Recently I felt like it was time to re-read Zelazny’s “Amber”.

I got a copy of the giant, unwieldy omnibus, and put marks on the side of the pages so I could tell where the hell I was in the overall saga.

It took me about a half a month, but today I finished it. The Merlin books sure are the middle series; they barely finish themselves, and open up a huge window for the third series Zelazny never wrote before the end.

Maybe I’ll have to see if I can hunt down the short story collection with several short pieces Roger wrote as ways to explore where it would have gone. Maybe I won’t. It’s unfinished either way.

I can make guesses. It would probably be from the viewpoint of a third character who was on the periphery of the existing books. Maybe someone younger. Maybe not. Something in me whispers “Fiona” and I’m not really sure why. Perhaps some child of hers, coming out of an obscure Shadow. It would involve the conflict between the Pattern and the Logrus. It might end with the implosion of both of them and the Shadows between, and the creation of some new setup – possibly the same order/chaos balance, albeit an octave higher, possibly something new. But those are obvious guesses. And I am sure that Zelazny had these thoughts, and asked himself which of them were existing patterns (ahem) worth following, and which ones went somewhere far more interesting if he asked himself what the opposite of them was…

I think the biggest difference in tone between the Corwin and Merlin books is that, while Corwin starts out reacting to all the weird shit he stumbles into, he starts making his own plots and plans early on. Merlin never finds his footing, he’s always reacting to outside events. I suppose I can give him a pass for ending up being manipulated by the Serpent and the Unicorn themselves, but… he’s always someone’s pawn, from beginning to end.

Oh also: I would like to include this toot from a couple days ago…

Coincidence Watch:

This morning I put down the Amber omnibus to warm some bread to make a sandwich. Picked up the book again, read some more. Got up when the timer went off, made my sandwich.

When I picked up the book to continue reading while I ate, it was right at the beginning of the truce-and-dinner scene in chapters 1 and 2 of “Knight of Shadows”.

I did not alter the pace of my eating or my reading. But I ended up working on the last bite of my sandwich just as Merlin, Mandor, and Jasra finished their meal and got back to the plot.

  1. I always liked the Amber series but think the Corwin books are a lot better than the Merlin ones. Part of the problem was that, near the end, Zelazny knew he was dying and was rushing to finish them. They’re almost all dialogue and they don’t work really well. I think the first 5 would make a good series for tv. But that’s just me.

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