Chronicles of Amber, Roger Zelazny

With the debut of the Paul and Storm song, “Write Like the Wind” and the predictable response from George R. R. Martin upon hearing it at w00tstock 5.0 at San Diego Comic-Con, my friends and I started thinking about various other fantasy epics that span multiple books. We discussed each of the inclusions at least somewhat. But it was not until the next day that I realized we’d left one off entirely that really ought to have been there. One that I thoroughly enjoyed when I read it twenty years ago. And that’s the ten-book epic, The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny.

If you consider the other suggestions we did take up, the significance of our oversight on this is pretty astounding. We talked about all of these series, but not Amber.

  • The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkein
  • The Dark Tower, Stephen King
  • The Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling
  • Earthsea, Ursula Le Guin
  • The Chronicles of Prydain, Lloyd Alexander
  • The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis
  • The Cthulhu Mythos, H.P. Lovecraft
  • The Mars series, Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • The Belgariad, David Eddings

I have no defense. I don’t understand it myself. It’s not like the conversation was a contest whose favorite was the One True Epic. This was more a free exchange of suggestions. Zelazny wrote with a particular noir, hard-boiled aspect in Amber that isn’t present in the others. It’s immortality and power without falling into the anguish and anxiety of the contemporary vampire series. It mythology without dogma. They get to the action more quickly than Martin can. It’s good stuff. I remember that. Now.

So I pulled down the paperbacks from the shelf and started in tonight with the first of the Corwin series, Nine Princes in Amber. This should hold me while I wait for winter to come.