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Roger Zelazny

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No one wrote science fiction or fantasy like the late Roger Zelazny; if you've never read him, you've missed a very good time. His Chronicles of Amber is one of the great fantasy series, and Lord of Light is one of the best, most original science fiction novels of all time. He wrote with a style and a flair that was uniquely his own. If you're a fantasy reader and you've not read Roger Zelazny, you've got a treat in store.

Lord of Light is perhaps the best example extant of the science fiction novel masquerading as a fantasy novel. It's the tale of a battle for power among the gods of the Hindu pantheon, of reincarnation and karmic balance, of demon rakashas, of myth and wonder. It is also the tale of a colony planet which confers on some of its inhabitants strange powers--powers which are enhanced if the bearer takes on the aspect of deity; of cloning and brain transfer technologies that will keep some young while others are reincarnated as animals; of a revolt against the powers of heaven by a man named Sam.

The Chronicles of Amber is another seminal work. The world of Amber is the only true Earth; it casts and infinite number of shadows in all directions, shadows into which those of the blood of Amber may walk. In time, any desired world may be found (including, as it happens, our own). Rules change from shadow to shadow; one might find a world where harmless jeweler's rouge will explode like gunpowder, or where the Kimberly diamond mines lie unexploited under the South African sun. As the series begins, a man finds himself in a sanitarium. He doesn't remember his name, or what he's doing there, but damned if he's going to stay and be medicated some more. And so begins the story of Prince Corwin of Amber, a story that will take him in force to the Eternal City of Amber, through blindness, and beyond to the very Courts of Chaos.

There are literally too many excellent books by Zelazny to describe them all here, but I'd like to give honorable mentions to Doorways in the Sand and A Night in the Lonesome October. The latter is a particular joy and delight, one of the final gems in an already productive career. I recommend it highly.

Books by Roger Zelazny

The Chronicles of Amber

Nine Princes in Amber
The Guns of Avalon
The Sign of the Unicorn
The Hand of Oberon
The Courts of Chaos

The Second Chronicles of Amber

The second chronicles concern Corwin's son Merlin (and not the one you are thinking of, either!); they start out well, and there are lots of good bits, but it would have taken another five books to tie off all of the loose ends Zelazny created in this set.

Trumps of Doom
Blood of Amber
Sign of Chaos
Knight of Shadows
Prince of Chaos
The Great Book of Amber
This anthology collects the first and second chronicles of Amber into a single volume. Reviews: 1 June 2000

Other Books

Lord of Light
A Night in the Lonesome October
With Gahan Wilson.
Creatures of Light and Darkness
Doorways in the Sand
This Immortal
Jack of Shadows
Sequel to Changeling.
Isle of the Dead
To Die in Italbar
A Dark Travelling
Dilvish the Damned
The Last Defender of Camelot
Frost and Fire
Unicorn Variations
The Changing Land
Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming
With Robert Sheckley.

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