Jim's Reviews > A Rose for Ecclesiastes

A Rose for Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny
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Dec 19, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, scifi, 1paper, 2fiction
Read from October 11 to 14, 2014

Oct2014: Reading with the Sci-fi and Heroic Fantasy group
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

Introduction 1967 essay by Theodore Sturgeon
was pretty good. Kind of convoluted, but I agreed with a lot of what he said about Zelazny's writing.

The Furies 1965 novelette by Zelazny
featuring Sandor Sandor, Benedick Benedict and Lynx Links, has always been my favorite story in this collection. Zelazny switches my sympathies around like a mixer. Who is right? Anyone? The characters & the differences in the style are interesting, too.

The Graveyard Heart 1964 novella by Zelazny
While this has often been touted as a great story, I just don't get the attraction. A note of interest, the name of the poetry collection in this story is his, one he submitted to a contest at Yale. He didn't win & later decided there wasn't any money in it, but used some of those poems in this story.

The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth 1965 novelette by Zelazny
This is set on Venus as the last story is set on Mars. It's not a true Venus, but a romanticized one - a fishing story of courage & memories, a need to prove oneself.

The way he slowly introduces the character is wonderful. I think I was over halfway through before he really became clear. (view spoiler) That slow revelation while the action keeps rolling makes the story far more interesting.

A Rose for Ecclesiastes 1963 novelette by Zelazny
I don't know why this story is last since it was the first published, but they appear in reverse order. Zelazny said he really wanted to write a story about the old Mars of SF, the one ERB, Bradbury & others had written of, but there was time pressure. The Mariner Mars mission was launched in 1964. He felt that he couldn't write this sort of story after it had brought the real Mars into public awareness.

It's not a bad idea to read up a bit on Ecclesiastes before reading this story if you're not familiar with it. Before reading this, my knowledge stopped at a few quotes & the Byrd's song, so I read the SparkNotes:
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/oldtest...
& skimmed the NIV version, which seemed to be the easiest to read. It's free online here:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?...
They do help bring the point into clearer focus, but aren't necessary.


Original Review: This book was titled "Four for Tomorrow" in the U.S. & both editions contain the same 4 stories.

The title story is one of his most famous stories & rightfully so. It's another story set on a fictional Mars, with a dying Martian race & Earthmen to study them. It doesn't sound too appealing - more hackneyed than anything. It is nothing of the kind. It's touching - a romance mystery. 'Rose' also appears in his collection "The Lamps of His Mouth, The Doors of His Face" as well as in a couple of other anthologies.

My favorite story in the collection is "The Furies". Imagine the Greek Furies in the far future when man is on many planets.

Well worth reading.
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10/11/2014 marked as: currently-reading
10/16/2014 marked as: read

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