Saturday, October 28, 2017

Zelazny - A Night in the Lonesome October


With Halloween approaching I thought it would be a good moment to re-read A Night in the Lonesome October.

Late Roger Zelazny has always been one of my favorite authors. He's mostly known for the Amber series, but he did write some other great stories as well. For some reason he's not that popular, but most of his books are quite good and have aged fairly well.


According to Wikipedia the original book had many full-page illustrations. My copy is a slim pocket softcover without those images, but fortunately that doesn't diminish the story itself. I'm not sure if the illustrations are full colour or not, but if they are I guess I should hunt down a paper copy to replace my current one (which is falling apart due to poor gluing of the spine).

In A Night in the Lonesome October you'll find freakish B-movie monsters, some grave-robbing, gate-openers and closers, and a cast of animal politicians. There's even the great detective that shows up.

Zelazny has left us, but his books are still with us. Definitely worth reading.

Other works

I never knew that (at least) the title of Zelazny's wonderful A Night In the Lonesome October was based on the work of Edgar Ellan Poe. Like I said last time: I should work on my classics!

I found out about this when I read The Dark Throne by Roger Zelazny and Fred Saberhagen. This is a book that tells us about the 'real' Edgar Allen Poe... or should that be Edgar Perry Poe? Who knows...

Zelazny and Saberhagen take us through a landscape of poe-etic settings in Jack Vance style. And all the charac¬ters in this book are somehow, somewhat surrealistic, just like those in A Night in the Lonesome October.

And I like that.

Strange guy, this Zelazny... his best books are 'based' on (or stolen from, it depends on your point of view) 'classic' backgrounds, stories, figures. Let's see...

  • The Amber series, based on the medieval Arthurian legends.
  • Eye of Cat, aliens versus native American Indian stuff.
  • Creatures of Light and Darkness, Lord of Light, and Call me Conrad (also known as This Immortal), all borrowing from different faiths and myths.
  • A Night in the Lonesome October featuring old horror movie characters and some British 'folklore' (if you can call it that).
  • The Dark Throne based on the work of Edgar Allen Poe.

I wonder which of his other books would follow the pattern also, and where they would fit in the list above?

(Dapper / TellTales! #1 / TellTales! #5)

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