Roger Zelazny discussion

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Amber > 1 - Nine Princes in Amber - Spoilers

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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Discussion for Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny only. Spoilers, welcome for this book only!

Please use the "Amber - General comments - Spoilers" topic for spoilers about books further along in the chronology.

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...



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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I started "Nine Princes" today during lunch. (I know, a day early.) I've read the book a dozen times over the years, but it still captivated me immediately. Since I'm not as concerned with reading the story - I know what happens - it's a lot of fun to savor the language & nuances of his writing.

On the first page, as Corwin wakes up he wonders about his circumstances...

"Some natural skepticism as to the purity of all human motives came and sat upon my chest."

This is such an efficient, almost poetic line. Not only does it graphically portray Corwin's feelings, but it gives a lot of insight into him as a person. It's also humorous.

Later, he describes his stolen clothes, "Within two minutes, I'd say, I was garbed all in the color of Moby Dick and vanilla ice cream. Ugly."

OK, not as efficient as 'white', but a lot more fun.



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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I finished "Nine Princes" yesterday. I know Chris has too. Anyone else?

What a fantastic read! I love the way it ends. While I want to read the next book, it's not a bad ending point either. Again, Zelazny is quite poetic, too.


message 4: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (frazerc) | 17 comments I remember madly awaiting Guns of Avalon [2 years:] to find out if Bleys made it - then discovering it is not mentioned at all... Is it Sign of the Unicorn where that is resolved?


message 5: by Jackie (last edited Sep 03, 2009 09:13AM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) I enjoyed it. A lot. Corwin is the only character I like. I guess it's meant to be that way. His family is full of backstabbers and sociopaths. Wow, poor Corwin. How do you deal with people you know you cannot trust?
Why do you think Corwin is so different from his family? It alludes to being on the Shadow Earth, which I'm taking as our Earth. Could that have really made the difference, or was Corwin always different than the rest? His father wanted him to take the Crown and Corwin admitted they weren't close. Why would his father choose him over all the others? How could he have known Corwin changed into a better man? I think Corwin always had it in him, otherwise he'd have reverted to backstabbing with the rest of his siblings once he got back.

I'd like to know what happens to Random. I liked him better than some of the others. I want to know exactly what he did to make everyone hate him so much.
Bleys' body wasn't found so I'm sure he made it out safely through the Shadows. I'm not concerned.

I wasn't thrilled about the end though. It left me hanging too much. I didn't feel any part of it was resolved. He got his sight back and escaped. OK, but that's not enough for me. I get that it's a series, but even in series something is resolved while other things remain open. I felt that nothing was resolved and Corwin was right where he started.
It's a good thing I have the next one or I'd have been pissed. Cindy, 2 years? I'd have lost my mind!





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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I think it might not be until The Hand of Oberon that we know for sure about Bleys. We learn a lot more about him in Sign of the Unicorn, though.

I think the next book, The Guns of Avalon, goes into it in more detail, but it was indeed his time on Shadow Earth that taught Corwin a better sense of humanity & gave him more of a conscience. Up to that point, he was pretty much like the rest of the family, although I think he always had more feelings for people.

He alludes to this in his treatment of Rein, which I found very telling. It says a lot about him that he was a well known poet & recognized his mistakes in his treatment of Rein. He still taught him what he could & acknowledged before going to Earth that Rein was his better at music & poetry.

Still, Corwin is pragmatic & not above being as tough as any of them, IMO. He keeps much of what he knows to himself because it gives him an advantage that he intends to use. Much of what we'd call backstabbing, they call business as usual. Do unto others before they do it unto you...

As for Oberon's choice - keep reading. I can't comment on that at this point.


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments The one thing that bothers me about this book is the matches. Does that bother anyone else?

My reasoning is that there are no guns in Amber. Gunpowder doesn't work. But if you can light a match... well, it doesn't have to be gunpowder, it's still ignition & burning of chemicals.


message 8: by Jackie (last edited Sep 03, 2009 11:07AM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) UGH, no sense of continuity, that's a problem with many books. It doesn't bother me because I won't allow it bother me, but yes, I'd prefer continuity OR give me an explanation of why the matches work but gunpowder doesn't. Even if it's a lame excuse, it's better than nothing.


message 9: by Chris (last edited Sep 03, 2009 10:30AM) (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 84 comments Like with most 1st person accounts, our opinions of other characters are biased/influenced by the narrator's. So it's natural to not like people that Corwin doesn't like. And yes, he kinda likes Random, so we do as well. Generally speaking that is.

I liked Random and would like to see more of him & his background. I kept picturing Steve Buscemi in that role, during his younger "Mr. Pink" days.


message 10: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (frazerc) | 17 comments I suspect Corwin was born slightly different plus when he lost his memory for 400 years he also his sense of entitlement. The whole 'I'm a Prince of Amber - that's why!' [For example, Random planning to off the shadow truck driver to defend Corwin's honor as a Prince of Amber.:]


message 11: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Great point, Cindy!


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments How is everyone doing on "Nine Princes"?

Is anyone else going on to "The Guns of Avalon"?


message 13: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 84 comments I'm planning to go on, but haven't started yet. Trying to get caught up on some other committments first.

Hence the nomination for October. It helps me bump them up to the top if they win polls....heh


message 14: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (frazerc) | 17 comments Still waiting for my copy...but yes!


message 15: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) I'm about 100 pages into guns. I am really liking it so far.


message 16: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments Jim wrote: "I started "Nine Princes" today during lunch. (I know, a day early.) I've read the book a dozen times over the years, but it still captivated me immediately. Since I'm not as concerned with readin..."

Those two sentences made me smile in the first pages. Another writer could have written much more straightforward,less poetic.

The lack of memory,mystery was interesting in the start but how well drawn Corwin came in to the story with thoughts,lines like that was impressive.




JG (Introverted Reader) I just finished this and I have to say that I truly enjoyed Zelazny's style. The quotes that Jim threw out there really struck me too.

I wasn't that crazy about the ending, but if I'm really concerned, I'm reading The First Chronicles of Amber and I can continue on. But I just hate reading a series all in a row. (I can feel Becky's perplexity at this radiating out of my screen)

Speaking of my copy...mine is full of typos that kept distracting me. Is it just my edition? It was truly terrible. It was bad enough that "out" became "our" for example, and I wasn't entirely sure which way Zelazny meant it. Mostly it was just obvious typos, but the meaning could've been changed a couple of times.


message 18: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments JG, the typos are such a shame. I have a 90's reprint of the 1966 Ace version of "This Immortal" & it is full of typos too. It was a really poor run of a great book.


message 19: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (last edited Sep 13, 2009 08:54AM) (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments I thought this story was pure class, a great story and Corwin is a guy you could read a 100 books about. The second half of the story was the best. RZ writing got crisper,more fantastical. Really different than when the story was set in Shadow Earth.

When the story got grimmer, i enjoyed so much more. The battles,the years in prison,how he got out. I didnt plan to start reading The Guns of Avalon riight away but its too good. It starts even strong than the first book.

I planned to read a library book before the next Amber book.


message 20: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (frazerc) | 17 comments I was once told [by an author:] that a great deal of the printing in the US is done by illiterate printers... Given the current trend in outsourcing they may be being printed in China or Bangladesh by non-English speaking printers...


message 21: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments There is no problem like that with my Fantasy Masterwork edition of Chronicles of Amber(book 1-5). Thats why i always buy Gollancz books from that Masterwork series in SFF.


message 22: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) JG,
I got the same edition and I found lots of typos too. It does annoy me, only for the simple fact that Isn't someone paid to check this and make sure it's accurate.
I like to read books all in a row, if it's a series AND if it's good. Some I just have to put down for a while. No yet, with Amber. I'm enjoying it too much.


message 23: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (frazerc) | 17 comments I can recommend a book called Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. A book for all of us who automatically proofread everything from menus to billboards. It's not hugely useful if grammar and punctuation is your goal, but I loved the humor! It's nice to know I'm not alone on proofreading EVERYTHING!


message 24: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Cindy, you're not Internetless! Congrats!

I don't need any help in finding typos, though. I try NOT to find them, but it's hard.

I loved it that Corwin failed so hard, in some ways. The untouchable hero is kind of boring. He's anything but. He can be arrogant, mean & cynical, but he can also be charming, generous & kind - just like a real person. Definitely a character with a lot of depth.


message 25: by Grimward (new)

Grimward | 20 comments Finished my nth re-read (fill in a number before the 'nth', because I've lost track of how many it is!) a couple days ago. Some of the early action scenes (example, at Flora's NY mansion with Random's pursuers) seemed a little rushed this time, but Zelazny's ability to turn a phrase on its head is as good as ever. Will probably move on to Guns after finishing volume IV of the new Collected Stories....


message 26: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments Jim wrote: "Cindy, you're not Internetless! Congrats!

I don't need any help in finding typos, though. I try NOT to find them, but it's hard.

I loved it that Corwin failed so hard, in some ways. The untouc..."


I liked how he went from who cares about Shadow people dying in the battles since they arent from the "real" world,only have short life but then he thinks that Shadow Earth might have softened him,feel sadness for them

Which is a good thing, The Royal family of Amber seem god like, very arrogant with their powers,long life. At the same they can die like a human which is interesting.




message 27: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Corwin's feelings are one of his strengths. That point is made consistently through the book. Part of his fuel for beating Eric in the struggle of wills they have during the naval battle is his concern for his troops.

One of the big battles the whole family seems to fight is boredom. Corwin & his siblings don't seem to have much curiosity & their methods of staying busy would wear thin for me quickly.

It was one of the few areas that I had some issues with in the Corwin cycle & liked better in the Merlin cycle - the curiosity & 'technology' aspects.


message 28: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments I wouldnt be glad with technology involved. I like the fact they have trouble with boredom,what to do after having lived for so long. With technology they would have no limits,be too powerful to be interesting.

Amber,its world is interesting as it is in the early books.

They might be godlike,powerful but their emotions,goals are understandable,human.

I like the selfish,glory hunger of Corwin that wants the throne because he is good enough to overcome Eric.

Yeah that naval battle was interesting because of how Corwin felt for his troops.


message 29: by Libby (new)

Libby | 9 comments I finished 9 Princes and really enjoyed it. It's creative, fast-paced and has a nice helping of witty humor. I'm also glad I found this series AFTER its completion. I'd be very frustrated waiting for the next installment. I'm looking forward to moving on with the series.

I agree with Jim’s statement that “one of the big battles the whole family seems to fight is boredom.” I think their long lives lend themselves to warring against one another. As they seem to be generally immortal, their lack of ethics and outright arrogance would likely stem from a “been there, done that” life perspective. I quite liked this band of “kin without kinship” as their plotting and backstabbing is very entertaining. They remind me a bit of the princes in Neil Gaiman’s Stardust who are all busy killing each other.

Corwin’s character is quite interesting because I get the impression that he was just as ruthless as the rest of them but it appears that while he was on earth with no memory he may have learned some moral standards that now conflict with his newly resumed lifestyle.


message 30: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments Well put Libby about Corwin.

I like the "Kin without kinship" too. Corwin goes from wanting to kill Eric,Julian to saying a sister of his is one he always liked and dont want to harm.

They seem more like casual friends than kin at times.


message 31: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Libby,
I thought the same thing about Stardust and the princes.




message 32: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Corwin & Eric were so much alike. Did you notice that? The others were all different, but those two were peas in a pod. That often makes for the worst kind of relationship - or the best.


message 33: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Often we don't like the people who mirror us, we can see the traits we do not like in ourselves in them.

I've got about 20 pages left to Sign of the Unicorn and I"m going to finish it right now. I also committed to a Dean Kontz book for a group and I just received Dan Brown's newest novel The Lost Symbol that I'm just itching to start.
I'll probably start the next Amber novel within the week.


message 34: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Often we don't like the people who mirror us, we can see the traits we do not like in ourselves in them.

I've got about 20 pages left to Sign of the Unicorn and I"m going to finish it right now. I also committed to a Dean Kontz book for a group and I just received Dan Brown's newest novel The Lost Symbol that I'm just itching to start.
I'll probably start the next Amber novel within the week.


JG (Introverted Reader) In reading through other reviews of the book, I saw people complaining about the way Corwin's language changed from--oh, I don't know--70's cool? to very courtly. I noticed it, but it seemed that his language changed according to what he was talking about and maybe even who he was talking to. When he talked about Amber, he always switched into courtly mode. I didn't see it as a flaw, I saw it as a device. Maybe the things that mattered most to him got the special treatment? Something like that? Does anyone else have any thoughts on that?


message 36: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 84 comments I thought that his language might have reverted back to Amber-courtly as his memories returned.


message 37: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I thought Corwin's 'voice' changed depending on the circumstances he finds himself in a proper manner. He's not the same person & he needs to fit the situation.

The way I speak changes depending on who I am talking to, both accent & vocabulary. I moved a fair amount as a kid & having a New York accent when living in a rural area in the south was one more reason not to fit in, so I guess I learned to mimic the speech around me. Now, I work with computers, but talk to users a lot. I can't use tech terms half the time because they won't get it.

Simpler - I do not talk to my kids or friends the way I talk to my mother. I NEVER cuss around my mother. I got that lesson ingrained into my buttocks at an early age. Some habits are not worth breaking.


message 38: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments Thats one of the best thing about this book. Why should Corwin talk like contemporary 70s earth man when he was much older,from much different world.

I saw it a natural thing he spoke like a regular man when he didnt know who he was. He spent centuries in Shadow earth.


message 39: by Libby (new)

Libby | 9 comments Interesting comment JG. I agree with Jim. I think his language and accent altered according the the circumstances. I agree that is was a device, not a flaw in the book.

My languange / tone / vocabulary alters. When I'm at work or in the courtroom, I'm professional and use the big words ;-) When I'm around friends it's more casual. When I talk to my 2yr. old niece its entirely different as well.

Corwin's family is extremely old and would naturally have very courtly speech due to their culture. However, if when on Shadow Earth of elsewhere they didn't make some adaptive changes they'd sound absurd and stand out like sore thumbs.




message 40: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I'm glad you brought it up, JG. I honestly hadn't notice it until you mentioned it. It flowed so naturally for me.


message 41: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Same here. I think it worked. 70's vernacular would not have worked in Amber, everyone would think something's wrong with him, and same for Amber vernacular on the shadow earth.

I, too, speak different depending on the circumstances, work, home, friends, my family, my in-laws. It also depends on what we're discusing that sets the tone and which words to choose.


message 42: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Excellent, Jennifer!


message 43: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Jennifer,
I had the same questions when finishing Nine Princes. RZ will answer them, you didn't miss anything. I recently finished the 3rd in the series and at this point, every question you asked had been addressed and I was pleased with the answers and the way they came about. I don't think you'll learn any more by re-reading it.

I have to admit, I really liked that Corwin was just as much in the dark as I was. I think it was a perfect way to introduce to such a complicated world without being overwhelming. IMO, the pace is perfect. Just enough holding back to keep me interested but not making me wait too long either so that I'll get frustrated. I am very satisfied.


message 44: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments I'm certain RZ is too good,too smart to not have the mysteries of the first book explained.

I didnt question the many mysteries of this book. Although i would like to have seen more of Amber itself. The people,the city,the world.






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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Typical of Zelazny, you start off wondering about some things & he answers them, in his own sweet time. Of course, he raises as many new ones as he lays the old to rest. I'm always left wanting more.


message 46: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments Jennifer wrote: "I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure what to expect, so I tried to leave my expectations at the door when I started. I was a little thrown off at first. I kept thinking what the heck is going ..."

Random was my second fav, i liked his attitude,his style. I was hoping to see more of him than there was in the second half of the book.




message 47: by Erich (last edited Sep 22, 2009 08:57AM) (new)

Erich Franz Linner-Guzmann (erichfranzlinnerguzmann) | 22 comments Nine Princes was amazing and it is only just the beginning!!! :)

I am wondering and it might be because I read "This Immortal" a few months before reading Nine Princes, but the brothers and sisters of Amber remind me of the Greek Gods and Goddesses. The way they fight one another and the way they love, the way they favor somethings more then others and the way they have a relationship between one another. Such as Deirdre's and Corwin's relationship seemed more then just a kinship. They are also worshiped as Gods in some of the Shadow worlds. Maybe it is just me, but does anyone see any correlation here?


message 48: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) Definitely.


message 49: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Oh yeah. I agree, Erich.

I always thought I had a dirty mind, but I get the same vibe about Deirdre & Corwin. Zelazny was always restrained about sex & I don't think it hurt his stories.


message 50: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (last edited Sep 22, 2009 12:27PM) (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments It crossed my mind, since they travelled easily between different shadow worlds, was gods to some worlds. Why not be Greek Gods in Shadow Earth.

I think RZ didnt mention it more because it would be too easy to connect them to our own world.

I liked that Corwin was dumped in earth without memory for centuries and he didnt rule it as a God like he was in the other worlds he mentioned.


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