The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth and Other Stories
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The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth and Other Stories

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  2,455 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Here are strange, beautiful stories covering the full spectrum of the late Roger Zelazny's remarkable talents. He had a rare ability to mix the dream-like, disturbing imagery of fantasy with the real-life hardware of science fiction. His vivid imagination and fine prose made him one of the most highly acclaimed writers in his field. Three times he won the Nebula Award, and...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published 1974 by Avon (first published March 1965)
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Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Sep 27, 2012 Carol. [All cynic, all the time] rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Zelazny fans, short story fans
Zelazny was a master at the short, novelette and novella (rather a pity, since his world-building often leaves me wanting much more) and this collection almost consistently kicked my mental butt for his exploration of humanity and his creativity. His use of language is impressive; he can write directly, clear-cutting to a quiet moment in the middle of a hurricane, or he can weave together words to perfectly describe an alien sunrise. There is tone of melancholy running through these stories, the...more
Kathryn
I used to think I loved Roger Zelazny's writing. After trying out a few more of his books, I realized that it was THIS collection in particular that I loved. Nothing else of his that I've read has measured up, although I keep hoping I'll stumble on something I like just as much.

The stores cover a lot of ground, with sentient cars, a hunt for a leviathan, aliens, and some misunderstandings. "The Keys to December" ranks up there as one of my favorite short-stories. (It's about a genetically-engine...more
Alex
This is a fairly comprehensive collection of Zelazny’s early short fiction.

THE DOORS OF HIS FACE, THE LAMPS OF HIS MOUTH is another example of Zelazny presenting great action. There’s also some interesting relationship commentary that can be unpacked from under the action. I suspect that in the pulp era that this story is responding to, the relationship would be reconciled by the culmination of the action, rather than the give-and-take of power. THIS MORTAL MOUNTAIN seems to be a return to this...more
Eveningstar2
Lovely stuff, as always. This is earlier Zelazny, prototypical and experimental, still in his development phases. Most of these stories were published in the years prior to Lord of Light, and you can see the ingredients of that novel budding in shorts like "Love Is An Imaginary Number," published in 1966, one year prior to Lord of Light. I swear, "Love" and "Lord" are essentially the same basic story, spun in different directions.

Likewise, some parallels between Devil Car and Damnation Alley, an...more
Alazzar
I'm generally not a sci-fi guy, but I'm definitely a Zelazny guy. And, of course, Zelazny managed to make me like sci-fi with this book, because he's just that good.

I could give a general review for the book, but I think I'll just go story-by-story instead (mostly so I can remember what they're all about when the memories of reading this collection leave my mind in about 3 months).

1. The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth: One of my favorite stories in the book, if not my very favorite. A...more
Yolanda Casica
It took me a while to finish this only because the copy I have is 40 something years old and that apparently did not agree with my allergies. My opinion of this book did not lessen in the slightest because every time I got near it made me physically ill, in fact my opinion of it grew stronger. If it had not hooked me in, then I probably would not have picked it up and would have put it into my occasional donate pile.

I went in knowing nothing of the author's writing ability or anything about the...more
Shel
Dated, but entertaining stories. Some very short, some more like novellas, all very good!
Jan
This is the first work of Zelazny's I've read. I'm not all that impressed by the inventiveness of the plots; what stuck with me was the astonishing, highly poetic, sometimes almost biblical or prophetic language and imagery. This is a writer.
Joey Brockert
“The Doors of His Face The Lamps of His Mouth” by Roger Zelanzy, © 1971

A very nice collection of short stories by Mr. Zelanzy.

'The Doors of His Face The Lamps of His Mouth' –
A fishing tale told of Venus. It is a bit confusing because the people seem to be talked of in the third person, then they appear to be the people talking, and there is a bit of a love storyu in here, too.

'The Keys to December' –
Humans have developed the ability to create life forms that can live in environments other t...more
Joey Brockert
A very nice collection of short stories by Mr. Zelanzy.

'The Doors of His Face The Lamps of His Mouth' –
A fishing tale told of Venus. It is a bit confusing because the people seem to be talked of in the third person, then they appear to be the people talking, and there is a bit of a love storyu in here, too.

'The Keys to December' –
Humans have developed the ability to create life forms that can live in environments other than Earth. Some of these were created for working on a planet for a min...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://nhw.livejournal.com/382479.html[return][return]I think this was Zelazny's first published collection? Mostly stories from his peak early years in the 1960s; includes perhaps his two best pieces from that era, the title story (which I didn't like at all on first reading it as a teenager, but which has grown on me since) and "A Rose for Ecclesiastes" which remains a favourite.[return][return]The incredibly weak ending of "This Mortal Mountain" grates a bit more than before, and a couple of...more
John Wiswell
My second Zelazny anthology and I'm still impressed. The style is dated, leaning very heavily on first person exposition or dialogue exposition and talking plot points to the next beat, but even that is frequently charming given how outlandish his ideas get. In "The Keys to December," a race of terraforming ocelots plot genocide or horned natives. In "The Great Slow Kings," cosmological gods take months to talk back and forth on how best to raise a species of worshippers, tough work since they k...more
Aaron
Very good collection of '60s SF stories. Having read the first few Amber novels and generally liked them, I was surprised at how much stronger some of these stories are than the series he seems to be remembered by. The twists and turns of the Amber series are certainly fun, but the writing seems much lighter in tone, possibly simplified for the masses, or per a publisher's request.

The stories served up here range from dark to humorous, but Zelazny's intellect is clearly on display. Beyond the re...more
Howl
I got a little over halfway through this awesome collection of stories (to Divine Madness) before the overdue notices started assaulting me; I took a while to get through the first story because I wasn't really familiar with Zelazny's style, but by A Rose For Ecclesiastes I was completely absorbed.

Zeleazny's writing is spectacular. I could list all the synonyms for 'spectacular', but instead of that I will just recommend that you read his descriptions of the storm, both brewing and happening, in...more
Andrew
The longer stories are great, particularly the prize-winning "A Rose for Ecclesiastes," "This Mortal Mountain," and "This Moment of the Storm." And the more satirical/humorous shorts are delightful; the stand-outs being "The Great Slow Kings" and "A Museum Piece."

The only thing that dates Zelazny, in my opinion, is his obvious nicotine addiction. If I had a dime for every cigarette smoked or mentioned in these stories, I'd literally have enough for the cover price.
Daniel
This is one of my favourite short story collections. I haven't read all of Zelazny, but most of my favourites among his works are in here. (I also really liked Nine Princes in Amber.) Generally I prefer shorter short stories - twenty pages or less - but the stories in this book are an exception: the longer the better.

I doubt Zelazny wrote much that was better than these five stories:

- A Rose for Ecclesiastes
- This Moment of the Storm
- This Mortal Mountain
- The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His...more
Shawn
A collection of fifeteen of Zelazny's short stories, it contains many of his best pieces including the title story of obsession, redemption, and love on Venus; The Keys to December, a story of determination, loss, the price that must be paid for a world of your own; A Rose for Ecclesiastes, wherein a man of language saves an entire race and loses his own heart; Collector's Fever, a humorous warning that one should be careful what one collects; and This Moment of the Storm, that shows us just how...more
Martin
A nice mix of sci-fi short stories, with only a couple of very short ones. Most had a clear ending, which is something I really prefer in short stories, although a couple left the outcome completely open to interpretation.

The concept of suspended animation came up in several different stories, particularly the idea that people would become more and more disconnected from society as they went further ahead in time, resulting in unhappiness beyond any realized gains. This is probably something peo...more
Jen
The Monster & The Maiden and The Great Slow Kings were my favourite stories.
Manny
I last looked at this collection 35 years ago and I can still remember at least half of them, so I conclude that it must be pretty good.

I think I liked the love stories most: "A Rose for Ecclesiastes", where the Earth poet visits the doomed Martian society and falls in love with their priestess, and "The Man Who Loved The Faioli", in which Zelazny pulls off the near-impossible feat of creating a moving romance between a vampire and a cyborg. Really, I'm not being ironic! He was one of the brigh...more
Chip
Not as bad as I thought it would be. Zelazny is hard to read sometimes and a few of these stories are in that category. But luckily a couple or so are acceptable. The Keys to December - a story about terraforming with an accidental twist. This Mortal Mountain - a 40 miles high summit in which the mountain doesn't want to be climbed. The Great Slow Kings - two brother kings who are obscenely slow send a robot to find other life in the universe.
Derek Davis
This may or may not be the Zelazny collection of stories I loved so much. Why "loved"? Because almost all of them are love stories, on one level or another, and Z. was one of the best SF short story writers of all time. Pay no attention to his "Amber" books, which unfortunately get most of the attention. They were later money-makers that simply ramble on (which he had a tendency to do in novels). His stories are, I hope, what will last.
Lisa
Nov 19, 2012 Lisa marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I checked this out of the library and didn't make it through all of it. I can't remember if I read this years ago.
"The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth" - skipped it. About catching a big fish.
"The Keys to December" - Sad. About creatures creating a world where they can live and in the process destroying a lot of the life that was already there. Evolve or die.
"Devil Car" - Cars gone bad and have to be hunted down.
K T
A collection of his sf stories. I must say, Zelazny's humor pieces don't do much for me, but his straight pieces, especially the adventure stories, are very engrossing.

My top pick from this collection is "This Moment of the Storm," followed by "A Rose for Ecclesiastes." I also enjoyed "The Keys to December" and "This Mortal Mountain," but their ends didn't live up to the greatness of their middles.

And, I really like the title.
Moebius Machiavelli
This collection contains one of my all time favorite stories by Roger Zelazny. The story, "A Rose for Ecclesiastes" is phenomenal. Perhaps one of my all time favorites. Zelazny's work explores both science fiction and fantasy and his work was inspirational in many ways on the direction these genres would take in greater years... I think you will enjoy this book.
Moebius Machiavelli
This collection contains one of my all time favorite stories by Roger Zelazny. The story, "A Rose for Ecclesiastes" is phenomenal. Perhaps one of my all time favorites. Zelazny's work explores both science fiction and fantasy and his work was inspirational in many ways on the direction these genres would take in greater years... I think you will enjoy this book.
Jim
If you don't know Roger Zelazny, you should. This book is an excellent example of why. The stories run the gamut from meditations on mythology and literature to alien romance and post-apocalyptic weirdness. This set of short stories covers all the bases you'd expect and a few you wouldn't. If you've never heard of it, find it and read it. You won't regret it.
MsFolio
I read this book about forty years ago and it still shines.

It was Zelazny who 'got me into" SF Fantasy, but it was also Zelazny that got me out of it. I could never find another SF writer that lived up to the brilliance of this early anthology of short stories. Even RZ's later novels did not keep me hooked.

This book is on my list to reread.

Josh
There's nothing in this collection as amazing as many of the stories collected in Last Defender of Camelot, but some of these are still pretty powerful. "Divine Madness" and "Keys to December" were particularly strong. Since these are all early Zelazny stories, it's interesting to watch him develop and start playing with ideas he'll develop later.
Raj
This is a collection of short stories from reasonably early in Zelazny's career and there's a wide span both in terms of size (one is almost novella sized, another is just over a page long) and scale. There's something here for everyone, although I particularly enjoyed The Keys to December and The Great Slow Kings, two very different stories.
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3619
Roger Zelazny made his name with a group of novellas which demonstrated just how intense an emotional charge could be generated by the stock imagery of sf; the most famous of these is 'A Rose for Ecclesiastes' in which a poet struggles to convince dying and sterile Martians that life is worth continuing. Zelazny continued to write excellent short stories throughout his career. Most of his novels d...more
More about Roger Zelazny...
Nine Princes in Amber (Amber Chronicles, #1) The Great Book of Amber (The Chronicles of Amber, #1-10) Lord of Light The Courts of Chaos (Amber Chronicles, #5) The Guns of Avalon (Amber Chronicles, #2)

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“People never pay attention to weather reports; this, I believe, is a constant factor in man's psychological makeup, stemming probably from an ancient distrust of the shaman. You want them to be wrong. If they're right, then they're somehow superior, and this is even more uncomfortable than getting wet.

"This Moment of the Storm”
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