A Night in the Lonesome October
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A Night in the Lonesome October

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4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  2,790 ratings  ·  312 reviews
Snuf, a guard dog who performs thaumaturgical calculations, accompanies his master, Jack, on collecting expeditions into the Whitechapel slums of nineteenth-century London.

Zelazny manages to cleverly combine Jack (the Ripper), Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Frankenstein, and Dracula together with witches, werewolves, druids and many others in this amusing tale of an approaching conf...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by Avon Books (Mm) (first published August 1993)
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Lord of Light by Roger ZelaznyNine Princes in Amber by Roger ZelaznyThe Great Book of Amber by Roger ZelaznyA Night in the Lonesome October by Roger ZelaznyCreatures of Light and Darkness by Roger Zelazny
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4th out of 52 books — 100 voters
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21st out of 279 books — 377 voters


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Community Reviews

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Dan Schwent
A Night in the Lonesome October is about a gateway to a dimension of Lovecraftian horrors and the two opposing forces dedicated to opening the gate or making sure it stays closed. The story is told from the point of view of Jack the Ripper's dog Snuff. Yeah, you read that right.

I was hooked right away, around the time Snuff and the graveyard dog had a funny conversation and asked to see one another's teeth. One of the characters calls The Game, as it is known, a lunatic scavenger hunt. That's pr...more
Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Sep 21, 2012 Carol. [All cynic, all the time] rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: genre-defiers, October fans
Zelazny is a genius... although I have a sneaking suspicion his genius may be drug related. Where else would you come up with the idea of telling a Victorian mystery-humor-horror story from the point of view of a dog?

The first clue of the kind of upcoming weirdness comes from the dedication, which is to Shelley, Poe, Stoker, Doyle, Lovecraft, Bradbury, Bloch, and Terhune (dog breeder and writer). That means not only does the cast of characters include the watchdog Snuff, and his master, Jack, a...more
Jim
An entertaining, interesting story on the face, the understory is even better. Zelazny's sheer number of allusions and amount of sources truly make it a lunatic scavenger hunt that lead to research in some very dark & dusty corners of history, film, myth, & writing.

2012: Re-reading yet again with the Beyond Reality group.
By Day: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...
Cover & other Art: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...
Both of these topics contain spoilers.

I'm armed with 20 p...more
Jim
Oct2011: I made up a set of notes this year from discussions over the past couple of years in the Roger Zelazny group here:
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2...

This year we discussed the cover art & I even traded some emails with James Warhola. Hopefully he'll remember to look up his notes & fill me in on who is who. While some of the characters are obvious, several are not. Here's the full picture, much of which is cut out on the cover:
http://www.full-wallpaper.com/affiche...

As alway...more
Chris
Oct 30, 2011 Chris rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chris by: Jim
A very enjoyable read from Roger Zelazny, consistent with other material I've read by him.

The tone is light, although the subject matter is grim. It seems that on Halloween night, unimaginable horrors will attempt to enter this world. A gathering of powers has come together, some to hold it back, and some to try to help it along.

Throughout the month, these opposing forces are playing a game of positioning, alliances, and grabs for talismans to help their cause or hinder the opposition.

The story...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
Goodness gracious, I am super late writing this review. My schedule just exploded after the middle of October, and I had no time. Because it's been nearly a month, I don't have the best memory of all the plotlines. But I promised I would write a review for every book I read, so better late than never, and my review will be of the more general sort.

I was fortunate to find this at my library and it fit very well thematically into my October Scare Fest reading. I enjoyed it overall. It's an odd lit...more
Becky
This was my second attempt at reading Zelazny, and although I enjoyed this one more than the last one, I am beginning to think that Zelazny's style just doesn't agree with me.

The best way that I can think to describe it is that I feel like I'm seeing the events of the story out of the corner of my eye, that I can never quite get the full picture. We're given hints, references to puzzle out, dialogue that both reveals and obscures, and a narration that is restrained and secretive. Everything is...more
Amy Sturgis
While this would be ideal reading for October, I'm glad I didn't wait until then to read it. This book has been recommended to me several times, and I now understand why. It's a perfect storm of Lovecraftian Victoriana: figures such as Jack the Ripper, Count Dracula, the Wolfman, Victor Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, and other identifiable "types" (a mad monk, a witch, a druid, occultists, etc.), most with animal familiars, draw together to either open or close the door that will...more
Katy
Oct 07, 2013 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Lovecraft, Cthulhu, monster mash-ups
Recommended to Katy by: Lovecraft ezine
Book Info: Genre: Lovecraftian fiction
Reading Level: 18+
Recommended for: Fans of Lovecraftian/Cthulhuian tales, monster mash-ups

My Thoughts: This is a classic piece of Lovecraftian Literature; if you enjoy Lovecraft, Lovecraftian or Cthulhuian stories, be sure to sign up for the Lovecraft eZine (link where links are permitted), where each month an edition is released containing a number of new stories. Recently an issue was released that related directly to this book, so be sure to check out thi...more
Brooke
I'm not sure how to describe this book, although the phrase "a fun romp" pops into my head. I'm not sure why, since I'd never use "a fun romp" in a verbal conversation, but I can't think of anything more appropriate. The story starts off vague as we follow a dog through the days of October as his companion, Jack the Ripper, participates in a sort of scavenger hunt for reasons not revealed until much later. Dracula, Dr. Frankenstein, the Wolfman, and other classic horror creatures join in as well...more
Lightreads
Gotta love Roger Zelazny. I can just see him getting totally baked one day and bolting up out of his thought stew and going, "Fuck all y'all, I'm writing Sherlock Holmes/Frankenstein/Dracula/poe crossover fanfic from the point of view of Jack the Ripper's dog! Suck it!"

And then he did. This is the deceptively adorable diary of a dog, chronicling his efforts and the efforts of his master as opposing forces gather to keep the demons out, or let them in. Silly, punny – there's this bit about an owl...more
Miriam
Oct 29, 2009 Miriam rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: for Halloween
This amalgamation of Victorian gothic and penny dreadful cliches is the best example of Zelazny's tongue-in-cheek humor. Without taking itself too seriously, the book avoids the campiness of the author's Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming and manages to be exciting and plot-driven without losing its sense of whimsy. Zelazny also succeeds in capturing the requisite dark-and-shadowed-Victorian-London atmosphere without becoming unbearably heavy or going to extremes of nastiness, as many recent u...more
Stephen
4.0 stars. A fun, whimsical story narrated by a dog featuring all of your favorite monster characters (Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, Jack the Ripper) as they battle to prevent (or allow) the Elder Gods of Lovecraft's universe to enter our world on Halloween. A great read.

Nominee: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1995)
Kelly
(3.5 stars) A Night in the Lonesome October is an odd little book. It’s a mashup of H.P. Lovecraft, Sherlock Holmes, Victorian horror, monster movies, and dry humor, from the point of view of a dog. It’s definitely worth the read if you like pastiche-style horror. It’s written in a weird style and it won’t be for everyone — I’m not even sure it’s exactly for me! But I did have fun reading it and found its style unique and intriguing.

The best way I can think of to describe A Night in the Lonesome...more
Alazzar
[Originally read May 1-May 2, 2010]

I'll start by saying that I came upon this book largely by accident, and it turned out to be one of the greatest accidents of my life -- WAY better than that time I soiled myself on stage during my first-grade performance of the Nativity story ("Three wise men?" More like "Two wise men and their dumpy friend with no control over his bladder").

Anyway, I'd gotten on ye olde Internet before heading to the library so I could figure out what they had checked in tha...more
Nikki
A Night in the Lonesome October is so fun to read. Loved all the references to Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, Frankenstein and so on, without specifically calling them by name -- almost as archetypes, I suppose: "The Great Detective", "The Count", "The Good Doctor"...

I loved that it was narrated by a dog, too. There was something of a doggish mindset about it, somehow: it rang true, for me. Loved the interactions between Greymalk and Snuff, and the grey area in which their interactions existed. I lik...more
Abby
This is possibly the most fun book I have ever read. I enjoyed every minute of it and I re-read it frequently. I think most anyone with an appreciation for literature will enjoy Zelazny's delightful puns and amusing literary jokes and references.
It's good fantasy and great fun.
Also, I should add that I cannot tolerate any of Zelazny's other works because of his overwhelming sexism, even though he is most definitely a brilliant storyteller of terrific wit and humor. (Or was, I should say, since...more
Jon Recluse
An entertaining dark fantasy that combines Lovecraftian menace with the horror icons of Universal Pictures, along with the film versions of Sherlock Holmes, Rasputin and Jack the Ripper. Throw in a smattering of local color, including angry villagers, a creepy vicar, and some traveling gypsies. Season with a sense of humor that reads more like Gahan Wilson (who illustrated the hardcover) than Zelazny.
Then let Jack's dog, Snuff tell the tale.

Trust me. This book will put a smile on the face of any...more
Jon
Sep 21, 2008 Jon rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: SciFi and Fantasy Book Club October Theme Book
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I began reading this book, as it was written, with a chapter specified for each day in October, but I couldn't wait...as things started coming together I couldn't put it down. So I finished early, I couldn't help it! This book gathers many great literary figures: Jack the Ripper, Dracula, Frankenstein and his monster, the Wolfman Sherlock Holmes, and many others for a rather special event that takes place on All Hallows Eve. The book is told from the perspective o...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Fun little book and a nice light read. I suppose I wasn't really in the mood for a light read and the rating might have suffered a bit from that. I'd definitely rate it somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. Call it 3.5 but I didn't feel right about going all the way to 4.

I enjoyed all the sly usage and references back to some of the characters that many or possibly most of us recognize (though the use of "Jack" did push the creepiness factor toward the line a bit). Still the introduction to the book...more
Felina
I really enjoyed this book. I think I'll try to pick it up every October. Maybe this year I'll read the books that are referenced so its more of an enlightened experience next year. I do think I would rate it higher if I saw all the references.
Michael
I've had this book almost twenty years, but for some reason I never actually cracked it open. However, since the first print edition of 'The Lovecraft eZine' (#27) was a tribute to 'A Night in the Lonesome October' I thought I should get off my ass and finally read the dang thing. I can't believe I waited so long because it's a fantastic horror/comedy story - featuring a "Who's Who" of horror character legends (and their animal companions) as they prepare for the culmination of "The Game", which...more
Petya
My favourite Zelazny book. Light, easy to read, witty.

It's a journal of Jack Reaper's dog Sniff. It's actually told from the point of view of a dog :)
In the book you meet a lot of different characters you already know from fantasy, history and detective stories - Jack Reaper, Dracula, Frankenstein, Rasputin, Sherlock Holmes, a witch, a gnome and so on. Each character has an animal companion.

The plot - every few decades the night of Halloween has a full moon and then the fabric of reality thins...more
colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
I read this in group, and we did a chapter a day, to keep with the sort of diary format of the story. I got behind a few times and had to catch up, but, for the most part, I kept with the chapter a day style.

It was fun, especially in the beginning, to see the Players being introduced, and catching the various historical and fictional allusions. And then to see the characters various interactions, and learn who was on which side for the Game - the attempt to open or keep closed to Gates for the O...more
John
This was a good book. I'm still trying to decide whether the ending was a brilliant wrapping-up of the plot and its diverse threads or a bit too facile, but I really did enjoy reading the book.

It brings together quite possibly the oddest assortment of characters: Zelazny dedicated this "To-- Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, Albert Payson Terhune, and the makers of a lot of old movies -- Thanks." As I recognized, in on...more
Amanda
Nov 02, 2010 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of the Halloween spirit
This book should be recognized worldwide as the quintessential Halloween/October read. Its set-up alone, with each day of the month of October being its own chapter makes it ideal for this purpose. Not to mention how clever, original and funny it is; I was hooked from the beginning.

If the chapter orientation alone isn't enough to convince you to read it next October, the inclusion of all the greatest, most famous, ghosts of Halloween past as the cast should peak any speculative fic. connoisseur'...more
Mark
This books starts out in such a lightweight tone (Hi - I'm Snuff - I'm a watchdog - I fetch things for my master.) that it always surprises me as it gains depth and momentum. The story is told one day at a time, Oct 1 1887 to Oct 31, as a series of familiar occult characters prepare to contest whether to open the gates to the Ancient Ones or keep the world like it is. The characters (the Count, the Good Doctor, the Mad Monk, etc) all have intelligent animal partners to aide them. The story is to...more
Kathryn
Oct 27, 2008 Kathryn added it
Shelves: stalled
Well, Tyler and I *tried* to read this. We got about thirty pages into it yet could not get INTO it. I'm not sure why... I think simply because it was really hard to tell where it was going and what was meant to be happening. Also, the doggie narrator was a bit odd; I kind of liked him, but still, the style was mostly dialogue and I just couldn't get that excited about it. (The possibility of gross Halloween-y things happening on every other page could have been a bit of a damper for me, too...)...more
Marvin
A very unusual story. Now who do we have here? Jack the Ripper, Dr. Frankenstein and monster. The werewolf, Dracula. Sherlock Holmes, a monk who sounds suspiciously like Rasputin, and others in a Lovecraftian tale with ancient ones and Cthulhu. Plus a bunch of very odd and wise animal sidekicks. Can't say I've read anything like this before. The best thing about this novel? I was never sure until the end who the good guys and and the bad guys were. Lots of fun.
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Beyond Reality: Lonesome October - Finished! 19 37 Dec 30, 2012 10:29PM  
Beyond Reality: Lonesome October - By the Day 149 73 Oct 31, 2012 05:22PM  
Beyond Reality: Lonesome October Artwork; Cover & Chapter 38 97 Oct 31, 2012 07:29AM  
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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 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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“Such
times are rare, such times are fleeting, but always bright when caught, measured, hung, and later regarded
in times of adversity, there in the kinder halls of memory, against the flapping of the flames.”
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