Share the tales anew.
Call my sons and daughters home;
Let them speak for me.
Zelazny’s literary genius and personal kindness illuminated many lives, including a number of young writers who have since gone on to win Hugo and Nebula awards. If you want a glimpse into what he was like, read Martin’s wonderful Forward, then Shannon Zelazny’s Afterward. Then open the door to wonders as you read thirteen stories by Zelazny’s literary sons, daughters, and dearest friends, and one by the man himself, because you can no more have thirteen stories in a tribute anthology than you can have thirteen dwarves on a quest.
What follows is a sort of literary transubstantiation.
“Playing God”, by Steven Brust, is a sequel to “Calling Pittsburg” (that title is a poker player’s pun), published in the Lord of the Fantastic anthology; it’s also a continuation of the Incrementalists novels he writes with Skylar White, and a visit to Zelazny’s Isle of the Dead. Phil is lured to another planet to help create a world based on his memories of Earth. There is an ulterior/ultimate motive behind the invitation, but the company is good and the food is amazing.
The next author, Kelly McCullough, has written the Webpage and Broken Blade series, which are the books to read when you find yourself wishing Zelazny had written more novels. “Keeper of the Keys” is a sequel to Madwand, with all the sibling rivalry, dangerous magic, and treacherous alliances that characterized the original. It reads like it could be the first installment of a longer sequel. Let’s hope more will follow. Kelly, you are amazing!!!!
“And Fountains Flow”, by Mark Rich, is a continuation of “The Graveyard Heart” showing the price of one form of eternal life. If living well is worth touching the earth only briefly, is it still living if one’s creative voice falls silent? Mark wonderfully emulates Zelazny’s surreal descriptive style.
“The Headless Flute Player” is a prequel to Lord Demon, based on conversations and story-plotting sessions Jane Lindskold held with Zelazny, so yes, it’s canon. And it is completely charming. Steve Perry writes “Coda” for Lord of Light, giving an oddly improbable, impossibly inevitable happy ending. Warren Lapine’s “The Night Heirs” is a humorous tale of ongoing rivalry with elements of sublimated romance. Zelazny’s own “There Shall be No Moon!” is another example of sibling rivalry, but this time the “brothers” are literary rivals Percy Byshe Shelley and Lord Byron. Jack of Shadows inspired Lawrence Watt-Evans to compose “The Lady of Shadow Guard”, which is the woman’s story. Six others round out this collection, providing a variety of narratives to beguile and set you to pondering.
Gorgeously produced, this is a book to hold with pleasure. Zelazny would have loved these continuations of his stories, the worlds and people he shared with us, to our infinite enrichment. ~~ Chris Wozney