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Doorways in the Sand

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,770 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
Humanity is not alone in the cosmos. The aliens have given a precious relic to the people of Earth: star-stone. The harmony of the galaxy is at stake when they discover the disappearance of their star-stone.
Likeable Fred Cassidy is an eternal undergraduate. All he thinks he knows about the star-stone is that it came to Earth in an interplanetary trade for the Mona Lisa an
Mass Market Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 1st 1991 by Harpercollins (first published March 1976)
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Apr 12, 2016 Carol. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of Douglas Adams
I had forgotten this gem until a question on a Zelazny recommendation sent me to my shelves to rediscover this blend of Alice in Wonderland and crime caper. Set in an Earth very similar to our own, aliens have made contact and invited us to join the galactic federation. As a token of sincerity, we're participating in an artifact exchange, lending them culturally significant objects such as the Crown Jewels and the Mona Lisa, and receiving ambiguous alien artifacts in return. Meanwhile, Fred, a p ...more
Apr 08, 2016 Evgeny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
Fred Cassidy is a normal student – as normal as Zelazny’s characters can be. His uncle provided him with good money for college until he graduates if he maintains a full-time status, so no wonder that guy does everything not to. He was successful avoiding finishing the college for eighteen years changing majors just in time before he fulfills a graduation requirement for a particular department. Currently he has a problem as his is about to run out of classes offered. Fred also likes walking on ...more
Oct 10, 2012 Nataliya rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Nataliya by: Carol.
You know, a part of me really wishes I could have pulled off the same trick the book's protagonist did for 13 years - remain a perpetual student supported by a cryogenically frozen uncle, free to expand my horizons, create Lobachevsky-worthy mathematical odes to beauty, and not ever having to graduate to the real adult world.
"'Let there be an end to thought. Thus do I refute Descartes.' I sprawled, not a cogito or a sum to my name."
However, when the real adult world comes equipped with aliens u
Apr 04, 2016 Brad rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
What the heck! I'm not an acrophiliac perpetual-student with a penchant for pilfering sentient stones, but after re-reading this book, I kinda want to be. :)

If managing to avoid getting a degree in 13 years while still maintaining a full course load can be considered a special kind of genius, then our MC has it, but wait! This is just the beginning.

Zelazny writes beautifully, with curious and curiouser language, puns, poetry, and slight perfidy, if the last line in the novel is anything to judg
Dan Schwent
Jan 27, 2011 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
Shelves: zelazny
Where do I start?

Fred Cassidy is a college student and has been for the past 17 years due to a loophole in his late uncle's will. Fred is a compulsive climber and a thorn in the side of the administration who would like nothing more than for him to graduate so they can get on with their lives. Long story short, an alien artifact goes missing and a lot of people think Fred has it. The rest of the book is the quest to find the star stone and stay alive. Thankfully, Fred has help in the form of a t
Reread Apr2011: Still a good, fun read. I was sick & needed something upbeat & relaxing. Zelazny to the rescue again. I don't know how many times I've read this, but each time his poetic prose & wry sense of humor have made it a treat.

Dec2007: One of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors. It's an action packed mystery SF. Our hero, Fred, is as average as any Zelazny character - that is to say while he has no extraordinary powers, his sanity, habits & life philosophy are
Mar 18, 2013 Algernon rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013

... or as I like to call it now that I'm finished: Romancing the Star Stone , for it reminds me of the Michael Douglas / Katleen Turner crime caper with its tongue-in-cheek approach and its lively pacing. A priceless alien artefact in the shape of a gemstone has been stolen and the last person to have seen it is Fred Cassidy - a perpetual student who has managed to avoid graduation for 13 years, and who suffers from a rare affliction called acrophilia. Meaning he likes to climb things , preferr
Apr 11, 2016 Andreas rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic-sff, 2016
Zelazny is a must read for classical SF - three Nebula awards, six Hugos (two for his novels This Immortal in a tie with Dune, and Lord of Light) speak a language of their own. So do the titles of his stories like The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth or A Rose for Ecclesiastes. The author usually uses characters from myth and interprets them in a modern world.
In this novel, he changes his style by adapting a work from phantastic literature - Alice in Wonderland - to SF. In one other as
Aug 16, 2015 Richard rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi

What an interesting and bizarre novel packed tightly into 200 pages of peculiar fun! This is my first Zelazny and I don't think I was prepared for what I got but I went along with it and certainly enjoyed the ride.

I've heard many things about the author and had wanted to give him a shot and this one fell onto my radar a number of years ago after some excellent reviews so I went with this one. The plot could be summed up simplistically but it wouldn't do justice to the layers added throughout
Apr 12, 2016 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know those books you can only explain by saying something like, imagine a cross between Stephen King and Agatha Christie? Or, imagine Gone With the Wind mixed with Tess of the D'Ubervilles? This is that kind of book. Imagine a mixture between Dashiell Hammett and Lewis Carroll, with a dash of Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens too. It’s a bit of this and a lot of that. It lies on a foundation of this other one. The distinct sources each stand out, drawing attention, lying beside other source ...more
Amy (Other Amy)
"I'm going to go down there first thing in the morning and punch him in the eye!"
"Will that solve anything?"
"No, but revenge fits in with the classic life-style."

2015 is going to go down in my personal history as the year of awesome books. I am like a kid in a candy store here, running down the aisles with armfuls of treasure. I could tell you that I am giving this five stars (thinking about six) because I review things for what they are and this little beauty transcends all its genres to become
Apr 09, 2016 Melora rated it really liked it
This is a wild and crazy ride! (Picture Steve Martin, obviously, in all his late-70's glory.) Madcap adventure, with the emphasis on “mad,” menacing baddies, charming secondary characters (who doesn't love a helpful alien wombat?), and a hero whose talents and luck enable him to rise (often literally) to any occasion.

It's been a long time since I read Nine Princes in Amber or anything else by Zelazny, but his style is unmistakeable, and this was a nostalgic pleasure – it brought back impressions
Apr 15, 2016 Emily rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction, 2016
4.5 stars

This is my first Roger Zelazny, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but boy was it fun. The main character, Fred Cassidy, had a charming, clever voice, and I laughed out loud a lot while reading this.
As much as I loved Fred, the aliens are what delighted me the most about this book-their sometimes wobbly grasp of English and the telepathic doctor who practiced "assault therapy."
There was a mystery too, and the solution was unpredictable and perfect.
Zelazny lost me a couple of times with
Apr 06, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say that this is only the second novel I read by Zelazny, but I found it funny and engaging, although often slightly surreal.

The story is focused on Fred Cassidy, eternal university student, with the obsession to scale buildings at all hours of day and night and the innate ability to be able to avoid the degree. Suddenly, he finds himself in the middle of a mystery that revolves around a stone of alien origins, the State Department and two shady and not well identified bad guys.

I liked
Zachary Jernigan
Oct 18, 2013 Zachary Jernigan rated it it was amazing
OBJECTIVE RATING (my best stab at looking at the book's merits, regardless of whether or not I enjoyed it all that much): 4.5

PERSONAL RATING (how much the book "worked" for me personally): 5

Zelazny's most accessible work, unfortunately one of his least read. A blast from cover to cover. You've read humorous slacker science fiction before, but never done this well.
Apr 11, 2016 Mitticus rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Lewis Carroll fans
Recommended to Mitticus by: Carol.
4.5 grinning stars

The hot sands had shouted them through me all afternoon, then night's frigid breezes had whispered the motto at the overdone lamb chop, my ear: “You are a living example of the absurdity of things.”

Se dice que Zelazny escribió esto sin hacerle rectificaciones. Contiene aliens, referencias literarias varias, surrealismo bordeando en la sátira, prosa hermosa por momentos, visos de género detectivesco, y, claro está, fantasía.

(O, bien podria decirse que es: Como Zelazny Re-escrib
Feb 14, 2015 Alazzar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just don’t get how he does it.

No matter how many Zelazny stories I read, he still finds a way to surprise and amaze me. I simply cannot fathom how he keeps track of so many characters and creates plot twists that are entirely unpredictable yet still believable within the frame of the story. And then, just when you think you have everything figured out, more information is unveiled and your appreciation for the masterful storytelling increases a thousand fold.

I really don’t know what else to sa
Mary Catelli
A rather zany book.

Starting with the habit of telling chapters out of order -- a scene and then the backfill that got the narrator there. Also involving the narrator, a perpetual student (in precise accord with his cryogenically frozen uncle, who left him an allowance until he gets a degree) and an acrophile. And the setting, where first contact has been made, and we have been allowed to display an alien machine that inverts things and a star stone while the Mona Lisa and the British Crown jewel
Steve Cooper
Apr 19, 2016 Steve Cooper rated it really liked it
Each chapter disorients the reader by starting in the middle of some new scene, and we never know any of the character's true intentions until the final pages. This can be frustrating, but the book is ultimately redeemed by Zelazny's light, brisk style and clear vision.

Nice SF that makes you nostalgic for the simpler 70's.

Colin Birge
May 22, 2012 Colin Birge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aliens, government agents, & thugs are all after a mysterious alien McGuffin that the narrator might or might not have ever had in his possession. Put like that, it sounds like a thinly veiled Hitchcock movie with the serial numbers filed off, which it is. That's just the structure, though. In between pulp-thriller standard kidnappings, beatings, gunshots, double-crosses, and jeweled treasures, Roger Zelazny meditates variously on academia, knowledge, the joys of climbing the outside of tall ...more
Mar 02, 2009 Chuck rated it really liked it
Zelanzy was one of my all time favorite fantasy authors; I think I've read pretty much everything he ever did, plus re-reading all ten Amber novels about four or five years ago. Ol' Roger passed about fifteen years ago, so there haven't been any new Zelazny novels, and, as sadly happens when a writer dies, most of his stuff is out of print, except for the "Amber Omnibus," and that is, sporadically, hard to find.

This was the first Zelazny novel I ever read, back in high school, when my mother gav
Erik Graff
Jul 18, 2012 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Zelazny fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
I read this as an academic dean at Loyola University Chicago and loved the part with Fred Cassidy, the perpetual undergraduate, and Dennis Wexworth, his academic advisor, trying to outwit one another. I rarely laugh aloud when reading and don't find much humor humorous, but this little piece of silly sf fluff was an exception.
Feb 27, 2016 Gregoire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, en-français, owned
Loufoque est le qualificatif employé sur 4e de couverture pour ce roman de ZELAZNY Un auteur que je ne connais pas malgré le fort engouement en France pour sa série Les Princes d'Ambre
Un one shot fort enlevé, bien écrit (un bon point pour la traductrice ) avec aliens et imbroglio à gogo
Un ton qui m'a rappelé celui du Le prix du danger et autres nouvelles de Robert Sheckley La réflexion sur le temps et la perception que l'on en a, n'est pas anecdotique et sert de trame de fond à toute l'histoire
Dec 07, 2015 Karl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First Hardcover Edition signed by Roger Zelazny.
Aug 07, 2014 Ubiquitousbastard rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
I don't know why I didn't read this book sooner, or why I put it down when I first started reading it several years ago. Maybe it didn't click with me back then, but opening up the book with a character that basically wants to stay in college as long as possible definitely rang true with me this time around. From takes a very Zelazny turn which I almost was blindsided by.

Of all of the Zelazny books I've read, this is among the trippiest, making me wonder if Zelazny wasn't hitting the
John Loyd
Apr 08, 2015 John Loyd rated it really liked it
Doorways in the Sand (1976) 189 pages by Roger Zelazny.

I have to lump Doorways in the Sand into the romp category. The main character gets thrown into situation after situation which he narrowly escapes time and again. Fred comes home to find that his apartment has been vandalized, as he investigates further the intruder is still there and is threatening him with bodily harm. Turns out the intruder is Paul, a big fella who Fred and his ex-roomie Hal knew. Hal had gotten a star stone replica in a
Brian Clegg
Apr 07, 2015 Brian Clegg rated it it was amazing
Every now and then I take a break from reading science books and unwind with a spot of fiction. This is often something new, but I also like to dip back into old favourites... and was so glad that I did with Roger Zelazny's Doorways in the Sand, which I haven't read for about 20 years, but was a delight to return to because it remains totally brilliant.

I was a huge fan of Zelazny's Amber series in my teens (I used to haunt the SF bookshop near Piccadilly Station in Manchester, as it sold US impo
Jul 01, 2014 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roger Zelazny, where have you been all my life?
Feb 06, 2015 April rated it it was amazing
I have always loved this little book by Zelazny, ever since I picked it up in the library as a teenager, without even knowing who Zelazny was. It's a one-off for him and features one of my all-time favorite main characters: Fred Cassidy, who is trying to remain a perpetual University student so he can take advantage of his (kind of) dead uncle's will which stipulates a nice stipend as long as he is still getting his (or any) degree. Hilarious fun ensues as Fred gets mixed up with aliens (Earth h ...more
Harry Robinson
Feb 08, 2015 Harry Robinson rated it liked it
I first read this amusing book prior to my college years. Re-reading it today I find it more shallow and less entertaining than I did then, but that's because of me, not the story. It's short and fun to read, about a young man whose rich uncle left him a significant monthly stipend while he attends college. As a result, he contrives to avoid graduation, continuing his education endlessly while living comfortably on the stipend. As another interesting twist, Zelazny has him being a "climber", or ...more
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Silver Stag Book ...: Doorways in the Sand by Roger Zelazny 1 1 Jan 26, 2015 01:27PM  
Roger Zelazny: Doorways in the Sand 8 21 Apr 15, 2011 11:15AM  
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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 dea ...more
More about Roger Zelazny...

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“Did you ever look back at some moment in your past and have it suddenly grow so vivid that all the intervening years seemed brief, dreamlike, impersonal—the motions of a May afternoon surrendered to routine?” 15 likes
“You are one of the few successful persons I know."
"Me? Why?"
"You know precisely what you are doing and you do it well."
"But I don't really do much of anything."
"And of course the quantity means nothing to you, nor the weight others place upon your actions. In my eyes, that makes you a success."
"By not giving a damn? But I do, you know."
"Of course you do, of course you do! But it is a matter of style, an awareness of choice—”
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