Roger Zelazny discussion

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message 1: by Dan, Jack of Shadows (new)

Dan Schwent (akagunslinger) | 55 comments Run out of Zelazny books and looking for more? This is your thread.

I've started this thread to list works that show some similarity to Zelanzy's or seemed to be influenced by him. Here's one that seems to be a mix of the Lord of Light and Amber: Implied Spaces by Walter Jon Williams


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Great topic, Dan.

The Einstein Intersection by Samuel R. Delany fits, I think. It mixes mysticism, fantasy & SF in a post apocalyptic world. Very cool.


message 3: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson.

Reading PA and RG i confuse their works at times when i think about reading them. Somehow they remind me of each other.

Mixing SF,Fantasy there is my fav SFF writer in Jack Vance. Anyone read Dying Earth ?


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I've read some of the Dying Earth stories over the years. I think the one I've always liked best was in one of the Flashing Swords anthologies edited by Lin Carter. The first, I believe. It had some wonderful stories in it, including one about Thongor.

I agree with you about The Broken Sword, but my favorite by Poul Anderson, in the fantasy genre, is Three Hearts and Three Lions.


message 5: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments All the Windwracked Stars by Elizabeth Bear, a blend of Norse fantasy and post-apocalyptic sci-fi.


message 6: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments Jim wrote: "I've read some of the Dying Earth stories over the years. I think the one I've always liked best was in one of the Flashing Swords anthologies edited by Lin Carter. The first, I believe. It had ..."


I have heard great things about Three Hearts and Three Lions. I just havent read much fantasy of PA yet.

Shame you havent read more Jack Vance. His importance in SFF cant never be overrated. He is not called Premier Stylist in SF for nothing.

Specially if you like Zelazny type authors. Dying Earth is great but his fantasy,sf shorts in other collections are masterful.

His Science fantasy masterpieces like Dragon Masters,Last Castle is for SFF fans like us.


message 7: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 84 comments I have a collection by Vance, but haven't read it yet.

Question: Is Stephen Brust a Zelazny-ish writer? I haven't tried him, but seen the comparisons.


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Mohammed, I've read a few of Jack Vance's books over the years, but we never really clicked. A good writer, but I never felt I HAD to read the next or get more of his stuff.

Chris, I'd say Brust was Zelaznyish. They were friendly & Brust helped with the tour of Amber castle. I love his Vlad Taltos series. Hungarian myth based, I believe. I really liked his 'Phoenix Guards' which is done in a similar style to "The 3 Musketeers', same universe as Vlad.

He has some excellent stand alone novels; "To Reign in Hell" & "Brokedown Palace". I didn't care for his 'Cowboy Feng' book, but humor is tough & it was too similar to Spider Robinson's "Callahan's Crosstime Saloon" in some ways. Just didn't strike me well.


message 9: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 84 comments Thanks, Jim. Just in browsing lists and such, Brust looks like he'd be interesting to me. So just what I needed, ANOTHER writer to put on the TBR pile....




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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments The growing TBR pile!

In 2005, Britain & the US had about 500,000 titles published. I read about 2 books a week, so 100 books a year. In 50 years, I've read maybe 5000 books. That's 1% of the books published in 2005 alone.



Trying to keep my TBR pile down seems like an exercise in futility. All I can do is try to make sure it gets filled with the best of the best & read as much as possible.


message 11: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments Jim wrote: "The growing TBR pile!

In 2005, Britain & the US had about 500,000 titles published. I read about 2 books a week, so 100 books a year. In 50 years, I've read maybe 5000 books. That's 1% of the ..."


Just remember Sturgeon's Law: “Ninety percent of everything is crud.” So you realy only need to worry about 50,000 books a year. ;-)


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Only 50K? Thanks much! In a century of reading, I might actually get to that amount. Seems much more doable!

;-)

It's one of the reasons I love GR. Friends like you help me winnow down, not only what isn't crud, but what I like. The two groups aren't mutually exclusive. Some of my favorite books are viewed as crud. I loved the early Destroyer series, for instance. Sapir's political satire was perfect for my younger years.


message 13: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Not really a book, but I found a site called oddee.com that has lists of odd things with pictures. I came across a list of 10 castles & moved on to other oddities. Fascinating.

Here's a link to the 10 most fascinating natural phenomena. #5 might be familiar to those of you who have read the full Amber series.
http://oddee.com/item_96654.aspx


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Someone mentioned to me that Elizabeth Bear was publicized as being somewhat similar to Zelazny. I forget the exact terms & I got it second hand. I only read one of her books, Hammered & didn't get that feel at all. Anyone else?


message 15: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments I have undertow by her and i have read only a little of it. I cant say anything so far, i will read the book when i have less new books to read.


message 16: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments Jim wrote: "Someone mentioned to me that Elizabeth Bear was publicized as being somewhat similar to Zelazny. I forget the exact terms & I got it second hand. I only read one of her books..."

Other than the book I mentioned above I wouldn't really say that she is much like Zelazny, though I've only read two of hers altogether.

Looking over my books some more I was reminded of something distinctly Amber-like, namely Vellum The Book of All Hours by Hal Duncan.


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Thanks so much for the suggestion, Greyweather. I've never heard of that book nor is the author familiar, although I do have one of the anthologies he edited on my wish list. I've ordered the book. The reviews of his book are polarized; love or hate, few in the middle. Looks like he did a sequel, "Ink", but I'll hold off on that until I see which camp I'm in.

As for Bear, she was publicized that way. That means some marketing schmuck is making up stories, so I can't hold her responsible for it. (My boss is a marketing schmuck; an entertaining conversationalist & a pretty nice guy, but his grasp of 'truth' can be somewhat tenuous.)



message 18: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 84 comments While I was reading 9 Princes, I kept thinking of Michael Moorcock. But that style isn't exactly the same. I also found myself thinking of Neil Gaiman on occasion, but that's not quite right either.

I get the feeling from just this one little book that the Zelany style isn't an easy immitation, but at the same time that his influence shines through with several authors.


message 19: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments I kept thinking of Michael Moorcock Corum,Elric stories i have read. The cosmic fantasy feel.

RZ is alot stronger with characters,creating worlds though.




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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments There is a resemblance between Moorcock & Zelazny, but Moorcock's characters are much less dimensional than Zelazny's. I loved the Runestaff, Corum & Elric books, but never could get into the Cornelius books.


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

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments Less dimensional to say the least. I liked Corum but i couldnt feel for Elric reading the first few stories.

I like his cosmic,different type of S&S but characters wise he is not great. I havent tried him enough though.


message 22: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments Jim wrote: "As for Bear, she was publicized that way. That means some marketing schmuck is making up stories, so I can't hold her responsible for it."

I can hardly blame the schmuck either. There are so few authors who have done anything even remotely like Zelazny, that when someone like Bear does something with a even a small number of shared elements the marketing hounds are all over it.

No, if I was going to pick out an author as a spiritual successor to Zelazny, I think it would be Michael Swanwick.


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Which one of Swanick's books would you recommend I start with, Greyweather. I realize my to-read pile needs no more books, but this is too good to pass up.

You're right about the marketing schmuck, of course. Just doing his job & someone has to - just like I used to muck out horse stalls. I do like to make fun of them, though. My father was one & his brother was in public relations. I didn't inherit that 'gift' though.


message 24: by Greyweather (new)

Greyweather | 63 comments I'd say Stations of the Tide is a good place to start. Jack Faust and The Iron Dragon's Daughter would work too if they are easier to find.


message 25: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I have "Stations" on its way. I love the book swap sites. Thanks.


message 26: by pete (new)

pete | 1 comments all the time I read Zelazney I enjoyed reading books by Larry Niven. I always seemed to get a similar enjoyment from them although Niven is pretty much exclusively sci-fi. Try it and see if it works for you...


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Beowulf Shaefer, Gil the Arm & the Protector? Yes, Niven is very good.


message 28: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 23 comments The first Nebula Award winners for "best novella" back in 1965 were Zelazny for "He Who Shapes" and Brian Aldiss for "The Saliva Tree." I am not sure that this makes Aldiss in any way "Zelazneyish," but I think comparing the two stories might set a criterion for establishing what constitutes "Zelazneyish," at least to some degree. See the collection
The Saliva Tree and Other Strange Growths by Brian W. Aldiss.

Those 1965 awards also included Frank Herbert's Dune (novel), Zelazney's "The Doors of his face, the Lamps of his Mouth" (Novelette), and Harlan Elison's "Repent Harlequi9n!' said the Ticktockman" (short story). Those are some pretty good standard-setters. I certainly felt so when I was first reading sci-fi back in those dark ages.


message 29: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I've tried to read Aldiss a couple of times, but I don't think I've ever finished a book. It's been years, but his stories never gripped me. I should try him again.

I have read the other 3 stories. "Dune" is a long time favorite, although I never cared much for the books that followed it. Ellison is always worth reading.

I don't know what constitutes 'Zelazneyish'. I don't like poetry, as a general rule, but I like the poetic way Zelazny describes things, people & situations. He has a way of explaining volumes with a flippant remark.


message 30: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 84 comments I have an Ellison collection checked out from the library, called Alone Against Tomorrow.

It contains "Repent Harlequin! said the Ticktockman" and "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream".


message 31: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I think "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" was the first collection of Ellison's stories that I ever read. Fantastic. His 'Partners in Wonder' books are great too.


message 32: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 23 comments Jim wrote: "I've tried to read Aldiss a couple of times, but I don't think I've ever finished a book. It's been years, but his stories never gripped me. I should try him again.

I have read the other 3 stori..."


My take on Aldiss is that he takes the "cheesy" sci-fi of the 50's and treats the themes seriously. That's an acquired taste I think. Zelazny, on the other hand (and from my limited knowledge of him), has much more of a 60's psychadelic feel, even when he's being serious.

I agree with you on "Dune." The first novel deserves all its accolades. But the second novel is not just a bad sequel; it's not a well crafted book. I stopped reading 3/4's of the way through.

Elison is one of the best short story writers, in any genre, ever made. I've seen him in TV interviews, though, where he eschews the label "Science Fiction" or "Sci-Fi" or even "SF" -- but I've never known him to write anything else.




message 33: by Chris (new)

Chris  (haughtc) | 84 comments He probably really hates "SyFy".


message 34: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I've never been terribly impressed or depressed by labels. I tend to ignore them unless it suits me. Therefore, I've never understood the Science Fiction versus SciFi debate. I must admit, the rebranding of the SciFi channel to SyFy seemed like complete idiocy though.

Ellison imagination always amazed me. The stories of him sitting in a book store window & cranking out a story upon request are incredible.


message 35: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments SciFi is a lame label that those who have heard the word's history dont like.

Before i didnt care about the difference but since i know now historically early in SF days it was used to belittle SF cause of the pulpish sf with monsters days.

Otherwise i dont care about labels, what people say about subgenres. I care only when im looking for a type of story i like reading.


message 36: by brian (last edited Oct 30, 2009 07:31PM) (new)

brian dean (surprisesaplenty) | 2 comments Jon Walter William's Implied Spaces is very Zelazny-ish to me. It's a science fiction book with fantasy elements and the hero is similar to Zelazny's My Name is Legion (Not sure about the title - the hero in that book designed the computers to make people more peaceful , then kept himself just a little more feral then the populace to watch over them.)
William's story is a little grimmer and has more philosophy.Implied Spaces
My Name Is Legion


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Thanks, Kwandongbrian! I've added it to my wishlist. You have the correct title for the Zelazny book, My Name Is Legion. It's actually 3 short stories, the last one, Home is the Hangman was published as a novella on its own, too.


message 38: by Erich (new)

Erich Franz Linner-Guzmann (erichfranzlinnerguzmann) | 22 comments I read Home is the Hangman and didn't like it nearly as much as Zelazny's other stuff. I also didn't know it was part of the My Name Is Legion book that has 3 short stories in it and am wondering if that might be the reason why I didn't like it as much. So, should I read the other 2 stories and then go back and read Home is the Hangman again? I am just wondering if that would make the story better... or do they have nothing to do with each other?


message 39: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments Erich, the other two stories are about the same as 'Hangman', I think I liked the first one the best & 'Hangman' next, but they're all close. All were OK, but not my favorite of his stories.

I think reading the other two does give a more complete understanding of 'the man with no name', which helps. They are completely separate stories though. I think the second mentions events in the first, but they all stand alone.

They're not terribly long, so it's not much time or money to try. I'd say go for it.


message 40: by Reg (new)

Reg (tock) | 37 comments This is always a tough question to answer for me. At least in regard to authors I really like. Seems to me that one of the reasons I like someone is because their voice is somewhat unique. So I'm not sure if there are any authors that I could compare to Zelazny. But over the years I have read several books that remind me of some of his works. I agree that Implied Spaces would be one. It's even dedicated to Eric Wujcik who wrote the Amber Diceless RPG so the similarity may have been intentional. Cugel's Saga by Vance. Lord Valentine's Castle by Silverberg, although this is probably the only book by him I like. A short story by Tim Powers which I can't recall the title of but which is contained in his collection Strange Itineraries reminds me a lot of the Amber books. Also Jane Lindskolds Legends Walking. I don't generally like her stuff either, not even the collaborations she did with Zelazny himself, but thought that this one was okay. I would agree with Jim and Nick regarding the Dune books. I love Ellison but his stuff can be very hit or miss for me. I will also be adding Greyweather's suggestions to my TBR list. I was not familiar with that author and they all looked interesting so thanks!


message 41: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (last edited Oct 22, 2009 06:53AM) (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments Tim Powers is a great writer, having read RZ after him he reminds me of a contemporary version of him. His contemporary fantasy,his writing style isnt much different. Even if RZ prose with Amber books are more stylised,finer.


Jack Vance is the greatest writer i have read genre and no genre. When i read first two Amber books i couldnt but help and compare to Dying Earth,Cugel stories.

Both very quality literary fantasy series which takes quest like fantasy to another level imho.

I cant really understand how you can become a fan of RZ and not Vance.


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I've only tried The Anubis Gates by Powers & didn't finish it. I never could work up any empathy for the characters.

I think you're right about Vance's stories. Zelazny liked him a lot, too.


message 43: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments Tim Powers is my top 10 fantasy authors and i couldnt finish Anubis Gates. It has happened to many of his fans in the first read.


Read The Drawing of the Dark which is in fantasy masterworks series for a reason or On Stranger Tides. His themes are great, he writes quality characters he blends in fantasy,history,horror in his books what more could you want.


The next Pirates of Caribbean will be called On Stranger Tides. They will use his story,paid for it already.


message 44: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments OK, on that recommendation, I'll give him another shot. I was planning on avoiding all his books. So many people raved about "Anubis Gates" that I thought it was one of his better ones.


message 45: by Reg (new)

Reg (tock) | 37 comments I would agree with Mohammed. The Drawing of the Dark and On Stranger Tides are both wonderful and far more accessible. Although The Anubis Gates is probably my favorite book by Powers. Would also agree that, along with Zelazny, Tim Powers is also on my Top 10 list. Of course, now that you have me thinking about it I am going to have to figure out who the other 8 are...


message 46: by Reg (new)

Reg (tock) | 37 comments And thanks Mohammed. I hadn't heard that about the next Pirates movie. I have a hard time picturing how they are going to incorporate the characters from those movies into that story without destroying it. Hopefully they will be able to do it justice. I've always wanted to see them bring that book to the screen.


message 47: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments Jim wrote: "OK, on that recommendation, I'll give him another shot. I was planning on avoiding all his books. So many people raved about "Anubis Gates" that I thought it was one of his better ones."\

Awards dont mean anything really. PKD won Hugo for The Man in The High Castle and i have never seen it being in top 3 of 100s of PKD i have seen online.






message 48: by Jim, Keeper of the Pattern (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I didn't like 'High Castle' either. I agree with you about awards, but I wasn't speaking of them. Lots of friends here on GR liked 'Gates' & that's why I was so disappointed.


message 49: by Mohammed , Dilvish The Damned (new)

Mohammed  (mohammedaosman) | 83 comments Ah i see what you mean. I seem to rate Drawing of the Dark alone over Anubis Gates if you count other Powers fan i know.

Just look at synopsis, the setting is very rare for a fantasy book.


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

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 975 comments I tried Swanwick's "Station of the Tides", got halfway through & put it down. I could not get into it. I think it was the characterization just left me cold. I seem to be one of the minority that really disliked it.


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