Roger Zelazny discussion

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About Zelany & his works > About Roger Zelazny

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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I never met him except through his books, reading interviews &/or second hand through a couple of people. I think he was very interesting. Discuss various aspects of his life here.


message 2: by Janny (last edited Aug 11, 2009 04:44PM) (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 7 comments He was a shy man with a steely glint in his eyes, apt to be present and not say very much. He hated to personalize when he signed books, preferring just to put a signature, but he did respond with a postcard, to fan mail.

I had written, just once, thanking him for his inspiration as significant in my choice to pursue a career in writing - the letter went with a copy of Stormwarden, just after that book hit print. I kept the card on my desk as a talisman for many years, after that.

Uncanny, how I found it just moments ago - here's what it said, in his ruler-straight, very neat, and quite MINIATURE script:

Dear Janny Wurts,

I'm just back in town, & I find here the copy of Stormwarden & your note.

Thank you very much. I appreciate your writing & telling me the things you mentioned. And I'm happy to have a signed copy of your book. I anticipate its reading with pleasure.

Good fortune to you with all of your future projects.

Prosper and flourish!
Roger


message 3: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments That's cool! Great that you still have it, although I can't imagine tossing it. Still, it's been a number of years.

I seem to recall Steven Brust mentioning that he didn't talk a lot, but when he did, it was worth listening to. I got the impression he was like my paternal grandfather that way.


message 4: by Erich (new)

Erich Franz Linner-Guzmann (erichfranzlinnerguzmann) | 22 comments That is awesome Janny, I would love to have something personalized by my favorite authors. Sadly my top 5 favorite authors have all passed. It is too bad I didn't read Zelazny when he was alive because I was too young to appreciate him. it would have been amazing though to have met him.


message 5: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I know Janny won't say it, so I will. She's selling autographed copies of some of her books. I have gotten as many as I could. Well worth reading.


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments In an email, Janny wrote to me, "I LIKED the fact the books [Zelazny's:] were hard to get - that everything wasn't served up on a platter, or even, had to have meaning I could connect to. What I love about Zelazny's stuff is the stretch to the mind as you TRY. It takes you places you'd NEVER...crazy making concepts that just bend all hell out of preconceptions...and I realize, this shoulda been a post!"

She said I should quote her, so I did & I don't disagree with anything she said, but what I like about Zelazny is that I CAN think about his stories if I want to, but don't have to. Some are poetic, others have styles that are out of this world, but most of all - they're all easily readable. The surface story stands on its own & when I'm done, I want more.

If I decide to really think about them, read into the layers of allusions & metaphors miles deep, then I really have my hands full. I'm not as smart or as well read as he was, so I don't think I ever really 'get' all that he's saying.

They have a sense of mystery about them. I've never read one of his stories & felt that I "knew it all". Sometimes, I'm left wishing for Paul Harvey & "The Rest of the Story". I think he built a complex history for everyone & thing, then combed his stories for details & randomly tossed some away.

I just realized every paragraph I wrote was an advertisement for re-reading his stories. Well, that's the truth.


message 7: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 7 comments Here are a few reminiscences:

I heard it said by one magazine editor, that Zelazny was the downfall of a generation of new writers. They'd read something of his, attempt to imitate, and fall flat on their faces, without ever realizing where they'd gone wrong.

Zelazny's work taught me a different sort of lesson: the value of solid experience and research. I had read thousands of books of every sort, with sword fights in them...and seen all the B movies. When I read Zelazny, bang! it was a straight shot, that he'd DONE FENCING. His sword battles read like nothing I had ever experienced, EVER.

The hair-raising precision of detail put you straight into the story frame...and taught me a lesson I've taken to heart ever since: that the edge provided by good research, and even better, direct experience, can bring to a work is PRICELESS.

Every single story I have ever done has been improved by Zelazny's example.

And that is just one instance, where I owe him the debt of fine inspiration.


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments My wife, who really likes the Robert Jordan series, almost quit reading it one day after reading about an archer who stuck his bow through the saddle girth to hold it. No one, including the horse, seemed to think anything of it. Gaffs like that are tough to take, especially when you're somewhat knowledgeable about the subject & she is about horses.

I've noticed your sailing scenes & horses are very true to life, Janny. Yours are of the few books that my wife has no problems with the horses in. Most authors seem to think they're cars. I think it was a lesson well learned.


message 9: by Hien (new)

Hien Janny wrote: "Here are a few reminiscences:

I heard it said by one magazine editor, that Zelazny was the downfall of a generation of new writers. They'd read something of his, attempt to imitate, and fall flat ..."


Yes, I did some fencing back in my college days and it was very obvious when reading his books that he had a background in fencing.



message 10: by Casey (new)

Casey | 25 comments "He was a shy man with a steely glint in his eyes, apt to be present and not say very much. He hated to personalize when he signed books, preferring just to put a signature, but he did respond with a postcard, to fan mail."

I can vouch for this. I was lucky enough to meet him at a convention just a few short months before his passing. He was quiet and unassuming, when he did speak it was worth the hearing. He signed a number of books for me and was extremely gracious. (I've even bought additional copies of many of them so I don't read the signed ones.) I also once got a post card back before Frost & Fire was published mentioning it to me. With all the moves I've made it has likely been lost.


Brenda ╰☆╮    (brnda) | 36 comments There's so much to read around here, tgat I've missed this thread.
: )

Gotta say I totally agree with you, Jim.
You can enjoy Zelazny's books and not delve deep, but still enjoy it.

But when you do try to understand the allusions....it becomes a whole new experience.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Stormwarden (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Steven Brust (other topics)