Roger Zelazny discussion

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Group Reads > November 2009

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message 1: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 934 comments What should we read this month by Roger Zelazny besides the next Amber book, Sign of the Unicorn? Please, make suggestions!

Last month, This Immortal & Creatures of Light and Darkness were the other nominees & each got 5 votes. After some of the comments I've seen, I'm thinking these are a little too far out for those new to Zelazny. I'll include them in the poll for November, unless I hear otherwise.

How about we try something a little more mainstream, say Jack of Shadows. I just read about the correction, so I got thinking about it.

OR

Changeling, which is also contained in the omnibus Wizard World with the sequel, Madwand.


message 2: by Dan, Jack of Shadows (new)

Dan Schwent (akaGunslinger) | 55 comments I'd be up for reading Changeling. Eye of Cat and The Changing Land both sound fairly straightforward as well.


message 3: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments Creatures of Light and Darkness is getting a reprint in what, six months? Maybe save it until then?


message 4: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 934 comments Is it really? Cool! Sounds good to me. Any changes to it?


message 5: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 81 comments I've seen that on Creatures too, on Amazon....

I have also been eyeing Changeling...I used to have a copy of Wizard World but lost it before I could read it. I've been thinking about getting another one.


message 6: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 934 comments OK, so far we have:

This Immortal
Creatures of Light and Darkness
Jack of Shadows
Changeling
Eye of Cat
The Changing Land

Since I'm so late in asking (Sorry about that, I forgot!) I'd like to get a poll up soon, probably by tonight so I can let the poll run through the weekend. Any additions or deletions?


message 7: by Erich (new)

Erich Franz Linner-Guzmann (ErichFranzLinnerGuzmann) | 22 comments "Eye of Cat" sounds really good! It has the galaxy's most skilled hunter that is asked to use his skill to protect an important political mission and seeks out a telepathic creature "Cat".... This one sounds great!


message 8: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 934 comments I must admit to never caring that much for "Eye of Cat". Of those on the current list, it is the one I remember the least fondly, but I probably haven't read it for 10 years, either. I'm voting for "Jack of Shadows"


message 9: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments I'll be voting for either Changeling or The Changing Land since I can get those from my local library.


message 10: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 934 comments Sheesh! It would help if someone put up the poll.

I did it & sent out a message to all. Sorry I'm running a week late.


message 11: by Mohammed, Dilvish The Damned (last edited Oct 26, 2009 11:24AM) (new)

Mohammed (Maxamed) | 83 comments Changeling i will vote for too since of all the books mentioned its the one i have at home in Wizard World omnibus.





message 12: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 934 comments It looks like Changeling won! It's a fun book. I'm looking forward to reading it again.


message 13: by Mohammed, Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed (Maxamed) | 83 comments That was lucky because it won only with one vote more and i forgot to vote :P





message 14: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 934 comments I didn't give folks much time. If you all don't see me start a topic on time in November for the December read, please feel free to start it &/or yell.

We should probably start asking around the beginning of the month & set up the polls by the 10th. That way we can have a week of voting & still allow folks time to get the book.

Is that right?
Anyone have a different time line?
How much time do you need to get a book?
To vote?

Please, let me know. I've voted for some books for December reads already. I find it hard to think that far ahead though.


message 15: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 81 comments I'd say start the nomination process at the beginning of the month..it wouldn't take long to do it with a smallish group.


message 16: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments Your time line sounds pretty good Jim. Two weeks should be enough time to find a copy.

An alternative though might be to decide on the books now for the club reading several months in advance (i.e next month we'd vote on Dec, Jan, and Feb month's books) so that everyone has more time to hunt them down. The only disadvantage would be that it would disenfranchise new group members.


message 17: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 934 comments When I see a vote for something in December & it's still September or October, I tend to skip it. "I'm busy. I'll get to that later." or "Sheesh! It's only September!" Maybe I'm alone in that.

I have a huge to-read pile & can't list the books in it or the order I want to read them in. It's more of a "I just read a fantasy, let's try SF or Horror or Mystery or NonFiction. Which one look interesting?" I guess I'm just a moody reader.


message 18: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments Jim wrote: "Sheesh! It would help if someone put up the poll.

I did it & sent out a message to all. Sorry I'm running a week late."


By the way, I did not receive that message, and given the low voter turnout, I wonder if I was the only one.


message 19: by Mohammed, Dilvish The Damned (last edited Oct 28, 2009 04:59AM) (new)

Mohammed (Maxamed) | 83 comments Jim wrote: "When I see a vote for something in December & it's still September or October, I tend to skip it. "I'm busy. I'll get to that later." or "Sheesh! It's only September!" Maybe I'm alone in that. ..."

I'm exactly the same, my siblings who are more of a series readers of fantasy wonder why i dont finish/catch up to a series when i have the books.

I tell them i cant control what i read, i cant read the greatest of writers even when my mind/reader inside wants a horror or historical book next.




message 20: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 934 comments Thanks, Greyweather. I wonder what happened to the message. Did I goof or did GR have an issue? I'm new at this, but it prompts you at the end of the poll & automatically selects all the group members. It looked pretty fool proof.

Dan has offered to do the poll & all next month, so we'll see how it goes for him.


message 21: by Joy H. (last edited Oct 28, 2009 07:42PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 80 comments Jim wrote: "It looks like Changeling won! It's a fun book. I'm looking forward to reading it again."

Oh, good, Jim. I reserved _Changeling_ at our library and I've been notified that it has just come in.

Where are the poll results? I've searched around the group home page for that poll but can't find it.
Ooops! I found it! It's at:
http://www.goodreads.com/poll/list/22...


message 22: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 934 comments There's also a 'polls' link in the top right hand corner of each page, just above 'search discussion posts', Joy. You can always see all polls by clicking on it.

I wonder how you'll like this? I think you will, as it is more of a 'straight' fantasy. Well, it's as straight as anything Zelazny has ever done.


message 23: by Mohammed, Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed (Maxamed) | 83 comments Sometimes a simple,straight fantasy is more complex than a big world building,multi characters work.


Specially when its done by quality authors.


message 24: by Joy H. (last edited Oct 29, 2009 05:44AM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 80 comments Jim wrote: "There's also a 'polls' link in the top right hand corner of each page, just above 'search discussion posts', Joy. You can always see all polls by clicking on it.
I wonder how you'll like this? I..."


Yes, Jim, that's how I found the poll, by clicking on that link. Is there another poll-link (somewhere on a group page) besides that one?

As for _Changeling_, I haven't picked it up at the library yet. It's there waiting for me on the reserve shelf.

While searching GR for the book, _Changeling_, I noticed that there are several other books with "Changeling" in their title. There are also several movies:
http://www.netflix.com/Search?v1=chan...

I looked up the definition of "changeling" and found the following:
===================================================
1. (mythology) In British and Irish mythology, an infant of a fairy or sprite that the fairy has secretly exchanged for a human infant.
2. (informal, rare) An infant secretly exchanged with another infant.
3. (science fiction and fantasy) An organism which can change shape to mimic others.
ABOVE WAS FROM: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/changeling

Other definitions found elsewhere:

-a child exchanged for another by fairies: in folklore, a child who is secretly substituted for another one by fairies

-a child substituted secretly for parent's true child, especially ugly or backward child supposedly left by fairies

-(especially in stories) a baby who is secretly used to take the place of another baby

-a person of subnormal intelligence

-a fickle person

All above are from links found at:
http://www.onelook.com/?w=changeling&...
====================================================
I look forward to finding out which definition Zelazny used in his book... or if he created a new definition of his own.


message 25: by Joy H. (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 80 comments Mohammed wrote: "Sometimes a simple,straight fantasy is more complex than a big world building,multi characters work. Specially when its done by quality authors."

I believe that a "quality author" should make any story clear, whether it has many characters or few. I don't tolerate ambiguity well and that's why I object to many of the so-called "postmodern" works.

BTW, I doubt if there's a good definition of postmodern/postmodernism anywhere. Wiki says:
=====================================================
"Postmodern literature, like postmodernism as a whole, is hard to define and there is little agreement on the exact characteristics, scope, and importance of postmodern literature."
FROM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmode...
=====================================================
Even when you try to learn what postmodernism is (pertaining to literature), it seems that it's hard to find a clear, concise definition of it. The definition is as opaque as some of the literature. Whenever I hear the word "postmodern", my hackles go up. :) Deliver me from postmodernism. LOL

Sorry to go off on a tangent. I suppose one way to avoid postmodern literature is to read fantasy and SF. Or has it infected those genres too?


message 26: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 934 comments Joy, sometimes links to polls get sent, like the one you posted. I thought you were looking for that.

Zelazny didn't care much for tags. He was tagged as a 'new wave' writer, which I think he was OK with. It differentiated his generation of writers from the other SF giants. He didn't like genre restrictions, though. He liked writing what he wanted & figured it was up to others to decide what genre it was, if they wanted to bother.

It's hard to tell what genre most of his stuff is. I'd call this book a fantasy, but it has a strong SF thread running through it. I won't argue the point because I don't care. It's a good story with an interesting plot & characters.


message 27: by Joy H. (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 80 comments Jim wrote: "... Zelazny didn't care much for tags. He was tagged as a 'new wave' writer, which I think he was OK with. It differentiated his generation of writers from the other SF giants. He didn't like genre restrictions, though. He liked writing what he wanted & figured it was up to others to decide what genre it was, if they wanted to bother. It's hard to tell what genre most of his stuff is. I'd call this book a fantasy, but it has a strong SF thread running through it. I won't argue the point because I don't care. It's a good story with an interesting plot & characters."

Yep, Jim. I wouldn't want to pinpoint any writer's style with complicated terminology and categorization. Let it be what it is.

On the other hand, sometimes it helps to use genre-terminology to help a reader understand what he or she is getting into when picking up a book. It helps the reader make choices.

Again, on the other hand, a reader may decide not to read a certain genre because of a bad experience with that genre. That decision may make him miss some good reading, something he might have enjoyed. So I guess we have to take all this categorization with a grain of salt.

For a long time I've wondered about SF and Fantasy. I avoided it because I assumed I wouldn't enjoy it, but at the same time, I wanted to try it. I just didn't know where a person like myself should begin. Thanks to you, Jackie, and Werner, I've dipped my big toe in the SF & F waters. It has felt strange but interesting. I hope to get used to it and learn to appreciate it.


message 28: by Mohammed, Dilvish The Damned (last edited Oct 29, 2009 10:54AM) (new)

Mohammed (Maxamed) | 83 comments The problem with many of today fantasy books for me is there is no clear story,strong characters. Everyone is trying to be complex,multi characters,huge world building series. World building is boring in adventure fantasy when its not written by great writers.

Thats why i like reading a simpler type of fantasy that is written well. GRRM,Steve Erikson and their likes are a bore when its only about the lenght of the series,how much you can build over the books.

Nothing finer than reading simpler type of fantasy by quality writers like RZ,Vance,Tim Powers,Kearney for a few examples even if they do different types of fantasy.


message 29: by Joy H. (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 80 comments Mohammed wrote: "... Nothing finer than reading simpler type of fantasy by quality writers like RZ,Vance,Tim Powers,Kearney for a few examples even if they do different types of fantasy."

Hmmm, maybe that's the direction I should take... the simpler type of fantasy. Thanks for mentioning those authors (RZ,Vance,Tim Powers,Kearney). BTW, who is GRRM?


message 30: by Greyweather (last edited Oct 29, 2009 11:13AM) (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments GRRM = George R.R. Martin, best known as the author of the Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series and as the editor of the Wild Cards series.


message 31: by Joy H. (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 80 comments Greyweather wrote: "GRRM = George R.R. Martin, best known as the author of the Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series and as the editor of the Wild Cards series."

Thank you, Greyweather. It's all new to me.


message 32: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments I'm happy to oblige.

Joy H. (of Glens Falls) wrote: "I suppose one way to avoid postmodern literature is to read fantasy and SF. Or has it infected those genres too? "

There are definitely genre authors to which I think that label could apply, in particular ones who are often referred to as members of The New Weird.


message 33: by Mohammed, Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed (Maxamed) | 83 comments Joy H. (of Glens Falls) wrote: "Mohammed wrote: "... Nothing finer than reading simpler type of fantasy by quality writers like RZ,Vance,Tim Powers,Kearney for a few examples even if they do different types of fantasy."

Hmmm, ma..."


Look up those authors(except RZ of course) they are criticly hailed writers for the right reasons. David Gemmell too.

See how they sound to you. There are fantasy readers who have original stories,strong character stories and high literary ability.

Which is importing to read when you are new to the genre. To see what you like and what you dont like.

When i was new i was saved by those type of authors. My first fantasy writer was R.A Salvatore, the most generic type fantasy there is. Dungeon and Dragons filled of cliche....




message 34: by Greyweather (last edited Oct 29, 2009 11:51AM) (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments Mohammed wrote: "When i was new i was saved by those type of authors. My first fantasy writer was R.A Salvatore, the most generic type fantasy there is. Dungeon and Dragons filled of cliche...."

Of course some people prefer exactly that kind of fantasy, what I like to call "popcorn fantasy". It all depends on what a reader wants to get out of their reading experience.

Going back to Tim Powers, I agree he is an excellent author and I especially recommend his novel Last Call.


message 35: by Joy H. (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 80 comments Greyweather wrote: "I'm happy to oblige.
Joy H. (of Glens Falls) wrote: "I suppose one way to avoid postmodern literature is to read fantasy and SF. Or has it infected those genres too? "
"There are definitely genre authors to which I think that label could apply, in particular ones who are often referred to as members of The New Weird. "


That's interesting to know, GW. Forewarned is forearmed. :)


message 36: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 22 comments Joy H. (of Glens Falls) wrote: "Mohammed wrote: "Sometimes a simple,straight fantasy is more complex than a big world building,multi characters work. Specially when its done by quality authors."

I believe that a "quality author"..."


Hi Joy. A lot of "postmodernism" argues the point of what defines a "quality author." MModernism had created such an aloof quality to "The Great Author" that early postmodernists wished to point out that more popular idoims had as much validity as so-called "high art." Therefore genres such as sci-fi, fantasy and horror as they grew in popularity in the '60's and '70's came under the umbrella definition of "postmodern" just by nature of their being popular, and even "campy" in the way that Susan Sontag defined that term in the early '60's.

The trouble is that postmodernists wanted to keep certain aspects of modernism, even in their "campiness." Specifically, artists wanted to continue reflecting the chaos of the world around them by blowing apart their art and trying to piece it back together in interesting ways, even while catering to the demands of commodity, gender-equality and popular iconography. So we can get very convoluted, difficult-to-access forms that are also labelled "postmodern."

Naturally, from this convoluted state of affairs, some people, if not most people, are going to like some forms of postmodernism and not others. You ask if sci-fi and fantasy have been "infected" by postmodernism? Well, I think they are by their very existence as popular forms; but moreover, they are popular forms that play on thinking men and women's issues, and in that way , they are more or less the very definition of postmodern.




message 37: by Joy H. (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 80 comments Mohammed wrote: "Look up those authors(except RZ of course) they are criticly hailed writers for the right reasons. David Gemmell too.
See how they sound to you. There are fantasy readers who have original stories,strong character stories and high literary ability. ... When i was new i was saved by those type of authors. My first fantasy writer was R.A Salvatore, the most generic type fantasy there is. Dungeon and Dragons filled of cliche...."


I'm not sure I'm ready for Dungeons and Dragons. :)


message 38: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments Joy H. (of Glens Falls) wrote: "I'm not sure I'm ready for Dungeons and Dragons."

Speaking as someone who actually likes Dungeons and Dragons on the whole, I can assure you that you can skip those novels without detriment.


message 39: by Joy H. (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 80 comments Nick wrote: "... Naturally, from this convoluted state of affairs, some people, if not most people, are going to like some forms of postmodernism and not others. You ask if sci-fi and fantasy have been "infected" by postmodernism? Well, I think they are by their very existence as popular forms; but moreover, they are popular forms that play on thinking men and women's issues, and in that way , they are more or less the very definition of postmodern."

Nick - I see by your profile that your favorite books are by postmodern authors. :)

It seems strange to think of SF and Fantasy as postmodern. I am beginning to realize that the definition of postmodern is so broad that it's really an umbrella term for many kinds of literature. That just confuses the issue further. :)


message 40: by Joy H. (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 80 comments Greyweather wrote: "Speaking as someone who actually likes Dungeons and Dragons on the whole, I can assure you that you can skip those novels without detriment."

GW, that's good to know. :)


message 41: by Joy H. (last edited Oct 29, 2009 12:21PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 80 comments Greyweather wrote: "Going back to Tim Powers, I agree he is an excellent author and I especially recommend his novel Last Call."

GW, Thanks for the recommendation.


message 42: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments Joy H. (of Glens Falls) wrote: "Greyweather wrote: "Speaking as someone who actually likes Dungeons and Dragons on the whole, I can assure you that you can skip those novels without detriment."

GW, that's good to know. :)"


With authors like Tim Powers, Jonathan Carroll, and Ursula K. Le Guin waiting to be read, I would go so far as to say that D&D novels would be a waste of your time.


message 43: by Joy H. (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 80 comments Greyweather wrote: "With authors like Tim Powers, Jonathan Carroll, and Ursula K. Le Guin waiting to be read, I would go so far as to say that D&D novels would be a waste of your time."

GW, I tried Le Guin's _Searoad_ a while ago. The book wasn't to my taste. Haven't tried the other authors you mentioned.


message 44: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments Joy H. (of Glens Falls) wrote: "GW, I tried Le Guin's _Searoad_ a while ago. The book wasn't to my taste. Haven't tried the other authors you mentioned. "

I haven't read that one so I don't know if it is a good or bad example of her work. The good news is there is no shortage of alternatives if you don't care for a particular genre author.


message 45: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 934 comments My favorite by LeGuin was the Earth Sea trilogy, which has now been expanded to 5 books. I'm not reading the next 2,though. The trilogy is fine by itself. On the SF side, I loved her "Lathe of Heaven". It was a good movie, too.


message 46: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments I think I'm one of the few who preferred her latest fantasy novel, Lavinia, to her Earthsea books. The Lathe of Heaven was very good as well but my favorite is definitely The Left Hand of Darkness. I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on The Dispossessed too.


message 47: by Joy H. (last edited Oct 29, 2009 04:52PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 80 comments Jim and GW, Netflix has 2 DVDs which are based on LeGuin's _The Lathe of Heaven_. See the Netflix page here: http://www.netflix.com/Search?v1=Lath...
Although I'm curious about the story, I'm not sure it's for me because Neflix says:
"This movie is: Mind-bending, Dark, Cerebral."
Right now I need something lighter.


message 48: by Greyweather (last edited Oct 29, 2009 05:27PM) (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments I haven't seen either of the screen adaptations.

Joy H. (of Glens Falls) wrote: "Right now I need something lighter. "

I recommend Galaxy Quest or WALL-E.


message 49: by Joy H. (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 80 comments Greyweather wrote: Joy H. (of Glens Falls) wrote: "Right now I need something lighter."
"I recommend Galaxy Quest or WALL-E."


Thanks, GW. I saw "WALL-E". It was a bit strange but cute. I've put "Galaxy Quest" on my Netflix queue. Sounds light and enjoyable, a good way to break into SF. :)
Also, I like Tim Allen.


message 50: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 934 comments Galaxy Quest is pure cheese, but a LOT of fun. It spoofs Star Trek & Trekkies.

It was the 1979 version of 'Lathe of Heaven' that I've seen & liked. It is a little dark, but very good & it does have a good ending.

Another good one is "Zardoz" with Sean Connery. Well, it's not really all that good, but it is. I liked it, anyway. I wouldn't recommend it for you, Joy. It's kind of far out & definitely dated. Have you seen it, Greyweather?


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Books mentioned in this topic

Creatures of Light and Darkness (other topics)
Wizard World (other topics)
Madwand (other topics)
Changeling (other topics)
This Immortal (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Roger Zelazny (other topics)
George R.R. Martin (other topics)
Ursula K. Le Guin (other topics)
Jonathan Carroll (other topics)