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Authors: Roger Zelazny

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The Road to Amber

BOOK: The Road to Amber
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The Road to Amber
Volume 6:
The Collected Stories of
Roger Zelazny

Edited By

David G. Grubbs
Christopher S. Kovacs
Ann Crimmins

NESFA Press
Post Office Box 809, Framingham, MA 01701
www.nesfa.org/press
2009

© 2009 by Amber Ltd. LLC

“Roger Zelazny” (c) 2009 by Jane Lindskold

“Remembering Roger” © 2009 by Gerald Hausman

“The Trickster” © 2009 by Gardner Dozois

”’…And Call Me Roger’: The Literary Life of Roger Zelazny, Part 6” and story notes © 2009 by Christopher S. Kovacs, MD

“A Secret of Amber” © 2005 by Amber Ltd. LLC and Ed Greenwood

“Isle of Regret” © 2005 by Trent Zelazny

“In Memoriam: Roger Zelazny, Lord of Light” © 1995 by George R. R. Martin

“Amber Map” © 2009 by Elizabeth Danforth

Frontispiece Portrait © 1972 by Jack Gaughan

Dust jacket illustration, “Z-World” essay and photograph of Michael Whelan © 2009 by Michael Whelan (www.MichaelWhelan.com)

Dust jacket design © 2009 by Alice N. S. Lewis

Dust jacket photo of Roger Zelazny © 1994 by Beth Gwinn

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NO PART OF THIS BOOK MAY BE REPRODUCED IN ANY FORM OR BY ANY ELECTRONIC, MAGICAL OR MECHANICAL MEANS INCLUDING INFORMATION STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL WITHOUT PERMISSION IN WRITING FROM THE PUBLISHER, EXCEPT BY A REVIEWER, WHO MAY QUOTE BRIEF PASSAGES IN A REVIEW.

FIRST EDITION, December 2009

ISBN-10: 1-886778-81-7
ISBN-13: 978-1-886778-81-8

A Word From
The Editors

This six volume collection includes all of Zelazny’s known short fiction and poetry, three excerpts of important novels, a selection of non-fiction essays, and a few curiosities.

Many of the stories and poems are followed by “A Word from Zelazny” in which the author muses about the preceding work. Many of the works are also followed by a set of “Notes”
[1]
explaining names, literary allusions and less familiar words. Though you will certainly enjoy Zelazny’s work without the notes, they may provide even a knowledgeable reader with some insight into the levels of meaning In Zelazny’s writing.

“My intent has long been to write stories that can be read in many ways from the simple to the complex. I feel that they must be enjoyable simply as stories…even for one who can’t catch any of the allusions.”

—Roger Zelazny in
Roger Zelazny
by Jane M. Lindskold

The small print under each title displays original publication information (date and source) for published pieces and (sometimes a guess at) the date it was written for unpublished pieces. The small print may also contain a co-author’s name, alternate titles for the work, and awards it received. Stories considered part of a series are noted by a § and a series or character name.

  1. The notes are a work in progress. PIease let us know of any overlooked references or allusions, or definitions you may disagree with, for a possible future revision.
Contents
Stories
Amber(
§
)
Articles
Curiosities
Celebration
Songs (In Godson: A Play in Three Acts)
Poetry
Roger Zelazny
by Jane Lindskold

H
e drank his coffee black. So did I. Sometimes we’d drink out of the same cup, because it was easier than keeping two mugs filled. But that was later…

By the time I met Roger Zelazny in 1989, he had long given up smoking cigarettes. I never even saw Roger smoke a pipe. He quit smoking after something like twenty-four years, because he thought even pipe smoking was interfering with his martial arts.

Sometimes Roger would have a beer or a glass of wine with a meal, a nip of Scotch or brandy with friends, but I never saw him even tipsy. So “my” version of Roger Zelazny is quite different from the younger man described by old friends in many of the earlier introductions.

There’s another way “my” Roger was different from the one described elsewhere. The Roger I knew was rarely quiet. He laughed a lot, sang small snatches of nonsense songs, hummed. He didn’t just talk, he burbled.

But let me take a step back and write myself into the story, because our stories intertwine fairly tightly, even from our first contact.

It’s 1988, and I’m in a bookstore in New York: Queens, I think, but I’m not sure. On the shelf I see a Choose Your Own Adventure book based on Zelazny’s Amber series. I’d been a Zelazny reader since high school, probably even before.

Of Zelazny’s work, I’d especially enjoyed the Amber novels. In college, my good friend Kathy Curran turned me onto a bunch more of Zelazny’s other works. When, in 1985,
Trumps of Doom
, the first of the second series of Amber novels came out, I was in grad school at Fordham University. Kathy called and said, “He’s started them again.” She didn’t need to say who or what. I knew.

My response was less than flattering to a writer whose works I sincerely enjoyed.

“Oh. I probably won’t read them until he’s done. I’ve looked at the copyright dates for the first series. Did you know there were something like eight years between the first and last novels? I’ll just wait.”

But I didn’t. A couple of years later, I was set to go camping with a bunch of friends from college. Various things, including a too large campfire (my fault) and a shortage of campsites, led to us spending the weekend at the cottage where Kathy Curran, now a graduate biology student, was then living.

At Kathy’s house, I came across some of those “new” Amber novels. I ended up giving into temptation and reading them. I had mixed reactions to Merlin and to Zelazny’s changed conception of Amber, but overall I was intrigued.

So, back to that bookstore in Queens where I stand, holding a copy of a Choose Your Own Adventure book set in Amber. At that time, I was finishing up my Ph.D. in English at Fordham. I’d wanted to write fiction for a long time, but I knew nothing about the business, and what I did know was completely wrong. That’s probably a good thing, because if I’d known even a little more, I never would have written to Mr. Zelazny.

But I did, because seeing that Choose Your Own Adventure novel, I figured that Zelazny had lost interest in Amber. Surely he never would have permitted these simplistic game books to be done if he hadn’t lost interest. (Shows what I knew. Roger always loved experimenting with different forms of telling a story.)

But if Zelazny had lost interest in Amber, I was still deeply interested. I had an idea for a novel that would not in any way violate the “canonical” material. In my ignorance, I decided to ask Mr. Zelazny for permission to write that book.

This was sometime in 1988, in the days before the internet made contacting an author almost too easy. I wrote Mr. Zelazny care of his publisher. I included a self-addressed stamped envelope for his reply. After a few weeks of tantalizing hope that I’d hear back, I figured it wouldn’t happen. I went back to working on my dissertation or the classes I was teaching. Then, in July of 1988, to my astonishment, a postcard depicting the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe showed up. It was from Roger Zelazny himself.

The note was short, written in very tiny handwriting, and politely declined my offer. Nonetheless, I was tremendously excited. I decided to write a thank you for his courtesy in replying. Again, I wrote care of the publisher, again including a self-addressed stamped envelope. The second postcard came from Paris.

So began a correspondence that now crowds several file drawers. I asked questions. Always, Mr. Zelazny, gradually becoming “Roger” in my mind, would write back. Eventually, he told me to use his home address and to please stop including a self-addressed stamped envelope, since we were now “acquainted.”

We met for the first time in 1989, at Lunacon in Tarrytown, New York. It was also my first SF convention. I’d finished my Ph.D. by then, and, in fact, was leaving that Sunday for Lynchburg College in Virginia for a job interview.

I almost didn’t go to Lunacon. I’d written Roger, asking if I could introduce myself. No response came. I decided I’d overstepped. By then, though, my buddies were interested in going to the con. I figured I’d go, then watch and listen to Mr. Zelazny’s presentations from a distance.

BOOK: The Road to Amber
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