Just read Roger Zelazny's Creatures of Light and Darkness. It was good, but a little more disjoint than it could have been. The overall effect was a bundle of very interesting bits and pieces, which almost flowed smoothly into an excellent whole. I'd say it was a near thing at being a great book, and as it is it's a quite good book.

The thing that really interested me is how many evocative ideas he put into it. There are the Masters of Temporal Fugue (short-range time travel) who fight duels in paradoxical loops backwards and forwards; the Steel General, who when his whole body has been replaced piecemeal by robotics wears a ring of his original flesh; the non-diest, non-sectarian priest, who recites the Possibly Proper Death Litany*; one scrier reading the living entrails of another, with the latter rising up to argue the former's interpretation; half-human, half-machine oracles that can continue to analyze the future so long as they receive stimulation; the teleporter, who presumes an infinite universe must contain anything he can visualize, and may teleport anywhere he can envision. This last idea is only briefly touched upon here, but is essentially the basis for the Amber series. One wonders what he would have come up with if he'd gone down more of these paths...

In any case, I think I need to read more of Zelazny's early work. I had read the first half of Amber a while back, and enjoyed it, but it wasn't until I read the most excellent Lord of Light that I got really interested in him, and unfortunately the next thing I read was the later Amber quintet, which I found deeply unsatisfying.

*"Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely..."



November 2011

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