Roger Zelazny

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Zelazny's works in Japan

In Japan, since "Damnation Alley" was published in '72', many of Zelazny's works, "The doors of his face, The lamps of his mouth", "This Immortal", "Lord of Light" have been introduced to the Japanese sci-fi fan. Especially, when the original Amber series (The chronicles of Amber 1-5) was translated into Japanese in '78'-'81', many readers and many Japanese sci-fi authors were fascinated about this series (I'm one such reader). I don't know why, but Japanese sci-fi fans have never agreed with "Zelazny's falling down " in the time of the Amber series.

Unfortunately, the late 70's to 80's were a golden age of Zelazny's publication in Japan. After "The Changing Land" was published in 90', not much has been said about publication of Zelazny's works. Even the new Amber series has not been published yet. Zelazny's works are still discussed byJapanese fans. I really hope they will make an Amber Movie to help revive Zelazny's fascinating works.

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My Reviews of Zelazny's Works

Eye of Cat

This is my favaorite of Zelazny's novels.

Zelazny tried to translate many myths into his (sci-fi) language. In most of his novels he succeeded in creating his original worlds. However I believe in "Eye of Cat " he successfully created his own myth. This mythological world based on the Navajo spiritual world showed us complete harmony between the world and us, a moment of joy in being a part of the world.

"Billy" is an archetypes of man, -- a hunter. In both Native American mythology, and in most animism , it is thought that a hunter and his prey are complementary parts of the world and a hunter needs to sacrifice his own life to his prey to complete the circle of the life.

In the story, when Billy tried to adjust to a modern world, he lost his own uniformity between the world (his spirit) and himself. He was exhausted. Just before he gave up everything, fate came to him, as his past prey, which could have killed him... "Cat". Their chasing made bound them more and more closely, until they became one. After Billy killed "Cat" physically, he found a way to unite himself to the world, and a way to the final sacrifice...

Billy finally found himself as a part of the world.
He was on a rock, no longer a hunter, or a prey.
He was already an eternal existence of the world.

I believe that Zelazny tried to describe "Life and Will" in "Lord of Light", which is the best novel of his younger age. "Eye of Cat" is the best novel of his maturity, which tries to describe "Death and Eternity".

Amber Series (Chronicle 1-5 Pattern fall war)

Well, I read this series 20 years ago, when I was in a high school. Since then, this one has always been my favorite entertainment novel. I was very fascinated with the cool heroes. This is a story like a hard-boiled heroic fantasy, with fantastic worlds like "Shadow worlds and Shift".

Corwin is a very ironical hero. He knows his own dark side. Even when he acted like a real hero, he still recognized his selfish motivation. He is quite different from a regular supernatural hero like Elric or Conan. He is a real guy with modern-self. However he has his own story and style based on his myth (The Pattern). So he is still very heroic in some aspects. I like his dual character a lot, because I believe that we also have such dual aspects.

Shadow worlds are the most fascinating parallel worlds. Especially allayed shadows from "The Pattern" to "The Courts of Chaos" are a very imaginary view. I also like the idea of parallel world based on possibilities.

Dream Master

I think this is similar to Shakespearean tragedy. It's a stylish story in which a hero had been falling down because of his mental blind spot. Using a tragic saga of "Tristan" as a motif made this story be more dramatic.

A recurring theme in this story is psychoanalysis. Even psychological world was visualized instantly by a special sci-fi machine. The mental drama between Dr. Render and Dr. Shallot is very realistic.

We all have dark side of our own private imaginations in our mind. Only the upper layer of such strange imaginations is socialized (shared) with other people, and that thin layer allow us be able to communicate. Most of the other layers are in subconscious area. That means that even a psychological analyst has large area of his/her mind, which he/she would not know. If he/she is caught in the trap of such a mental blind spot, what could happen in his/her room...

I believe "Dream Master" is a sci-fi story of such a tragedy which could happen in the real world.

Zelazny's works list with years of publishing in Japan
(with cover arts)
In Japan Year and Title
The Amber Series:
1978(H) 1970 Nine Princes in Amber (# 1)
1980(H) 1972 The Guns of Avalon (# 2)
1980(H) 1975 Sign of the Unicorn (# 3)
1981(H) 1976 The Hand of Oberon (# 4)
1981(H) 1978 The Courts of Chaos (# 5)
1985 Trumps of Doom (# 6)
1986 Blood of Amber (# 7)
1987 Sign of Chaos (# 8)
1989 Knight of Shadows (# 9)
1991 Prince of Chaos (#10)
The Changeling Series:
1981(T) 1980 Changeling (# 1)
1985(T) 1981 Madwand (# 2)
The Dilvish The Damned Series:
1988(T) 1982 Dilvish, the Damned (# 1)
1990(T) 1981 The Changing Land (# 2)
The Dominic Sandow Series:
1969 Isle of the Dead (# 1)
1982(H) 1973 To Die in Italbar (# 2)
1981(H) 1966 The Dream Master
1975(H) 1966 This Immortal
1985(H) 1967 Lord of Light
1967 Four for Tomorrow
[aka] A Rose for Ecclesiastes [1969]
1968 Nebula Award Stories 3
1969 Creatures of Light and Darkness
1972(H) 1969 Damnation Alley
1980(S) 1971 Jack of Shadows
1976(H) 1971 The Doors of his Face, the Lamps of his Mouth
1985(H) 1973 Today We Choose Faces
1981(H) 1976 Doorways in the Sand
1982(H) 1976 Bridge of Ashes
1980(S) 1976 My Name is Legion
1981(S) 1979 Roadmarks
1980 For a Breath I Tarry
1984(H) 1980 The Last Defender of Camelot (1)
1981 The Last Defender of Camelot (2) [expanded edition]
1981 A Rhapsody in Amber
1989(T) 1982 Eye of Cat
1983(Hm) 1983 Unicorn Variations
1987 A Dark Travelling
1989 Frost and Fire
Dick, Philip K. & Zelazny, Roger
1982(S) 1976 Deus Irae
Zelazny, Roger [Joesph] & Saberhagen, Fred
1986(S) 1982 Coils
1990 The Black Throne
Zelazny, Roger [Joesph] & Thomas, Thomas T.
1990 The Mask Of Loki
Japanese Publisher
(H): Hayakawa Publishing Inc. / (Hm): on S-F Magazine. of Hayakawa Publishing Inc.
(T): TOKYO SOGENSHA Co., Ltd. (S): Sanrio Co., Ltd.

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