Today I would like to talk a little about Roger zelazny.
Sometimes it happens that, following a bad day, something positive happens. In this case it was stopping at a comic book store and finding some old books by said writer. In the shelf, in fact, I found The Lord of Dreams (1966) and Lord of the Light (1967)
I had already had the opportunity to read all of this author's Chronicles of Amber, whether it was the saga of Corwin, that of Merlin or the Magic World and some of his short stories, but it is precisely with the Lord of the Light which is "crowned" by winning the Hugo Prize in 1968 for the best science fiction novel. Among other things, if you were interested in Chronicles of Amber you can listen to them on Audible! The first thirty days are free.
Now, before proceeding to this retrospective, it seems to me necessary to say a few lines about the person.
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Brief biography of Roger Zelazny
Roger zelazny (1937-1995) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer, considered one of the great authors of the genre of the XNUMXth century.
Born in Cleveland, Roger zelazny he graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a degree in English literature in 1959 and then worked as a computer programmer. Meanwhile, he began writing science fiction and fantasy stories, which he sold to magazines such as The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Amazing Stories. His first novel,I, Immortal” (This Immortal), was published in 1966 and was an instant success.
Between the 60s and 70s of the last century, Zelazny wrote many successful novels, including the aforementioned le "Chronicles of Amber", an epic fantasy saga that influenced many later authors. He also wrote numerous short stories, many of which have become classics of the genre.
Zelazny has won numerous literary awards, including six Hugo Awards and three Nebula Awards. In 1986 he was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. He passed away in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1995, at the age of 58, torn from the world due to cancer. Roger Zelazny is known for his original and innovative writing, which often mixes elements of science fiction, fantasy, mythology and legends in a unique way.
Philosophy in the author's writings
The philosophy of Roger zelazny it is not easy to define unambiguously, as it is implicitly present in his writings and manifests itself more through the characters and their actions rather than other kinds of gimmicks. It is possible, however, to identify some recurring themes and ideas that permeate his works. One of these themes is the search for identity and, another, the meaning of life. Many of his characters are searching for themselves, trying to figure out who they are and what their place is in the world. This continuous search often leads them to face difficult trials and to question their beliefs and their way of life.
Another recurring theme is the idea of free will and destiny. Roger zelazny often explores the idea that individuals have the power to choose their own destiny and shape their future, but at the same time, that there is an unseen force present that pushes them in a certain direction.
But that's not all: Zelazny has also explored philosophical themes such as mortality, religion and the nature of the human being. We can often find dwelling on the observation of the brevity of life and the search for the meaning of human existence. Furthermore, themes on the concept of the divine and the spiritual can also be recognized in his works, above all through characters who try to find a connection with the essence of a god.
This way of doing philosophy is also expressed through his writing which I personally could define as experimental. In fact, he often mixes elements of science fiction, fantasy and mythology in a unique and original way. And it is precisely this linguistic and narrative experimentation that has been one of the distinctive characteristics of his work which subsequently influenced many other authors.
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The search for identity and the meaning of life for Roger Zelazny
As mentioned above, the search for identity is one of the main themes of the author's philosophy.
In many of Zelazny's works, the characters are faced with situations that question their identity. For example, at "I, Immortal", the protagonist Conrad Nomikos is an immortal who lives on a planet ravaged by war and despair. The Earth is now a pile of ruins and only four million people survive on it. Nomikos must protect an alien from a group of terrorists, and in order to do so, he will have to make difficult decisions and will have to risk exposing his greatest secret to the world. Nomikos is a complex and ambiguous character who wonders about the value of immortality and the price he has to pay to live forever. Furthermore, the novel deals with topics such as politics, religion and ethics, and questions the relationship between humanity and technology.
In the Corwin Cycle, the protagonist is an exiled prince from the kingdom of Amber who must regain his rightful throne. Corwin discovers that his memory has been erased and must reconstruct his identity to be able to meet the challenges that await him.
In both cases, the search for identity is a central theme that permeates the entire plot. Characters must confront their beliefs, their past actions, and the consequences of their choices in order to find a sense of themselves and their place in the world.
The search for identity, for the author, is often a painful and demanding process, requiring characters to question their beliefs and to confront the truth about their lives and actions. However, this search cannot also lead to greater self-awareness and personal growth. Concepts that still permeate our existence today.
Conclusion about the author
Roger zelazny he was, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the greatest science fiction authors of the second half of the twentieth century, capable of creating complex and meaningful imaginary worlds. With his writing that we could define as "picaresque", because his characters are often ambiguous antiheroes, who act on the margins of society and fight against powers greater than themselves, he undoubtedly marked the collective imagination and even today crowds of enthusiasts continue to read his works.
I personally believe that his untimely death in 1995 left a void in the world of science fiction, but his literary legacy continues to inspire and captivate readers around the world. Did you know, for example, that his works also inspired a role-playing game in which no dice is used set in the Amber Cycle and that today it is one of the most interesting RPG archeology rarities, as well as writing a few stories for the cycle of Cthulhu?
I honestly wish someone could bring the Amber Cycle to the small screen, but now I'm losing hope.
I leave you with a reading tip for next October: October night. I hope you like it as much as I did!
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