The Guns Of Avalon


Roger Zelazny

The Guns Of Avalon

Chapter 1

I stood there on the beach and said, «Good-by, Butterfly,» and the ship slowly turned, then headed out toward deep water. It would make it back into port at the lighthouse of Cabra, I knew, for that place lay near to Shadow.

Turning away, I regarded the black line of trees near at hand, knowing that a long walk lay ahead of me. I moved in that direction, making the necessary adjustments as I advanced. A pre-dawn chill lay upon the silent forest, and this was good.

I was perhaps fifty pounds underweight and still occasionally experienced double vision, but I was improving. I had escaped the dungeons of Amber and recuperated somewhat, with the assistance of mad Dworkin and drunken Jopin, in that order. Now I had to find me a place, a place resembling another place- one which no longer existed. I located the path. I took it.

After a time, I stopped at a hollow tree that had to be there. I reached inside and …

Trumps of Doom


Roger Zelazny

Trumps of Doom

CHAPTER 1

It is a pain in the ass waiting around for someone to try to kill you. But it was April 30, and of course it would happen as it always did. It had taken me a while to catch on, but now I at least knew when it was coming. In the past, I’d bin too busy to do anything about it. But my job was finished now. I’d only stayed around for this. I felt that I really ought to clear the matter up before I departed.I got out of bed, visited the bathroom,showered, brushed my teeth, et cetera. I’d grown a beard again, so I didn’t have to shave. I was not jangling with strange apprehensions, as I had been on that April 30 three years ago when I’d awakened with a headache and a premonition, thrown open the windows, and gone to the kitchen to discover all of the gas burners turned on and flameless. No. It wasn’t even like the April 30 two years ago in the other apartment when I awoke before dawn to a faint smell of smoke to learn that the place…

The Hand Of Oberon


Roger Zelazny

The Hand Of Oberon

Chapter 1

A bright flash of insight, to match that peculiar sun…

There it was… . Displayed within that light, a thing I had only seen self-illuminated in darkness up until then: the Pattern, the great Pattern of Amber cast upon an oval shelf beneath/above a strange sky-sea.

… And I knew, perhaps by that within me which bound us, that this had to be the real one. Which meant that the Pattern in Amber was but its first shadow. Which meant-

Which meant that Amber itself was not carried over into places beyond the realm of Amber, Rebma, and Tir-na Nog’th. Meaning, then, that this place to which we had come was, by the law of precedence and configuration, the real Amber.

I turned to a smiling Ganelon, his beard and wild hair molten in the merciless light.

«How did you know?» I asked him.

«You know I am a very good guesser, Corwin,» he replied, «and I recall everything you ever told me about how t…

The Great Book of Amber


Roger Zelazny

The Great Book of Amber

Nine Princes In Amber

CHAPTER 1

It was starting to end, after what seemed most of eternity to me.

I attempted to wriggle my toes, succeeded. I was sprawled there in a hospital bed and my legs were done up in plaster casts, but they were still mine.

I squeezed my eyes shut, and opened fhem, three times.

The room grew steady.

Where the hell was I?

Then the fogs were slowly broken, and some of that which is called memory returned to me. I recalled nights and nurses and needles. Every time things would begin to clear a bit, someone would come in and jab me with something. That’s how it had been. Yes. Now, though, I was feeling halfway decent. They’d have to stop.

Wouldn’t they?

The thought came to assail me: Maybe not.

Some natural skepticism as to the purity of all human motives came and sat upon my chest. I’d been over narcotized, I suddenly knew. No real reason for it, from t…

24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai [Illustrated]


Roger Zelazny

24 Views of Mt. Fuji, by Hokusai [Illustrated]

I recall mentioning in a letter to my friend Carl Yoke something concerning the appearance of the mountains behind my home and my having realized but recently that seeing them in a different aspect every season, every day—every time I look at them, actually—had a lot to do with the following story; and that my coming across the book of Hokusai’s prints which gets mentioned in the text of this tale was only the proximate cause of its composition. Without my mountains there would have been no meditations, no story, no Hugo (this one accepted by Shawna McCarthy, brought back to New Mexico and delivered by Parris—thanks, Shawna; thanks, Parris). I can’t cite all of the lesser, contributory kami here. Everything goes back to the mountains. And without Fuji’s fire to complement the frost of my first story, I’d have had to look for a different title for this book. Thanks, Thermodynamics.

1. Mt. …

The Courts Of Chaos


Roger Zelazny

The Courts Of Chaos

CHAPTER 1

Amber: high and bright atop Kolvir in the middle of the day. A black road: low and sinister through Gamath from Chaos to the south. Me: cursing, pacing and occasionally reading in the library of the palace in Amber. The door to that library: closed and barred.

The mad prince of Amber seated himself at the desk, returned his attention to the opened volume. There was a knock on the door. “Go away!” I said.

“Corwin. It’s me-Random. Open up, huh? I even brought lunch.”

“Just a minute.”

I got to my feet again, rounded the desk, crossed the room. Random nodded when I opened the door. He carried a tray, which he took to a small table near the desk.

“Plenty of food there,” I said.

“I’m hungry, too.”

“So do something about it.”

He did. He carved. He passed me some meat on a slab of bread. He poured wine. We seated ourselves and ate.

“I know you are still mad…” he said, after …

Sign of the Unicorn


Roger Zelazny

Sign of the Unicorn

CHAPTER 1

I ignored the questions in the eyes of the groom as I lowered the grisly parcel and turned the horse in for care and maintenance. My cloak could not really conceal the nature of its contents as I slung the guts over my shoulder and stamped off toward the rear entrance to the palace. Hell would soon be demanding its paycheck.

I skirted the exercise area and made my way to the trail that led toward the southern end of the palace gardens. Fewer eyes along that route. I would still be spotted, but it would be a lot less awkward than going in the front way, where things are always busy. Damn.

And again, damn. Of troubles I considered myself amply possessed. But those who have do seem to get. Some spiritual form of compound interest, I suppose.

There were a few idlers beside the fountain at the far end of the garden. Also, a couple of guards were passing among the bushes near the trail. The guards saw me comin…

Sign of chaos


Roger Zelazny

Sign of chaos

CHAPTER 1

I felt vaguely uneasy, though I couldn’t say why. It did not seem all that unusual to be drinking with a White Rabbit, a short guy who resembled Bertrand Russell, a grinning Cat, and my old friend Luke Raynard, who was singing Irish ballads while a peculiar landscape shifted from mural to reality at his back. Well, I was impressed by the huge blue Caterpillar smoking the hookah atop the giant mushroom because I know how hard it is to keep a water pipe lit. Still, that wasn’t it. It was a convivial scene, and Luke was known to keep pretty strange company on occasion. So why should I feel uneasy?

The beer was good and there was even a free lunch. The demons tormenting the red-haired woman tied to the stake had been so shiny they’d. hurt to look at. Gone now, but the whole thing had, been beautiful. Everything was beautiful. When Luke sang of Galway Bay it had been so sparkling and lovely that I’d wanted to dive in and lose …

Prince of chaos


Roger Zelazny

Prince of chaos

I

See one coronation and you’ve seen them all. Sounds cynical and probably is, especially when the principal is your best friend and his queen’s your inadvertent lover. But there’s generally a procession, with a lot of slow music, and uncomfortable, colorful garb, incense, speeches, prayers, the ringing of bells. They are tedious, generally hot, and requiring of one an insincere attention, as at weddings, commencements, and secret initiations.

And so Luke and Coral became the sovereigns of Kashfa, in the same church where we’d fought almostbut, unfortunately, not quite-to the death with my mad brother Jurt but a few hours before. As Amber’s only representative at the event-albeit of, technically, unofficial status-I was accorded a ringside standingplace, and eyes were often drifting my way. So I had to keep alert and mouth appropriate responses. While Random would not permit formal status to my presence at the ceremony, I knew he…

Lord of Light


Lord of Light

I

He whose desires have been throttled,

who is independent of root,

whose pasture is emptiness —

signless and free —

his path is as unknowable

as that of birds across the heavens.

                 Dhammapada (93)

It is said that fifty-three years after his liberation he returned from the Golden Cloud, to take up once again the gauntlet of Heaven, to oppose the Order of Life and the gods who ordained it so. His followers had prayed for his return, though their prayers were sin. Prayer should not trouble one who has gone on to Nirvana, no matter what the circumstances of his going. The wearers of the saffron robe prayed, however, that He of the Sword, Manjusri, should come again among them, The Boddhisatva is said to have heard…

His followers called him Mahasamatman and said he was a god. He preferred to drop the Maha- and the -atman, however, and called himself Sam. He never claimed to be a go…