Amber?

Discussion in 'Roger Zelazny' started by tonic, Aug 6, 2005.

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    tonic

    tonic New Member

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    What does everyone think of Roger Zelazny's magnum opus? I just finished the collection of all ten books, and I enjoyed it immensly. What about everyone else?
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    Brian Turner

    Brian Turner Brian G. Turner Staff Member

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    Only one I've read was Lord of Light, which was interesting and clever in many ways, but somehow wonder if perhaps it was a little more pulp and far less philosophical then perhaps the subject matter demanded? (The book is about a war among Hindu gods in a SF environment, with Buddha playing a pivotal role in the story).
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    Foxbat

    Foxbat I am a number

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    I've never read The Chronicles Of Amber either but I do like his short story collection The Doors OF His Face, The Lamps Of His Mouth.

    Also, I'm sure he wrote Damnation Alley (Warning: early dementia may be setting in here)- which was complete and utter pulp but still good fun to read. One day I'll get around to Amber :)
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    finvarre

    finvarre New Member

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    I liked the first 5 books very much, but then when the point of view switched from Corwin to Merlin, I didn't like it nearly as much. There was something in that first part of Amber that made it special - all those brothers and sisters intriguing and fighting one another in order to become Oberon's heir.. and I found the rules of the world of Amber very appealing. Merlin was both from Chaos and from Amber - it got too complicated for me. And, above all, I didn't care for that character quite as much as for Corwin with his silver - black clothes and his rose:cool:

    BTW, what were your fav characters in the series beside the main ones? I liked Deirdre, but that was probably because of Corwin's point of view, and then she was killed... and Julian. The Arden forest was cool!
    Besides, I liked Oberon. Afterwards, it was boring without him.
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    Trey Greyjoy

    Trey Greyjoy Iron Price Payer

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    Loved the Amber books in the same way I enjoyed the World of Tiers series by Farmer and then the Otherworld novels by Williams.

    I enjoy the flitting from world to world, never knowing what is around the next corner, the true imaginative creativity with which the series is imbued. I loved the way Zelazny mixed sci-fi and fantasy together.


    I do think I enjoyed the Corwin books more than the Merlin stories, but they go quickly and I think are a must read for any "student" of the genre.
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    nixie

    nixie pixie druid Staff Member

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    Thanks to Brys and Gollum I've just started The great book of Amber,seems enjoyable so far
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    Leto

    Leto Outside

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    Loved the original Zelazny ones (and preferred the Corwin books to the Merlin ones) but I've never read the prequels (written after Zelazny death). Anyone read them ?

    Aside Corwin, my favorite are Julian and Benedict. And in Chaos, Merlin's older stepbrother.
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    Brys

    Brys New Member

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    I thought Amber was fantasy ???
    Anyway, Amber was an amazing series (I've only read the First Chronicles, though, as I've heard the Second aren't nearly as good). It has lots of very interesting characters (especially Corwin, Random, Julian, Benedict and Ganelon) and it has a lot of political intrigue in - nearly comparable to Martin's ASOIAF.

    And Zelazny is also an excellent writer - his prose seems nearly perfect, switching from one style to another as the setting determines.
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    Leto

    Leto Outside

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    Yes it's fantasy. But I'm fond of all Zelazny work : fantasy as much as sci-fi. He's part of the few fantasy writer I read.
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    chrispenycate

    chrispenycate resident pedantissimo Staff Member

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    Ici c'est Ambre-tout le reste n'est qu'ombre.

    And with my accent you can't tell the difference :(
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    terryweide

    terryweide Smarter Than I Look

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    The first book of the series, Nine Princes in Amber, is my favorite book of all time. I first read it when I was about 14, and when I got to about page 40 where Corwin and Random are driving down the road and suddenly there were "big yellow windmills" all over the place, I was a Zelazny fan for life. I've read Nine Princes so many times I've got parts of it memorized. Zelazny was my favorite author and I still miss him. It's a pity he died as young as he did.

    On another note, yes, he did write Damnation Alley. A few of his more well known titles are Lord of Light, Creatures of Light and Darkness, The Changeling, A Night in the Lonesome October, My Name is Legion, A Rose for Ecclesiastes, Roadmarks, The Changing Land, Jack of Shadows, etc. Overall, Zelazny was considered by many fans and writers to be one of the best in the spec-fi field.

    Terry
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    Paul Darcy

    Paul Darcy Paul Darcy

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    Absolute classic. Love it, love it. :D One of the best first person narrative works (all of them) I have ever read. Of course I love all Zelazny books, even the ones written with Saberhagen.
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    Neal Asher

    Neal Asher New Member

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    Absolutely loved the Amber books, but I've reread them so often I nearly have them verbatim. I'll need to wait until my memory starts going before I read them again.
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    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll just echo everyone else's comments that the Chronicles Of Amber is a very worthwhile and significant work of fantasy.

    For those who have not yet tackled it and wish to explore a classic of the past I can recommend it to anyone. However I agree with Finvarre that the first chronicles is better than the second, although both are still very good.

    John Betancourt has written the main Amber prequels and they're not bad but he's no Zelazny. The third book in his first Amber prequel trilogy "To Rule In Amber" is probably the best of the bunch. If you're a die hard Zelazny fan then you'll probably want to check them out but for the rest I'd stick to the original Amber series by the master himself.

    Perhaps Terry or another Zelazny fan has read these and could pass on their comments?

    BTW his SF classic Lord Of Light could and has been argued by many as his greatest work. Of course in the end that comes down to personal taste.
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    terryweide

    terryweide Smarter Than I Look

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    Okay, I'll give my own answer for whatever that's worth...

    I tried to read the first Betancourt Amber prequel, and put it down after 5 - 10 pages. It was obvious that Betancourt didn't possess Zelazny's magic with prose or storytelling, so for me, it was like reading a pale imitation of my favorite author.

    Also, according to the storyline of the original series, Amber was created after Oberon and Dworkin fled the Courts of Chaos and established an island of order, Amber, at the other end of existence from chaos. The idea being, that order and chaos then balanced each other out like the opposite poles of a magnet. All of the shadow worlds, the parallel universes of the Amber series, came into existence as a result of the constant ebb and flow between the energies of order and chaos.

    In the opening of Betancourt's book, however, Oberon isn't fleeing primordial chaos to establish a kingdom of order. He's riding in a coach in a Renaissance-type world like some sort of swashbuckling dandy. Question: If Renaissance universes or shadows exist, that implies a high degree of order. Why do Dworkin and Oberon need to escape from chaos to create Amber, if there is already oder in the universe? So Betancourt had about five pages or so to impress me, and he didn't. If you're going to do an Amber prequel, show me Oberon and Dworkin fleeing chaos, real chaos, to create order.

    There's also the point that Zelazny, as I understand it, plainly stated that he didn't want other authors "playing in his universe." Such being the case, why the Betancourt books? That's like saying, "Because Amber is such a popular series, regardless of what Zelazny wanted, we'll wait until he's dead, and then come out with more Amber books anyway. Think of the money we can make."

    The Betancourt books, from what I've seen aren't going to satisfy any true Zelazny fan. The best Betancourt can hope for is to reach new readers not that familiar with original series, or with Zelazny in general, and to build a new fan base for the prequel novels. I'd say that if he's successful, those readers would then become Betancourt's fans, not Zelazny's.

    As to where I come down on this, I'd say leave classic sci-fi authors alone. If they invite other authors to write stories set in their universe, as Andre Norton did with the Witch World, or Asimov did with Foundation, that's one thing. If they say, "I'd just as soon not have other people writing stories about my characters or my worlds," I think those wishes should be respected, especially since no following author is ever going to sound like, or have the unique magic of the original author's voice.

    Those are my thoughts at the moment. Best wishes, Terry
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    nixie

    nixie pixie druid Staff Member

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    I enjoyed the Amber chronicles, having read the 10 installments as 1 large book recently.Like most I found the first five more intriguing and enjoyable although Merlin's books were still good.
    So mulling over what Terry says I'll give the Betancourt books a miss.
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    terryweide

    terryweide Smarter Than I Look

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    Nixie,

    Despite my feelings about the prequel books, I don't want to prejuidice anyone against another writer. If you choose to check out the Betancourt books, you should make up your own mind about them one way or another, and you can probably do so for free. I first saw the Betancourt books at my local library, and they are doubtless in other libraries around the world.

    So yes, I have some strong feelings on the matter, but again, I think everyone should come to their decisions on such things.

    All for the moment, best wishes, Terry
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    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    That's fair comment Terry. Like you I didn't enjoy the books that much but then he's not I assume trying to be another Zelazny but apply his own writing style to Zelazny's world.

    As Terry suggeste Nixie, maybe see if you can get hold of one of Betancourt's books from the library to see if you like it.
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    Snowdog

    Snowdog New Member

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    The Amber series was fantastic, well worth reading all ten books, though I agree with others that Corwin's books were better.

    As for John Betancourt's prequels, they were spoiled for me to a great extent by the shoddy editing/proof reading. The last in the series had more typos and words/sentences out of order than any book I've ever read. The stories themselves aren't bad, Betancourt has some nice touches and he's learned the Amber canon very well. But you know that Zelazny would have created something an order of magnitude greater had he written the books.

    As for whether the books should have been written, this is a subject that has been done to death in various newsgroups and mailing lists. In dedicated forums, opinion was split down the middle, but a lot of people who were initially against did eventually read them (and some even admitted liking them). I think they are worth a read, but they're not essential. There was going to be a second prequel trilogy but AFAIK it's on hold due to the collapse of ibooks, who published the first.
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    K. Riehl

    K. Riehl FrogSqrl

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    For the dedicated Zelazny Fans:

    I've heard there are "a few" Amber short stories that Zelazny published in Fanzines. Does anyone know if this is true?
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