Sunday, May 4, 2014

Short Story Sunday: Revisiting the Pattern

Title:  Prolog to Trumps of Doom
Author:  Roger Zelazny

First Publication:  1985

Collections:  (1)Manna from Heaven, (2) The Road to Amber

Cover Artists:  (1) Bob Eggleton for "Manna from Heaven"  (2) Michael Whelan for "The Road to Amber"

Regular readers of this blog know of my love for the work of Roger Zelazny in general and the Amber series in particular.  In my opinion, no other author is able to break the rules of sentence structure and create a thing of poetic beauty like Zelazny.  He is the master of what would best be called science fantasy.  His Amber series reads like a fantasy epic but incorporates parallel worlds and other science fiction elements.  Even in his lesser works his sentences are magical.

The first storyline (beginning with "Nine Princes in Amber" and ending with "The Courts of Chaos") featured Corwin's return to Amber and the mystery of the Black Road.  At the time I thought he was done writing about this universe.  He would return to write five more books telling the story of Corwin's son Merlin.  Many fans and critics were not happy with the result.  Despite the let down from the original series, I still enjoyed the Merlin books.  I plan on reviewing them this year.  This was the lead in to the first Merlin book "Trumps of Doom".  When that book appeared, I almost devoured it in one sitting.  Any time Zelazny writes about Amber, I know I am in for a good read.  

If you read this story before starting "Trumps of Doom" the reader might be confused.  Zelazny tells the tale of someone walking the Pattern.  We are not sure who the person is.  Instead of taking a sword with them to get enchanted, the person takes what is described as a cord.  Walking the Pattern is still exciting and brought back memories of the first time when we read about Corwin following it.

I enjoyed this story and plan to follow up reading the other Amber short stories over the next few weeks.

I read this story as part of "Once Upon a Time VIII".

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