Monday, September 15, 2003

A pretty cool Science Fiction writer: Roger Zelazny

I'm just starting out in this weblogging caper, I'll try not to say anything too annoying or self-indulgent. The topic of tonight's entry will be science fiction authors. I haven't read much good science fiction. I think I discovered William Gibson and science fiction (which I had previously assiduously avoided) around the same time I discovered Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler and detective fiction (ditto), back in first year uni IIRC. I've read just about everything by Gibson (bar Difference Engine and Pattern Recognition, and non-Burning Chrome stories), and various other so-called SF masters, but I don't think I've read anything since with the same impact as Neuromancer ("The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel"), the stories in Burning Chrome, or Count Zero (probably my favourite Gibson novel). I've read Snow Crash, and liked the first half, started Cryptonomicon and got bored, read some Phillip K. Dick and was impressed but not blown away. The only science fiction that has really excited me in the intervening years is Bruce Sterling's Schismatrix, Samuel Delany's Nova and everything I've read by Roger Zelazny.

Maybe I don't hang around in the right circles but I've never really heard anyone go on about how great Zelazny is. Despite the fact he won bucketloads of awards, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people don't even know who he is. Anyway, the list of his stuff I've read and liked goes: The Dream Master (based on a Nebula winning novella), This Immortal (Hugo), Lord of Light (Hugo), Nine Princes of Amber (sounds silly but actually quite good) and now The Doors of his Face, the Lamps of his Mouth (Nebula short Story), a collection of short stories, which I'm really getting into. If people know other science fiction authors with as many good books as Zelazny, or even with one book at the quality and enjoyment level of say Lord of Light or This Immortal, I'd like to know about them.

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