Steven Brust’s Five Roger Zelazny Books that Changed His Life
Over at Tor.com, Steven Brust (The Incrementalists, the Vlad Taltos novels) talks about what may be my favorite fantasy novel, Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light (1967).
You always get asked, “When did you know you wanted to be a writer?” And, of course, there’s no answer, or a thousand answers that are all equally valid. But I usually say, “In high school, when I read Zelazny’s Lord of Light.”
You see, until then, I had never known you could do that. I never knew you could make someone feel all those different things at the same time, with all of that intensity, just by how you used 26 characters and a few punctuation marks. What was it? Well, everything: Sam and Yama were the most compelling characters I’d come across; it was the first time I’d ever stopped reading to just admire a sentence; it gave me the feeling (which proved correct) that there were layers I wouldn’t get without a few rereadings; and, above all, it was when I became of what could be done with voice — how much could be done with just the way the author addressed the reader. I remember putting that book down and thinking, “If I could make someone feel like this, how cool would that be?” Then I started reading it again. And then I went and grabbed everything else of his I could find.
Steven uses this as a springboard to discuss Five Roger Zelazny Books that Changed My Life by Being Awesome, including the spiritual successor to Lord of Light, Creatures of Light and Darkness (1969), which includes the brilliant “Madrak’s Possibly Proper Death Litany, or the “agnostic’s prayer” as it has come to be called.” Read the entire article here.
A friend recommended Lord of Light to me years ago. Maybe time I actually read it, looks to be pretty intense.
My favorite Zelazny has always been The Dream Master. It’s Sf world is totally convincing (and strangely prescient) and the ending is the most terrifying thing I’ve ever read, in or out of SF.