Roger Zelazny discussion

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Amber > Amber - General comments - Spoilers

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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments If you've read the entire series & all the short stories, read this topic. If you haven't, beware!

Spoilers are allowed for the entire series!


message 2: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments After reading almost every book & story that exists about Amber, I still have so many questions! That's one of the things that makes all of Zelazny's work so fascinating; he doesn't over explain. He scatters mysteries like a tree loses leaves in the Fall. This drives some people nuts.

I've found that re-reads help clear up some of the mysteries. Reading close for little details & then sitting back & looking at overall themes. Picking up allusions & metaphors is a huge help, often they're the central clue. As an English major, his knowledge of literature far exceeds mine, though.


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Grimward wrote in http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2... : "I go back and forth on which series I like more. I definitely like the addition of Ghostwheel, though, and the balancing act between Logrus, Ghostwheel and native powers from Amber and Chaos is an..."

I agree. I liked Ghostwheel. It was a fantastic idea. There were a lot of good things about the Merlin cycle that added depth to the Amber universe.

I really thought Corwin got shorted & not in a proper manner. He gets tossed into prison & forgotten like a broom shoved to the back of a cupboard. I really would have liked to explore his pattern & the worlds that lay beyond it some more.


message 4: by Mir (new)

Mir | 21 comments Yes, I really wanted that thread expanded.

I sometimes felt a reluctant suspicion that by book 8 or 9 Zelazny had made everything so complicated that even he couldn't quite straighten it out...


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments That's possible, Miriam. It's interesting that he rarely worked from any kind of outline or notes. That's best seen in the 'errors' in Corwin's memory between 'Nine Princes' & 'Guns of Avalon'. All those mistakes were actually Zelazny's!


message 6: by Jackie (last edited May 30, 2010 09:46PM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) From what I've heard, I didn't think the Merlin cycle would be as good as the orginal 5. But I think it's fabulous.
I absolutely love Ghostwheel and Frakir to a lesser extent.
The best part of Amber is the Shadow worlds; I find some of these them quite unique and highly imaginative. Even when we're there for just a short time. And I actually like that Zelazny doesn't over-explain, it leaves much for my own imagination to conjure.
Currently I'm on #9 Knight of Shadows and I am completely blown away by the negative world Merlin finds himself in. Such a common thing, a film negative. And Zelazny turns it into something fantastic and alien.
I'm looking forward to the short stories that come next before starting on #10.
It's been one hell of a ride so far!
Thanks Jim!


message 7: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Glad you like it. Don't forget to read the short Amber stories, too.

I have a couple of other comments, but I'll wait until you're done.


message 8: by ckovacs (new)

ckovacs | 142 comments Jackie wrote: "I'm looking forward to the short stories that come next before starting on #10."

The short stories come *after* #10, not before.


message 9: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Not the prologue to the "Trumps of Doom" which isn't in the paperback version. Wasn't there a partial about the Hall of Mirrors that came earlier too?


message 10: by ckovacs (new)

ckovacs | 142 comments The Prolog isn't a short story.

The five Amber short stories (The Salesman's Tale; Blue Horse, Dancing Mountains; The Shroudling and The Guisel; Coming to a Cord; Hall of Mirrors) are meant to be read after Prince of Chaos and in that order: they largely take place after that book, although they also explain some of the events that took place during books 6-10. They won't make sense read before Prince of Chaos and they will contain spoilers to the events of that book.

The story fragment "A Secret of Amber" takes place between book 5 and 6 and doesn't contain any spoilers because it is completely independent.


message 11: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) I'm glad I mentioned the short stories because I was told: Read book Amber 09 – “Knight Of Shadows.pdf” & then the short stories, then Amber 10 – “Prince of Chaos”.
I don't want spoilers. Thank you for correcting me.


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Chris, the prologue is considered by many to be a short story since it was published as one in Manna from Heaven. If we'd seen it actually printed in the paperbacks, it might have a different feel, but it wasn't. I think that was a poor decision.


message 13: by ckovacs (new)

ckovacs | 142 comments What was a poor decision?


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Not putting the prologue into the paperback book.


message 15: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) I finished Knight of Shadows and I have to say it's my favorite of The Merlin Cycle. I'm on Prince of Chaos now. I love this series. I can't wait to finish and find out everything I want to know but at the same time I don't want it to end. Ever.

Has anyone else continued the Amber stories?


message 16: by ckovacs (new)

ckovacs | 142 comments Jim wrote: "Not putting the prologue into the paperback book."

That wasn't a poor decision, it was a legal requirement. The Prolog (which, according to Zelazny, was a prolog [hence it's name:] and not a stand-alone short story) was written for the limited edition hardcover from Underwood-Miller. The limited edition came out months after the regular hardcover. There's an exclusivity clause with such things, the idea being to make people want to buy the limited edition hardcover. Once the limited edition is sold out then it no longer matters. So when the paperback came out one year after the regular hardcover (and less than one year after the limited edition), it was too soon because the right to republish the Prolog did not yet exist. So it wasn't a mistake or poor decision. The paperback would have had to have been delayed a few years, and that wasn't possible either according to the publishing contract with Avon.

What could have been done would be for a later edition of the paperback to have had the Prolog added. But that would have been very expensive because it would have required re-copysetting the entire book (less expensive now with modern technology, but expensive then). So not adding it to later editions of the paperback wasn't really a poor decision either.

I think what may be the poor decision was that whoever put together the one-volume hardcover THE SECOND CHRONICLES OF AMBER or the one-volume paperback THE GREAT BOOK OF AMBER forgot about the Prolog, or didn't know about it, or didn't care about it. That's the place where it could have been added without any problem, and should have been added.


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Interesting. I believe I read all of that in one of the collection books you edited. I really need to get to reading th 5th.

Anyway, it may be sloppy to say the 'prolog' isn't a short story, but that's how it can be found for most of us, so it is. Yes, they certainly should have added it when & as they could to the books.


message 18: by Malaveth (new)

Malaveth (malavethred) | 5 comments As I am reading 'A Dance With Dragons' by George R. R. Martin I came across this passage.

'Those are the stones of the Silent God, and there the enterance to the Patternmakers Maze. Only those who learn to walk it properly will ever find the way to wisdom, the priests of the Pattern say.'


message 19: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Malaveth, I'm just starting ADWD today. Interesting passage. A nod to the Master of the Pattern, I'd say.


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Martin & Zelazny were good friends, lived only a few miles apart, & dined together once a month or so. In the 'Collected Works', there are several times that Martin is quoted about Zelazny. They also worked together on the 'Wild Card' series, Martin as the editor, Zelazny as a contributor of one of the most memorable characters, Croyd, the Sleeper. So, I'm sure it was a nod to the Master of the Pattern.


message 21: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Nice. I didn't know their history. I love when one author acknowledges another, it's a high compliment indeed...even more so than us rabid fans, lol


message 22: by Malaveth (new)

Malaveth (malavethred) | 5 comments Didn't notice until recently that wild cards was being republished.


message 23: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Thanks, Malaveth. Thats worth a topic, so I made one here:
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/6...


message 24: by Dj (last edited Jul 04, 2013 12:46PM) (new)

Dj Drummond | 17 comments ckovacs wrote: "The Prolog isn't a short story.

The five Amber short stories (The Salesman's Tale; Blue Horse, Dancing Mountains; The Shroudling and The Guisel; Coming to a Cord; Hall of Mirrors) are meant to be..."


Has anyone else tried finishing 'Secret'? I've been working on writing a full version of the the story for a while but it's hard to tie into the canon. It's also hard to figure out a reasonable ending.


message 25: by Dj (new)

Dj Drummond | 17 comments ckovacs wrote: "Jackie wrote: "I'm looking forward to the short stories that come next before starting on #10."

The short stories come *after* #10, not before."


And they are full of fascinating hints, aren't they? Any thoughts on the contender for the Crown of Chaos that even Mandor considers a worthy adversary?


message 26: by Dj (new)

Dj Drummond | 17 comments A few things to chew on, if you haven't already:

The first cycle focused on Amber. The second cycle focused on Chaos.

The first book of each cycle featured the imprisonment of the main character.

The final book of each cycle saw the death of a King, and a new King.

Corwin was betrayed by a love. So was Merlin.

Corwin depended on his magic word, Grayswandir. Merlin depended on his shadow computer construct, Ghostwheel.

In each of the first to cycles, the hero grew through the books from a self-centered person to a duty-focused person.

'Mandor' is an anagram of 'Random'. Significant?

And what about Bill Roth? He saves Corwin's life in the first series, wrote the Patternfall Treaty at the end of the war in the first series, he is a trusted confidant of Merlin, and was referenced in Suhuy's scrying pool of people involved in the crown succession. Is there more to Bill than we were told?

After escaping from the Pattern, Luke makes his way almost immediately to Vialle. Vialle continues to favor Luke (remember she gave him her ring as a sign of protection, which irritated Random and he – don’t forget – does not like or trust Luke). There is a connection between Luke and Vialle which indicates a subplot.

The name of Brand is important. In the second series, we see that his name is important to Jasra, Dara, and Jurt, and in the short stories the name is important to Delwin (but who is repelled by mention of Jasra).

A race called the Shroudlings, apparently a mix of moralists, assassins, and ghouls, live in a dimension beyond the mirrors accessible only under certain unusual circumstances which they largely control.

Werewindle and Grayswandir are not merely swords, but are Spikards, tools of tremendous power and also seem to have some degree of free will. By the way, from ‘Prince of Chaos’ we get a strong hint that not only was the original pattern drawn with Grayswandir (as was Corwin’s pattern), but parts of the pattern are copied from the sword’s design.

Curious, curious ...


Brenda ╰☆╮    (brnda) | 36 comments I am in the process of doing a re-read of the series....so I may have forgotten.....but I thought that Grayswandir was an ordinary sword, until Corwin took it through the Pattern with him the first time.


message 28: by Dj (new)

Dj Drummond | 17 comments Brenda ╰☆╮ wrote: "I am in the process of doing a re-read of the series....so I may have forgotten.....but I thought that Grayswandir was an ordinary sword, until Corwin took it through the Pattern with him the first..."

Other way around, actually. Grayswandir and Werewindle are brother blades, as well as reformed spikards.

Also, in 'Prince of Chaos', page 1248 (Great Book ref), Pseudo Corwin says "not even the Pattern can duplicate Grayswandir."

Merlin comments "I thought a section of the Pattern was reproduced on the blade."

"Maybe it's the other way around"


message 29: by Brenda ╰☆╮ (last edited Jul 06, 2013 07:51AM) (new)

Brenda ╰☆╮    (brnda) | 36 comments Oh...I see how I missed it...
I haven't read the short stories yet.
;)


In the Amber short story "Hall of Mirrors", Corwin revealed that Grayswandir and Werewindle were transformed spikards. Spikards are rings of power that existed before Amber, and possibly even Chaos, were created; they allow the bearer to tap into a power source somewhere in shadow.


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