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A Night in the Lonesome October

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  4,463 Ratings  ·  532 Reviews
The bestselling author of the Amber series creates a delightful and dramatic period fantasy populated by talking dogs and characters from popular legend. Accompanying and amplifying the text are a series of 31 full-page illustrations by one of the masters of bizarre and horrific art.
Paperback, 280 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by Avon Books (Mm) (first published 1993)
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Stormcrow I disagree with David. Although there certainly are plenty of literary references kids won't get, the book also has classic horror creatures that…moreI disagree with David. Although there certainly are plenty of literary references kids won't get, the book also has classic horror creatures that they'll instantly recognize (Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man; not to mention Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes). It may require some explaining and you might want to gloss over much of the chapter where they visit the dream world, but otherwise, I think this is a very enjoyable book for readers of any age. (Don't forget that just because their reading level is low, their comprehension as teenagers and young adults won't necessarily be.) Obviously, I'm late in answering your question and it's too far into October to read it now, but perhaps next year.(less)

Community Reviews

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Soooooooooooooooooo this was a group read I forced upon my nearest and dearest- I looooove my GR gals- even if you hated or loved every minute of it ladieeeeeees!!

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I am a watchdog. My name is Snuff. I live with my master Jack outside of London now. I like Soho very much at night with its smelly fogs and dark streets. It is silent then and we go for long walks....

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The story of A NIGHT IN LONESOME OCTOBER is told in a prologue and thirty-one chapters- one for each day in October. I read it in three.
Nov 01, 2014 Nataliya rated it it was amazing
"Carpe baculum!" (Seize the stick!)
You know the feeling when you finish the book and with a quiet satisfied and slightly smug smile realize that it was just perfect, as though it was written just for you? Sometimes I get lucky like that.

Roger Zelazny has a unique quirkiness in his narration that speaks directly to me, and A Night in the Lonesome October which I read in one breath over the wee hours of a late October night is no exception.

Zelazny is a genius when it comes to telling a story. Th
Nov 01, 2016 Evgeny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Review updated on November 1, 2016

Half of the fun in most of Zelazny's books is to figure out what is going on. For this reason I have to be as obscure as possible. Imagine Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, Count Dracula, Dr. Frankenstein, Rasputin, Larry Talbot (if you do not know who he is, I am not giving a spoiler), and some other well-known and interesting characters gather in one place waiting for the Halloween night when they are supposed to do something. The tale is told from a dog's POV
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
Sep 21, 2012 Carol. rated it really liked it
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
Nov 03, 2016 Orient rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
Recommended to Orient by: Evgeny
Evgeny, thanks again for a great recommendation :)

This book is a great blend of mystery spices, gripping suspense, funny dialogues and fabulous fantasy. Mr. Zelazny’s writing style just enchanted me: so straightforward, smooth and so compelling at the same time, with no difficult words or complex descriptions. The story simply is a page-turner.

What gripped me in A Night in the Lonesome October? Definitely the talking animals, the monsters (who entertained Snuff with their mad requests and danger
Oct 21, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing
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:
Cover & other Art:
Both of these topics contain spoilers.

I'm armed with 20 p
Ivonne Rovira
Jul 08, 2015 Ivonne Rovira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
How many times have I read Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October? I literally can’t remember if it’s four or five or six. And it never loses its freshness or excitement.

And how do I write a review for this book that will do it justice? So cleverly written, and readers will delight in figuring out one by one who each of the “players” in the game are — many of which are characters from Victorian literature. Even though this was my fourth or more go-round with these characters, I stayed u
Oct 21, 2014 Stepheny rated it liked it

I read A Night in the Lonesome October with some of my favorite gal pals on goodreads. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but what I got was not at all what I had imagined.

The story is told in 31 chapters- each one is a day in October. You are following around Snuff, a watchdog who tells you all about his adventures for the day. There are other animals that are in the story as well working with their human companion to collect items and information for what they refer to as “The Game”.

Oct 21, 2014 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oct2011: I made up a set of notes this year from discussions over the past couple of years in the Roger Zelazny group here:

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:

As alway
Nov 23, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  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
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
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
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
Oct 20, 2014 Lisa rated it it was amazing
This is a magical and unusual read where animals and their humans play a 'game' to save / destroy the world as we know it.

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I loved the relationships between the different animals and the cosmic dimensions introduced.
The game is a challenge to follow but this is aided by the adventures of the animals which make you hang in there when things are not making sense.
This is the kind of book I will re-read (and I don't say that very often) because there are so many levels and it's just so different.
Oct 29, 2009 Miriam rated it really liked it
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
Nikola S. Pavlovic
Jan 19, 2017 Nikola S. Pavlovic rated it really liked it
Jako zanimljiva prica! Zelazny je majstor svog zanata a ovakve kratke pricice su njegov specijalitet. Nakon Ambera i Gospodara Svetlosti ovi kratki romani su prava praznicna razonoda. Proslu godinu sam zapoceo sa Zelaznim, bogami i ovu cu. Ima on i boljih dela ali zbog same ideje jake cetiri zvezdice :D
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
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Oct 30, 2014 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it really liked it
I read this because it is October and Zelazny is on my reading goals for the year. It is a clever tale from Snuff the dog in the month of October, and his pal Jack. There are talking animals and all the science fiction and fantasy tropes of classic literature, and some conclusions the reader needs to draw on his or her own. It was a light read with great drawings and I enjoyed it.

It was very Octoberish with bits like this:
"I breathed the smells of woodsmoke, loam, and rotting windfall apples, st
Jun 20, 2015 Carol rated it it was amazing
Oh what a fast, fun adventure for us lovers of mystery, fantasy and horror......Narrated by Jack the Ripper's faithful (door opening) guard dog Snuff (with his best pal Graymalk the cat by his side) Roger Zelazny dedicates his last book to some of the GREATS.....Shelley, Poe, Stoker, Doyle, Lovecraft, Bradbury, Bloch, Tenhune and makers of old movies.

The wild and crazy romp with the supernatural begins on October 1 and ends....fittingly....on All Hallows Eve, and besides the thrashing Jack, you'

Oct 07, 2013 Katy rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 28, 2015 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful tale. True, some of the participants come to not-so-good ends, but this book is delightful nonetheless. After all, there's Sherlock Holmes! And a vampire, a werewolf, Frankenstein's monster, gypsies - it just gets better and better.

The story, progressing day by day through the month of October, is narrated by Jack's dog Snuff. He has at first an uneasy truce with the cat Graymalk, the "crazy witch" Jill's familiar, but they develop into good friends as the book progresses. They are
Oct 28, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it
The game is afoot. Choose a side. Collect the bones and gather the magic items. The game will come to end on Halloween night.

Wow. I have no idea how Zelazny pulled this one off. A contest involving iconic horror legends and their pets, told from the point of view of Jack the Rippers dog Snuff. What? This one should have been a hot mess. But instead, it was funny and intriguing with flashes of brilliance and utterly unique in execution. A very well done Lovecraftian tale, perfect for the Hallowee
Trent Zelazny
Oct 31, 2015 Trent Zelazny rated it it was amazing
This books holds a special place in my heart, as it is the one book he shared with me as he wrote it. One of the best times I ever had with my father.
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
Oct 28, 2015 William rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book in every sense of the word, and perfect October reading. Jack the Ripper, the Wolfman, Sherlock Holmes, Dr Frankenstein ( and his monster), Dracula, a witch, a mad monk, an evil vicar and many more, all attempting to perform a ritual to either allow Lovecraftian old ones through to our plane, or prevent it from happening. And all ably narrated by Snuff, Jack's faithful, and possibly immortal, dog companion. Zelazny was on top form here, a towering talent, taken far too early.

Jon Recluse
Dec 02, 2013 Jon Recluse rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
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
[Name Redacted]
Originally read: October 1 - 31, 2013
Second reading: October 1 - 31, 2014
Third reading: October 1 - 31, 2015
Fourth reading: October 1 - 31, 2016
Feb 03, 2010 Stephen rated it really liked it
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)
Oct 15, 2014 Randee rated it really liked it
I could recommend this book to anyone from 9 to 90...well, at least, a mature, sophisticated 9. Actually a 9 year old that loves animals would probably like it without understanding some of the dicier concepts. I pretty obviously do not have children so perhaps those with children can set me straight if they would read it to their child or let them read it themselves. All I'm trying to say is that I think all ages could enjoy this on different levels. I, myself, am very childlike when I'm not fa ...more
Oct 06, 2008 Brooke rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008, fantasy
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
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Roger Zelazny: A Night in the Lonesome October - Spoilers! 189 183 Aug 26, 2016 05:57AM  
Beyond Reality: Lonesome October - Finished! 19 41 Dec 30, 2012 10:29PM  
Beyond Reality: Lonesome October - By the Day 149 85 Oct 31, 2012 05:22PM  
Beyond Reality: Lonesome October Artwork; Cover & Chapter 38 102 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 dea ...more
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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.”
“I took Jack his slippers this evening and lay at his feet before a roaring fire while he smoked his pipe, sipped sherry, and read the newspaper. He read aloud everything involving killings, arsons, mutilations, grave robberies, church desecrations, and unusual thefts. It is very pleasant just being domestic sometimes.” 0 likes
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