason as to why you are being introduced to new characters and themes, and what exactly they have to do with the greater story. You either get it or you don't and you'll either reread pages over and over again or just give up because there is probably something better on your bookshelf that you haven't read yet.

If you foolishly read through to the end you'll soon regret it and discover that:

Cosmic battles between gods play out like playground tussles between prepubescent teenage boys geeking-out in exposition before dueling.

Utter, epic fail.

5-0 out of 5 stars Zelazny at his most idiosyncratic
Roger Zelazny is commonly considered as one of the brightest lights of SF's 1960s "new wave" writers.Although he's best known for his works Lord of Light and the Amber series -- all fine books in their own rights -- Creatures of Light and Darkness stands out to me as perhaps his most endearing work and one which I believe reflects more of his character than any other.As with many of his other works, he subverts a historical pantheon to his own purposes, recasting many of ancient Egypt's deities as the dramatis personae of his little book.The story is short, recounting the struggles of exiled Thoth, Isis and "sun-eyed" Set against the scheming trio of Anubis, Osiris and Horus.During the course of this telling, though, we are introduced to many memorable characters such as the Prince Who Was a Thousand, Madrak the non-denominational cleric, the Steel General and his warhorse Bronze and even a renegade monster from the Greek mythos, Typhon, cast here as the incorporeal shadow of a horse.Zelazny also plays (and play is indeed the operative word, I think) with the concept of time with his invention of "temporal fugue."It is the playfulness of the writing, as well as the poetic aspect to the language used, that fuels my claim that we are seeing more of Roger Zelazny the English major and sometime poet.In this book, Zelazny delights in a well-wrought turn of phrase and turning the standard stories of the Egyptian mythos on their head (Osiris attempting the murder of Set? Horus as a petty schemer?) I can only imagine Zelazny laughing uproariously while committing this story to paper, and in turn I delight in its reading, as it tells a clever little story in a most compelling way.There is something to elicit delight on every page of this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Zelazny's Best
Gripping, hilarious, and structurally inventive by turns, this book falls in the Venn diagram overlap between Zelazny's own Lord of Light, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Proust -- while weighing in at barely more than 200 pages.Reading this book after reading Lord of Light cemented Zelazny in my mind as the greatest of the New Wave SF writers, and it's a true shame that it hasn't been in print in the US for some time.

The plot seems quite complicated but actually is not difficult to understand.However, Zelazny says many key things only once, thus rewarding close readers, while at the same time inserting entire scenes early on that do not appear relevant to the book until its final third, thus frustrating those same close readers.If you're lucky enough to find a copy, read it with joy and with Keats' negative capability, that state of being "in uncertainties, mysteries, and doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason."You'll be treated to one of the great classics of Science Fiction.

But if the above is too high-brow for you, consider the following: this book contains a cybernetic knight who strums a banjo while riding his cybernetic eight-legged warhorse through space, wears the last piece of his original body's flesh on a chain around his neck, and, at one point, destroys a planet during a temporal kung fu fight against an assassin sent by the god of death.And he's about an average cast member in terms of power level and awesomeness.You owe yourself this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Zelazny's finest work
This is a brilliant book.Although I disagree the plot is hard to follow.Basically, what we are given to imagine is a universe controlled by two forces the House of the Dead and the House of Life.The House of the Dead is ruled by the Egyptian Jackle Headed god of the Dead Annubis and the House of Life is controlled by the Egyptian god of life Osiris. These two will do whatever is in there power to keep shared rule of the universe.

As the plot gets under way we learn that there are other immortals of various power left in the universe.One of these immortals, The Prince who was 1000, is of particular threat to Osiris and Annubis.So much of a threat that Annubis trains a amnesiac man named Wakim for centuries for the sole purpose of defeating the prince.He is armed with the temporal fugue a powerful mental form of combat.At the same time Osiris is preparing his son Horus the Avenger(another Egyptian god) for the same task of defeating the Prince.

Well, to make a long story short, the Price who was 1000 turns out to be Thoth the original leader of the Egyptian Pantheon.He was Lord of the entire Universe until he was tricked by Annubis and Osiris.They unleashed an ultra powerful creature on the universe.This creature was so powerful that that Thorth had to send Set the Destroyer, the most powerful of the gods, to do direct combat with it.Set was betrayed by Annubis and Osiris and was thus unable to defeat the creature.This caused Thoth to have to spend the large majority of his power just to keep the creature chained up in a prison for all eternity.With the prince thus occupied and Set missing Annubis and Osiris take over control of the universe.

Wakim and Horus both try to kill the Prince and fail.Horus is killed by the Silver General one of the many demi-gods mentioned throught the story.Wakim is tricked into regaining his memories by the Prince.Wakim is actually the god Set.The prince gets him to remember who he is by having him don Set's old armor and weapons.Set once he regains his memories does battle with Annubis and Osiris creature and defeats it.The Prince is now free to deal with the traitorous Osiris and Annubis.They are both defeated and replaced with more loyal gods.Now obviously this is a very brief summary and I am leaving out a lot of great stuff that happens and motivations but this is basically the plot of the story and you can see its not terribly hard to follow. ... Read more

19. Knight of Shadows
by Roger Zelazny
 Hardcover: 302 Pages (2001-05)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$27.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0783892934
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Confronting his deadliest enemy in a reincarnated Julia, his former lover, Merlin of Amber is forced to choose between the Patterns of Amber and Chaos while continuing his search for his father, Corwin. Reprint. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Fun Trip into Amber
A lot happened in this installment - so much so that it is hard to believe that the next book will wrap everything up! I was quite glad that some missing characters appeared, and I am starting to like Mandor more and more. I am also very curious as to the resolution in this next book...

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Merlin is trying to work out why Julia went all Femme Fatale on him, and why the J's are out to get him.

He starts to discover there is some sort of clandestine struggle between the powers at the heart of Amber and Chaos.

4-0 out of 5 stars Why Is the Dwarf Always The Bad Guy?
Zelazny manages to break out of his own pattern for a bit and some of the fog that moved in during Sign of Chaos begins to dissipate. Caught between the maneuverings of the Pattern and the Logrus, Merlin finds himself trapped and sent on a knight's quest in which he is force to make choices that will change the balance between the two forces.Pattern ghosts haunt his passage, and Merlin is hard put to determine who is real and who is just a memory.

The key to the remaining story is the imbalance between the Courts and Amber which may unleash a series of events that threaten all of shadow.Merlin grows increasingly frustrated with the unending interference in his own life which keeps him perpetually at risk.Surrounded by arcane signs, warring wizards, and exploding castles Merlin would just like to enjoy life for a while but his efforts at hedonism simply dig him in deeper.

Knight of Shadows still follows the 'travel a bit then fight a bit' pattern, but gradually the busy field of characters is starting to make sense.With a sigh of relief the reader can relax and enjoy the twists in Merlin's adventures as more than one character performs a perfect turnabout just so we will have to keep guessing at the real villain right until the last confrontation.

4-0 out of 5 stars Flair, fantasy, humor
Bias alert. I should start this review by saying that I am not sure that Zelazny could write a bad book. Non-Zelazny fans may disagree.

Merlin is very clearly the son of Corwin. He is irreverent about the holy ghosts of Amber and Chaos. He hits his head against the rules (and sometimes even wins). Despite an overly-long sequence in a strange testing ground between shadows, Zelzany still infuses this book with the manic strangeness and humor that are part of what make him such a wonderful writer. As noted, virtually none of the Amber novels can be read stand-alone or out of sequence. You are going to have to read the books before this one to get the background. And you are going to have to read the ones after this to get an explanation. An enjoyable task, luckily.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not on par with original Amber books
Though you will not put the book down because of Mr. Zelazny'swriting style. Do not expect the normal skilled plotting and crafted characterizations of the original Amber books. This book cannot stand alone...it leaves you hanging.

Merlin, son of Corwin, who was the hero of the original series, narrates this sequence, and here continued to accidentlly make his way through encounters with new powers that are completely incompatible with the original mythos. Those who are allied with each other will not speak with each other. While their enemies somehow know everything. Most of the important action happens offstage, and promised explanations never materialize.

So I would suggest you only read this book if you are a fan of the Amber series and have read the others that come before it. ... Read more

20. Jack of Shadows
by Roger Zelazny
 Hardcover: Pages

Asin: B00128STNE
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (30)

1-0 out of 5 stars too bad the writing is crap
because I like Zelazny and his ideas. I remember being quite taken with the whole Amber concept, and I still think of it from time to time as a great literary invention. Jack of Shadows takes place at the other end, I think, in the shadows, and it concerns the adventures of Jack, a thief from the darkside who can come back after being killed (he returns from the place of the dead). Not a bad idea, but the writing is so bad that I just had to stop reading after a while. Page after page of inane dialogue, cliched, without any feel for individual characters. Scenes that are so rapidly sketched and disposed of that if you blink they're gone. There are a few pages on how Jack gets a key of great power that helps him return to the dark side and rule. All you get from the book is that he spent lots of time on the computer, analyzing stuff, and then he got it, and off he went. No more information than that. All in all, I feel that Zelazny's mind is an interesting place; he would be great if he worked together with someone who can write.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful Surprise!
Having been a fan of Zelazny's Amber series I picked up a number of his shorter novels to pass the time.Jack of Shadows was a truly pleasant surprise and a joy to read.

The story's hero Jack could learn a thing or two from the old saying "Power corrupts & absolute Power corrupts absolutely".

In his quest for vengence against those who stole his love & his life (well one of them anyway) he becomes worse than those villans he hates.He knows only destruction until he comes face to face with his own soul.Will he restore the world or destroy it?You'll have to read it to find out what happens.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
Short and minor Zelazny.

An ok science fantasy novel is about what this is.

A world with a bit of a star problem, as one side is always light - the science part, and one always dark, the shadow part.

The protagonist is an immortal antihero who talks to his own disembodied soul, and even goes all soliloquoy at one point :

""I am Jack of Shadows!" he cried out. "Lord of Shadow Guard!I am Shadowjack, the thief whowalks in silence and in shadows! I was beheaded in Igles and rose again from the Dung Pits of Glyve. I drank the blood of a vampire and ate a stone. I am the breaker of the Compact. I am he who forged a name in the Red Book of Ells. I am the prisoner in the jewel. I duped the Lord of High Dudgeononce, and I will return for vengeance upon him. I am the enemy of my enemies. Cometake me, filth, if you love the Lord of Bats or despise me, for I have named myself Jack of Shadows!"

Obviously Jack of Shadows will do some adventuring and end up in the Light Side, etc.

Still, it is Zelazny, so for a short cheesy book of this type, not too bad.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic sci-fi -- the best of the best.
A truly unique world, as complete as Tolkien's Middle Earth in a long short story.I read this when it first was published in two parts in a sci-fi magazine and was delighted when it came out in book form.Shadow Jack, the thief, is beheaded at the games for eying the HellsFlame, the bride price for Evene of the Castle Holding.He awakes naked and whole in the Dung Pits of Glye, as all dark-siders do, and must make his was back and avoid his arch-enemy, The Lord of the Bats.What a ride! He conquers the world, then destroys it and himself.Or does he?The Arts, the vampire rock, and MorningStar chained at Everdawn, a half-world of light, reason, and technology, a half-world of darkness, magic, and myth. I can't recommend it highly enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars Transcendent Science Fiction/Fantasy
This remains one of my favorite books, possibly the best work of fiction Zelazny ever wrote. At the time it was written (1971), the booklists were just starting to get their heads around the combined yet markedly different fields of fantasy and science fiction. Zelazny wrote a seemingly effortless work that casually crossed from the mists and shadows of the former to the reason and bright lights of the latter, then back again.

The basis of this freedom lies in the ambiguity at the heart of imagination and impulse to discover, along with the moral ambiguities of the antihero. Zelazny makes us feel the torments and trials of the leading character, Jack of Shadows, as he attempts to undo the treachery that leads him to the grave and then beyond it at the outset of the book. The coldness and utter devastation of his revenge brings up us against the limits of our own humanity, and at the moment of his own vulnerability as he reaps the chaos he has sown, our ineffectuality as well.

The scope of Zelazny's imagination is apparent in the architecture of the book's premise. A planet of human beings is rotating a sun with one hemisphere forever facing toward the light, and the other away. The world of light is the world of science, reason, and a very 1960's cosmopolitan culture with automobiles, computers, and universities. The world of darkness is the world of magic, reincarnation, feudalism, monsters, and an aristocracy of sorcerors eternally competing in petty fiefdoms.

A great source of interest and amusement lies in the differences between each culture, and how they view each other. The scientists of the light side maintain a shield to keep the sun from cooking the planet to a crisp; the sorcerors of the dark side maintain a spell to keep the planet from freezing. Neither side seems to believe that the other's science or magic is effective. On the twilight border between the worlds, an enigmatic figure stands guard, trapped in stone, waiting to be released by some world-changing catastrophe.

What is most fascinating about this premise is how un-clichéd the fantasy world is. Magic is used in the most practical, utilitarian way. People speak normally, and are motivated by very understandable pettiness and self-interest. The processes by which the world works are considered so natural by its inhabitants that it's easy to forget that there is anything unscientific about it. And the story rolls along in the most clear and economical way, allowing circumstances and outcomes to evolve naturally out of the characters and premise of each situation. It is highly operatic writing, and I mean that in the most complimentary way.

I would highly recommend this book, especially to an entry-level science fiction reader. Some devotees of fantasy might find it lacking in romance and high concepts, and its protagonist too hard to relate to. But it makes perfect sense in a science fiction arena as a book that works off of the logic of a set of presumptions, and then goes for broke on sheer entertainment. In that way, it anticipates the works of Stephen King and Anne Rice, though I would hasten to add that the Zelazny of this period was a man of fewer, more impactful words. There is not one boring page here for me. ... Read more

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