Underrated SFF writers of the past: Roger Zelazny | #booktube



hi everyone Silvia from Navy here and today I wanted to talk about briefly about something that I hold very dear I wanted to cover one of my favorite writers Roger Zelazny and the reason why I wanted why I wanted to talk about him is because as much as I like new fantasy and new science fiction authors and I really do I write reviews I covered them most of what I read is newly published that wasn't the case in the past in the past I pretty much all that I read was the stuff that was at my library and like many libraries especially in my small town and my bi library was awesome it wasn't tiny or anything it just had its priorities and mostly what it has was classics classics of the genre and know my library didn't have works of roaches Ellis knee when I started visiting it I started to read Roger Zelazny very early because I used to live in in Moscow I spent my early childhood in Moscow and then I moved to Croatia when I had where I had my awesome library there but when I was in Moscow my pretty awesome aunt has gifted me a collection of novellas by Roger Zelazny and it had three of his novellas bundled together along with his novel Lord of Light and the first work of his that I ever read was Jack of Shadows now Jacob shadows is probably one of his least known work but I like it all the same it's a story about this teeth and it stuck with me because even now years after I've read it I can see some of the roots in it that could be found in urban fantasy of all things and Jacob shadows isn't really an urban fantasy novella it's a story about the thief he's this antihero almost like a villain protagonist he's a thief and he has an ability to walk through shadows as long as there is a source of light he can walk through the shadow and now after reading all of the Sandman slim novels by Richard Kadri shout out to Richard kat aruba I love his work very much and this is the way Sandman Slim's ability is described is just came straight out of jealously and just tiny things like that and I guess what I've been trying to say is I love new fantasy I love new science fiction I love just new genre fiction new voices that we have the diversity we now have that is prevalent more now more than ever which is a very good thing but I also feel like there is this a bit of a just a bit of generational bias and people have this and by people I don't mean to generalize but I think there is this opinion that anything that's older from older than the 80s excluding of course talking is derivative or just aged badly or just too weird for the weird sake and I don't think is true.i I think that there are some really worthwhile authors to read even today especially today and Zelezny is among them now he's a writer who is really hard to pigeonhole into any kind of category because he wrote the vast majority of his work was written in the 60s and 70s and he he was writing well into the 90s when he passed away unfortunately but his work was written during an era which was called a new wave of science fiction but I'd be hard-pressed to call him science fiction I always considered him to be a speculative fiction and I know that speculative fiction is kind of a loaded term protein coat people seem to think that when you describe something as speculative fiction you think that it's too good to be science fiction or fantasy you know for me in speculative fiction is what the word indicates it's it's a work of fiction that has many different elements and stylistic choices that do not belong in to any specific genre it's fiction it's fantastical it also has maybe sense it maybe not but it goes there and he as I said he is one of my favorite authors and after reading the collection I read Jack of Shadows aren't creatures of light and darkness which is seriously weird it's it's super weird he wrote this immortal which is kind of a serious short stories that has been put together in a novella later and then I read Lord of Light and that just blew my 13 year old brain it was incredible and it kind of opened my mind to just mythology in general as a child I loved reading Greek myths Nordic myths I had many collections that have age-appropriate myths and stuff like that but I never thought about myths as sort of this literary playing ground and Zelezny did use them exactly in that way he is not so much preoccupied with the accuracy you can tell that he absolutely knows what he's pulling from and the Lord of Light is a novel that is specifically tied to Hindu pantheon and Buddhism but the way he does it is so unique and so interesting that it opened my mind to just miss retellings in general it's something that I enjoy to this day I will always make time for a and an odyssey a retelling of any kind I will always make time for just founding of Rome for just about any kind of myth are turian myths loved him there are a lot of bad ones and I've read a lot of them good ones and bad ones and I just don't get tired of them I mean the the Iliad also there's so many Liat retellings I love them to death now back to the subject what I like about zealousness writing his prose as he manages to be super witty super concise and the clarity of language he has the command of language is something to behold it he makes it so effortless and at the same time not at any and any point of the book when you're reading his work you don't have a feeling that he is just putting on a show he's not flaunting anything he just says things in incredibly fun way now one of my favorite quotes is an opening line from Lord of Light and it goes like this his followers called him Mahatma and he said he was a god he preferred to drop the Maha and the Atman however and called himself Sam he never claimed to be a god but then he never claimed not to be a god and within the context of the novel the main character is kind of a like a perpetual reincarnation of Buddha Gautama and he in the in the novel he's kind of a this sort of a trickster character who speaks about enlightenment but never achieved one exactly his status as a Buddha is purely rebellious one and not to get into spoilers but still and the novel is is wild it's it is technically a sci-fi novel but it's a sci-fi novel about spirituality a nature of just drink our nation trolling basically to put a summary essentially humanity has spread across the Stars the earth as we know it the humankind's home is dead and they reach the planet and on this planet the first colonizers have achieved godhood they say the first colonizers achieved godhood and they kind of took the personas of Hindu Pantheon and they monopolized the technology – for the afterlife so in this world they have technology to transfer consciousness between bodies so when someone is at the end of their lifespan they can just use this machine to transfer their consciousness into a new clone body and it's super fun it's there's nothing quite like it it's very unique and it's absolutely worthwhile and it's so straightforward in a way that there's I never feel when reading his work like there's any sort of ego present and of course speaking of his work his magnum opus his most famous work is probably chronicles of Emperor series and my story remember was after I had this collection of his novellas which I reread endlessly I spent a lot of money at a book store I bought a Russian edition of the great book of amber it's this hardback edition that contains all 10 novels and what can you say about Chronicles of amber its it's impossible to put in a sub genre in a way it's interesting because when you put it against Lord of Light Lord of Light is a sci-fi novel with fantasy I guess elements to it and embrace that but in Reverse amber is a fantasy novel with some sci-fi elements to it again there is no other term than speculative fiction I could not and cannot describe it either way it's so I get a brief summary of amber amber is a city in a way it's the only city video me it's kind of like a nexus of reality to say there is an elegy that's used to describe it so if you think about a lit match in a dark room so the first shadow from this match roughly equals to the size of the object it's reflecting but there are other sites other echoes other other shadows and the longer they go the more distorted they become so this is kind of like a principle in which the world of amber works amber is kind of a like a prime reality and every other world which are like essentially parallel worlds I guess is a kind of a different version of it and far away the further you go the more different worlds and realities in it are which is a fun really fun concept or anything about it and on its own it would be super fun but what I really really appreciate about his writing is his characters the characters are just so much fun the interaction between them the uke you can clearly see that he put some serious work into it these are actual people and one of the things that I feel classic sci-fi gets criticized for and I think that's actually a fair criticism is that a lot of these classic novels and especially the ones that haven't aged too well are too focused on ideas and not enough on characters and characters are most often than not just lot an idea not even plot plot points plot mechanisms they're just for their just for the purposes of presenting an idea to the audience which can be mind-blowing but it's not something that you necessarily come back to there's no interaction between people the characters don't feel like they interact with each other well there's it's not just that fun and with him you see clearly thought-out world's world building as always on point it's always interesting but the characters make it all alive and I highly recommend it then we have one of his later works that I also want to recommend it's called a night in the lonesome October now this is a very interesting one because it's a late novel in his career but I also say it's kind of one of his best ones because it kind of captures something that I think came in a wave after him it's when you read it you can you I had a feeling like I can actually see Neil Gaiman being inspired by this if not writing this because it's very much in that vein it's this whimsical magical realism thing that's kind of almost smug about it but not really an acting alone some October it's a very unique book because first of all it's a book that's told from a written from a perspective of a dog which is points from me for that fact alone and then it's set in the Victorian times it's a Victorian era novel but the kind of the gist of it is you have these figures that very closely resemble famous literary or and or historical characters from the Victorian times so half of the fun is since the novel is from the dogs perspective is trying to guess who is this person so you have this Russian monk with a pet snake and you're like it's disrespecting who is this and okay this is clearly Jack the Ripper but who is that other person and this other person it's super fun it's it's kind of a almost a ritual for me every Halloween I try to reread it it's profound

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