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Author Topic: Chronicles of Amber
Dobbie
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Seroiusly, has anyone here actually read this series?
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Scott R
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Yes. I've heard that Zelazny's gotten better since penning those. . .
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Dobbie
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Actually he's gotten deader since penning those.
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Scott R
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Oh.

Well. . .

Um. . .

My condolences?

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JonnyNotSoBravo
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I read them. They were good in some ways, bad in others. More good than bad, though.
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Storm Saxon
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I read the first three books a few months a go.

I enjoyed them, personally.

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Danzig
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I have read them. They are good. The first five are better though.
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Jim-Me
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One of my favorite all-time works...

I'm gonna weigh in as one of the few who actually likes the second series better... partly because I like Merlin even better than his dad and partly because I think he did such a wonderful job of painting a son in seperate but similar colors to his father by having them each tell their story in first person

(spoiler)
.
.
.
.
.
to each other.

Just a very cool thing, I thought.

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Jim-Me
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oh... and there's a guy here named Corwin. He's undoubtably read them-- I created a screen name of "Merle Corey" just to say "hi dad" to him. I've forgotten the password, though.
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Corwin
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Did somebody say... Amber ? [Big Grin]

Yeah, I've read all of them several times. In Romanian the first one, then the rest of the series in French, then all of them again, in English. When I was reading the French ones for the first time, I made a habit out of buying them one at a time on Thursdays. It was my only free afternoon at school, and I wanted to make full use of it. [Wink] Personally, I like both sub-series, because of different reasons.

The first part made a pretty good link between the real world and the fictional one. It was "real" enough so that I wasn't thinking of it as a fairy tale, but rather a story about odd things in an odd place happening to people like us. Almost, anyway...

So after this "introduction" I was more prepared for all the magic in the second series.

Btw, thanks, Dobbie, I always wondered who was it that greated me as "Merle Corey" ! Hello and goodbye, as always... [Wave]

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Danzig
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I think the Merlin books suffer because they were not really finished. He was apparently planning to write more to wrap it up a bit better.
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Elizabeth
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I read the first five or six, and loved them, but never finished the series.
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Corwin
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Elizabeth, "five or six" ?!

If you got to the part that's written from Merlin's point of view, then you got past the fifth. If not, that you have something interesting in store for you...

Edit: Danzig, a series about a "Universe" is never going to be finished, and that's the beauty of it ! We were fortunate to have a look at the Amber world, but life goes on in there even without us. [Wink] And for my part, I think it was finished quite nicely.

[ April 24, 2004, 08:27 PM: Message edited by: Corwin ]

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Elizabeth
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Corwin, I really can't remember, it was a while ago. Maybe I did not get through that many, but I thought I had.The last book I remember, Corwin and somebody were up in sort of a cave overlooking a valley...
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mr_porteiro_head
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I quit half-way through the ninth book. The second series just wasn't doing it for me.
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Anna
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I love Amber.
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plaid
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I liked the first book best. The second book was pretty good too. Books 3-5 were OK... but by book 3 he was already doing what seemed like retroactive plotting -- the kind of stuff where Zelazny was saying, "well it looked like things were this way in book 1, but REALLY in fact there was this complicated conspiracy and the good person was actually bad and the bad person was actually good..."

(It's part of the reason I haven't been able to get into OSC's Bean books -- too much retroactive plotting and characterization that doesn't mesh well with Ender's Game.)

[ April 25, 2004, 04:32 PM: Message edited by: plaid ]

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Kwea
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I really liked them. I have every one of them, and while they aren't the best books, from a lit viewpoint, they were original. At the time they were written, the concepts he used were very much further from mainstream publishing than they are today. A lot of authors, even those from outside that fantasy/sci fi genre, use the theory of multiple dimentions as foudations for their stories.

Moorcock and Zelazny (sp?) were among the first to write using it, as far as I know.

I liked the second series better, too. I loved the humor it them, and I thought the narritive had a better flow. Then again, they werewritten decades later, so I imagine he had learned a bit more about the craft of writing...

This Immortal was cool, and Lord of Light is one of my favorites too.

Kwea

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Noemon
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I liked the series well enough, but I was 15 or so when I read them, and my tastes have generally changed since then, so it's hard to say what I'd think of it now.
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Storm Saxon
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Kwea,

One thing that I never realized until I read the books is that Neil Gaiman borrowed the whole concept of contacting one's siblings through a gallery from Zelazny. [Smile]

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Jim-Me
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One of the things I really liked about the books was the "it looked this way but *this* is what was really happening aspects of them. I don't think it was retroactive at all, but written that way on purpose and very well done.

Also, I love the way he subtly gives the *impression* of a total universe by throwing out little tidbits. Take the names of Corwin's sword and that there is a story behind it. Without ever giving that story an airing, he implies a history much deeper than the reader is aware of, adding depth to the world. Also, by adding a little bit of detail (that the blade is somehow related to The Pattern) every time the sword comes into play, it makes the story about archetypes battling rather than people, giving an even more epic quality to an already wide-ranging story. Finally, he provides himself a handy Deus Ex Machina with the pattern magic in the blades.

And he dips into that well quite a bit-- the bits in Tir-na-Nogth and the power it has there. The power the blade has at the damaged Primal Pattern. Putting it in Merlin's hands later and decribing the link to Brand's sword as well.

I really thought that was a lot of stuff to pull off by just mentioning, initially, that there is a story behind the name of his sword. Nice Mileage.

I really think Zelazny is one of the under-rated writers of all time and, considering how highly regarded he is, that's saying something, indeed.

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Jim-Me
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Also, a game I used to like to play: who should play which parts if they made Amber a movie?

Anyone up for it?

[ April 26, 2004, 10:17 AM: Message edited by: Jim-Me ]

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The Pixiest
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I thouroughly enjoyed the first series and was completely disappointed by the first book in the 2nd series.

10 years later I picked up the rest of the 2nd series at the urging of a friend who said they got better, but I couldn't manage to get through the 2nd merlin book.

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Dobbie
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quote:
Btw, thanks, Dobbie, I always wondered who was it that greated me as "Merle Corey" ! Hello and goodbye, as always...
Actually, that was Jim-me, although I considered doing that myself.
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Corwin
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Dobbie, I know, I was thanking you for starting the thread. [Big Grin] Going back to even more learning...
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Dobbie
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You're welcome.
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Fishtail
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I loved the Amber series, and I now think Johnny Depp could make a good Bleys.

[ April 26, 2004, 12:53 PM: Message edited by: Fishtail ]

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Dobbie
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Then who would be Brand?
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Jim-Me
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I have a theory that the people who dislike the 2nd series the most are mostly disappointed in the difference of the narrative. That difference makes sense to me-- Corwin is a warrior-poet. Merlin is a software engineer. Corwin's tale has much more romance and allegory and more outrageous humor ("while I had always said I wanted to die in bed, what I really meant was that I wanted to be stepped on by an elephant while making love...") while Merlin's is far drier and, simultaneously, much less formal ("to hell with capes and boots for a while... I'm going to be comfortable" as he dons blue jeans, a flannel shirt, and tennis shoes for his adventure).

I think a lot of readers of the second series just missed Corwin's sense of grandeur and importance ("Amber... city I was meant to rule!") against Merlin's "I'm just this guy" attitude ("do you know the odds of a Lord of Chaos coming out here to go two out of three with a Dweller?" "I'd say 1 to 1 should be enough..."). But these things are essential to the overall arc of the plot, IMO, and (Spoiler) how we watch the ambitious father grow to let go of the idea that he is the one and then turn around to watch the reluctant son accept his mantle.

Then again, it may be that the existence of other Powers and the idea that shadow is not a bipolar world as Corwin paints it dilutes the epic nature of the first series. It seems all reality hangs in the balance for Corwin, while Merlin merely has to deal with the throne of the lesser of the two Major Powers... not because things are different, but because we know more by then.

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Jim-Me
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I vote for Ben Affleck as Brand based on his portrayal of Bartelby in Dogma.

Edit: I'm serious. really.

I agree with Depp as Bleys, but if you can think of a better Bleys then I would have him play Brand, yes.

[ April 26, 2004, 02:18 PM: Message edited by: Jim-Me ]

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mr_porteiro_head
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Having Ben Afleck in the movie is about the surest way to make sure I never get around to seeing it. [Smile]
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Fishtail
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A flash of insight: Christopher Walken as Oberon.
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Fishtail
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Oh, and even though she's a little older, Gates McFadden must play one of the red-headed sisters.
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Danzig
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No, I was disappointed because it was not finished. The tenth book did not tie up enough loose ends. There are also five short stories set in Amber shortly after the tenth book, although I have not read them yet. The series really was not done.

Also, Corwin changes in the books, while Merlin seems to me to be essentially the same character at the end of book 10 as he was at book 6.

Lord of Light is also a very good book.

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Kwea
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****spoilers*****

I think that we see less evolution from Merlin than we did from Corwin because when we meet Corwin he was suffering from amnesia, and has become a blank slate. Merlin never loses sense of himself in that way, but IMO he changes and matures quite a bit. I liked the fact that RZ was showing more depth of his universe and explaining it more throughly than the first time around.

The first series was very cool, but I felt the writing style of the narrative was smoother in the second series. I also liked the fact that Merlin had trainuing in the occult arts, whereas Corwin was a fighter who's only magic was innate, from being a Prince of Amber.

Kwea

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Jim-Me
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Maybe George Clooney as Eric? He could play the cockiness and the sorta good guy that you love to hate really well...
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Slash the Berzerker
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The amber books are good.

But his book 'Lord of Light' is one of my favorite books of all time. Much better than anything in the Amber series.

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Jim-Me
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Lord of Light is pretty awesome...

I like the short story collections, myself.

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Noemon
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Ever read anything by William Sanders? He and Zelazny were good friends, and Zelazny was something of a mentor to Sanders.
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Chris Bridges
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Bringing this back up for a comment and a question.

Also, I love the way he subtly gives the *impression* of a total universe by throwing out little tidbits.
Whenever Zelazny would begin work on a novel, he would often first write a short story about his main character that was never intended to see print. The idea was that he wanted his characters to have histories that he could then refer to later to make them more developed, more intriquing. It's an interesting idea, and it would help a writer get the character fixed in the mind before starting the larger work.
The short story "Dismal Light" was written as an exercise to help him flesh out the character of Francis Sandow from "Isle of the Dead" and was only published because Frederik Pohl asked for something while Zelazny was busy writing "Isle."
Which, of course, just makes me wonder how many unpublished stories like that exist...

And the question: Has anyone read the new Amber series? My son and I saw it last night at Books-A-Million, it's a three-parter that deals with Oberon and the pre-history of Amber. It's by John Gregory Betancourt, book one is "The Dawn of Amber," book two is "Chaos and Amber." I just bought the first one from PalmDigitalMedia, I was curious if anyone here has read it yet.

[ April 29, 2004, 08:09 AM: Message edited by: Chris Bridges ]

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Kwea
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I did (of course), and I liked it. Not nearly as much as I liked the others, but I am greedy for more of the setting. I love the universe of Amber (and the Courts), and I love the idea of finding out more of the history of Amber and the Courts.

In the first two series, Oberon is an enigma, and much more powerful than any of the others. In the new books, Oberon is a kid, basically, and the enigma is Dworkin. I liked it, but I'm afraid that it won't measure up to the earlier works.

Also, a lot of Ambers charm came from the fact that there were always hints of background that were never fleshed out. There was always mystery, and always more adventure on the horizon. What happens if the speculation is answered, and nothing new takes it's place?

Please let me know what you though of it when you are done with it.
Kwea

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Jim-Me
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Sanders is familiar sounding but I don't think I've read him... and I ad no idea about the new set. I think I shall have to get that. Agreed with Kwea about the mystery, though, that's the kind of thing I am talking about. I think the key is to reveal only things that raise more questions-- such as the link between Corwin's and Brand's swords, or that there's a trick to eating underwater which we might someday get to hear about. [Smile]
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Noemon
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Sander's writing is quite different from Zelazny's, but quite good.

Well, his short stories are good. I've been fairly underwhelmed with all of his novels that I've been able to get my hands on (although I did enjoy the process a lot for The Wild Blue and the Grey, and Journey to Fusang was fairly fun (you can read his comments on it, and his other books, here.

His short story collection Are We Having Fun Yet is one of the best collections I own, and I own quite a few.

I'm currently drooling at the prospect of aquiring his latest work, a non-fiction history called CONQUEST
Hernando de Soto and the Indians: 1539-1543
.

Rumor has it that my wife is getting it for me.

Of course, I started that rumor in hopes that she'd be inspired by it. [Smile]

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Corwin
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Just bumped for now. I was going to try to think a little bit about the casting but the thread got lost. I'll do in one of these days. Right now I'm in the process of searching for old interesting threads...
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